Patrick Stephenson and Zachariah Schaap are the brains behind .

Renee Jones Schneider, Star Tribune

Tweet-tweet! It's time to roll into spring

  • Article by: BILL McAULIFFE
  • Star Tribune
  • April 1, 2010 - 1:15 PM

Eight days ago, Patrick Stephenson of St. Paul and Zachariah Schaap of Minneapolis launched a website and Twitter account intended to create a social group, a challenge and a celebration of spring.

Twelve hours later, more than 1,000 unique visitors had already visited, and Thursday more than 200 bicyclists around the world will begin making good on their pledge to make at least one pedal crank every day in April, wherever they are.

In the Twin Cities, the project will have its official rollout at 6 p.m. Thursday when participants will meet for a ride on the Midtown Greenway at Bryant Avenue.

We caught up with Stephenson and Schaap -- year-round bicyclists, friends and "pretty enthusiastic individuals," in Schaap's own estimation -- for an interview Wednesday, on the eve of the monthlong challenge. In deference to their Twitter connection, here are their thoughts, in 140 characters or less:

Star_Tribune Has this become popular because of spring, or bikes, or Twitter?

 Patrick_Stephenson All of those. It brings everybody together on their bikes in a big communal experience.

Star_Tribune Why are you having this in April? Why not March, or May?

Zachariah Schaap It's sort of like the vernal season. Everyone's cooped up in the winter They want to be outside.

Patrick_Stephenson April was coming up. It was neat and clean. "Thirty-one" has an extra syllable.

Star_Tribune Why not 30 days of golf, or gardening, or dining out?

Patrick_Stephenson The guy next to me (at work) is doing 30 days of biking and 30 days of no caffeine.

Star_Tribune What if it rains or snows?

Patrick_Stephenson I would still do it. I would love it. I miss winter. It's more of an adventure.

Zachariah Schaap If you have a one-bedroom apartment in Minneapolis, and your bike is hanging on the wall, just take it off and ride it around the living room.

Star_Tribune What will this accomplish?

Patrick_Stephenson It's a positive event for bikers. A lot of people think we're snobby, or don't stop for stop signs.

Zachariah Schaap We're doing something that makes bikes look good and promotes adherence to the law. I'm a big fan of the laws.

Star_Tribune Is this going to grow into some commercial enterprise?

Patrick_Stephenson The next step as far as I'm concerned is getting the party planned.

Bill McAuliffe • 612-673-7646

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