This Sunday marks the start of the 2014 Minneapolis Bike Week, featuring everything from free food and repairs to group commutes led by City Council members.
The event has been rebranded this year from its previous name, Twin Cities Bike Walk Week. Event coordinator Nick Ray Olson said St. Paul is having a concurrent event run by St. Paul Smart Trips, though MPLS had trouble finding information about it online.
"Minneapolis Bike Week is the next evolutionary step of Twin Cities Bike Walk Week," Olson said. "We're maintaining much of the continuity -- many of the events are the same...We're just sort of changing the approach a little bit."
Minneapolis Bike Week is coordinated by the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition and supported by a number of public and private entities, including the city, Car2Go, the Federal Highway Administration, Calhoun Cycle and Bike Walk Twin Cities.
The "flagship" event takes place on Thursday, Bike to Work Day, when council members and others will lead commutes to a celebration at Government Plaza (beside City Hall) hosted by the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition, Hennepin County and Mayor Betsy Hodges' office.
Olson said the week of events garnered about 6,000 attendees last year, but they hope to hit about 10,000 in 2014.
He noted that one change from Twin Cities Bike Walk Week is that rather than focusing solely on commuting, they are taking a broader approach to also feature recreational and utilitarian bicycling. "We're including all types of cycling," Olson said.
Below is a calendar of what is happening on each day, written by event organizers. More specific details can be found on the event website.
New to biking? Be sure to check out the city's map of bikeways, which can also be downloaded as a mobile PDF. And while you're at it, read this diagram of proper biking techniques and this one about equipment and safety.
Sunday, May 4: Bike to Parks Day
Make sure to ride to the 40th Annual May Day Parade and Festival. Spearheaded by In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre, the parade proceeds along Bloomington Avenue to Powderhorn Park, where a festival is held until dusk. Don’t miss the Minneapolis Bike Week bike corral with free tune-ups and bicycle parking.
The Minneapolis Park System has been called the best-designed, best-financed and best-maintained in America – there’s a park within riding distance of every residence in the city. With more than 90 miles of on-street bikeways and bike lanes and 85 miles of off-street bikeways, you can ride your bike with your family to a Minneapolis park safely and easily.
Monday, May 5: Cinco de Mayo
Ride away your Monday blues by pedaling into a quick Commuter Pit Stop on your way to work or school – a network of stations around Minneapolis will provide free bicycle repairs, lights, resources and snacks during your morning commuter. Need more than a light snack? Join the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition and Tamales y Bicicletas at Mercado Central for a free tamale! Mercado Central is within easy bicycling distance of the Midtown Greenway – stop by to chat about bicycles while enjoying your free tamale and support local businesses along the way.
Tuesday, May 6: Nice Ride Day
You’ve seen the iconic green bikes throughout Minneapolis. By mid-2014, more than 700,000 rides were taken on Nice Ride bikes. Now it’s your turn to join in the fun! On Nice Ride Day, stop by a station demonstration location to pick up your free pass and a helmet to try out a Nice Ride bike – there will be plenty of people throughout town to help make your Nice Ride experience safe and fun.
Wednesday, May 7: Bike to School Day
Parents, staff and students at Minneapolis Public Schools, University of Minnesota, Augsburg University and more will be celebrating Bike to School day with free tune-ups, bicycle light giveaways and celebrations at individual schools throughout the day. Not riding to school? Don’t miss the Commuter Pit Stops throughout Minneapolis featuring free bicycle tune-ups, snacks, bicycle lights and resources.
(Below: South High School bike parking during Bike Week in 2009)
Thursday, May 8: Bike to Work Day
Continuing the annual celebration at Government Plaza, Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition, Hennepin County and the Office of the Mayor of Minneapolis will host a morning party for bicycle commuters featuring free coffee, light breakfast snacks and prizes from local bicycle friendly businesses. Minneapolis City Council Members will be leading rides from their wards to the morning celebration downtown. This is one commute you don’t want to miss!
Friday, May 9: Bike and Ride Day
Want to ride a short distance, but travel farther? Stop by one of Metro Transit’s Park-and-Ride locations with your bike and you ride into the city for free! Commuting in the city? It’s the last day to visit a Commuter Pit Stop with free tune-ups, bicycle lights, snacks and resources to take with you. More details below.
Saturday, May 10: Bike to Local Businesses Day
Minneapolis is a fantastic place to live, work and play – and that’s in no small part due to how friendly our local, independent businesses are to people riding their bikes. Enjoy discounts at some of your favorite businesses and check out a block party! Block parties – several with live, local music – will be held in the following areas: East Harriet, Kingfield, Lake Street, Northeast, North Loop and Tangletown.
Sunday, May 11: Mother’s Day & Family Bike Day
Minneapolis neighborhoods are special; there’s no better way to experience them then taking a bicycle ride with your family. Minneapolis neighborhoods feature gardens, historical sites, beaches, lakes, golf courses, our neighborhoods and more. Ride with your family to a park, and take in some of the best outdoor spaces in the country. Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition will also be hosting several family bike rides throughout the day.
UPDATE: John Siqveland with Metro Transit sent us these additional details about the transit-oriented event on May 9.
Metro Transit is the sponsor of “Bike and Transit Day” on May 9. Cyclists can get a free ride on buses and trains by visiting select Park and Rides in the Twin Cities area if they bring their bike on a transit vehicle or park their bike there.
Those locations are:
There are two spots in Minneapolis where there will be a Commuter Pitstop where Metro Transit free ride coupons will be provided to those who want to Bike and Ride. Lake and River Road
and also Broadway and Girard in North Minneapolis.
UPDATE 2: Olson wrote in an e-mail that the two Minneapolis locations featuring Bike and Ride passes are now slated to be Lake and River Road and the 38th Street LRT station.
Photos: Top and middle photos of Bike Walk Week in 2009 by Bruce Bisping. Bottom photo of Bike Walk Week in 2012 by Richard Sennott.