Thousands of commuters are expected to hang up their car keys and pedal to the office Friday for Twin Cities Bike to Work Day.
It's the 12th year the Twin Cities has held festivities around the national event. There will be more than two dozen pit stops where cyclists can rest for drinks, snacks and a chance to share stories and advice about bike commuting.
Community leaders, including Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, will lead group rides starting at locations across the metro and arriving at parallel celebrations at the Hennepin County Government Center Plaza North in downtown Minneapolis and Union Depot in downtown St. Paul.
The nonprofit Our Streets Minneapolis has partnered with the city of Minneapolis and Hennepin County to organize the west metro celebration. Transit for Livable Communities and St. Paul Smart Trips are coordinating events in the east metro. "The purpose of the day is to support and encourage new people to try biking to work," said Ethan Fawley, Our Streets Minneapolis executive director. "We will have beautiful weather. It's a perfect day to try biking for the first time or the 1,000th time."
Fawley said the idea is to have experienced bike commuters teach novices the best routes, where to park, and where to shower or clean up after a ride.
He said it doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing proposition. Some people will bike to a bus stop or light rail station and then ride transit the rest of the way. "You might not bike every day, or the whole way, or in all weather, but [Friday] is a great way to try it out," Fawley said. "If you bike a mile or two, you will see health benefits. You will show up to work feeling energized."