The University of Minnesota is now, officially, one of the most bicycle-friendly campuses in the nation.
This week, the League of American Bicyclists awarded the Twin Cities campus its “platinum” or highest designation for 2015. It joins four other top-rated campuses: Stanford University, the University of California, Davis, Colorado State University and Portland State University.
A platinum rating means it’s an “exemplary campus for bicyclists,” according to the league.
What made the U stand out this year? Among other things:
• Its Bike Center, a full-service bike shop complete with showers, parking and classes on winter cycling.
• A commuter rewards program, which allows students to earn gift cards and allows staff to earn health insurance discounts for bicycling to work or class.
• Discounts for the Nice Ride bike-share program.
The U has been on the league's list of friendly universities since it started in 2011, but this is its first year in the top tier.
Steve Sanders, the U’s alternative transportation manager (who has biked to work for 20 years), says the school has continued to improve and expand programs for bikers. About 7,000 people ride their bikes to the U every day, he said.
“Of course, it fluctuates with the weather,” he added. But “you’d be surprised how many people bike during the winter.”
In addition, Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter rated a bronze award (“a strong commitment to cycling”) from the league. It is the only other Minnesota school on the 2015 list.