Editor's note: This profile is part of iCycle, an occasional series profiling in brief people living and working and making their way through life by cycle in the Twin Cities.

 

Cyclist: Ben Janke, 35, Minneapolis, University of Minnesota researcher, civil engineering and ecology departments

Seen: Nov. 2, eastbound, Franklin Avenue Bridge

His ride: All-City Space Horse commuter bike

“Use it for bikepacking … probably have thousands of miles on it at this point. I’ve kind of lost track.”

On his kit (which includes a sturdy bike lock, two headlights and two taillights, spare battery):

“I had a couple of close calls a couple of winters ago on the same street in St. Paul where I just had people turn out in front of me even though I had the headlights on. I realized I needed to wear something bright and just be careful. Just assume that cars don’t see you.”

On his cycling arc:

“I used to ride a beater that I rescued from a dumpster because my bike got stolen. I didn’t realize how much security you needed to keep your bike from running off. After a certain point, I realized that having a nice bike was actually worth it if I was going to use it everyday for commuting and getting around. And I much preferred that to the bus, just being on my own schedule.”

Other bikes:

“I do use a different bike for the winter just to keep this one from getting too beaten up. I have a fat tire bike. I built one of those two years ago (Pugsley). I bought the frame on eBay and kind of built that up. My point had been to have something that I could use for fun in the winter. It was becoming a big thing and it was becoming cheap enough that I could get into that.”

On cycling’s permanence in his lifestyle:

“That’s how people introduce me at work. ‘This is that nutter who bikes in the winter.’ Now it’s not so unusual. It used to be, but now a lot of people do it.”

On the Twin Cities scene

“When I started grad school here in 2004 there were a lot of people biking, but there wasn’t anywhere near the infrastructure there is now. I’ve seen lots of iterations of bike lanes and shared lanes, where to put them, where not to put them. That’s been pretty interesting to see. I definitely have an appreciation for it. Definitely really nice way to get around most of the time, when it’s not raining. That’s the one thing I haven’t quite figured out: all the rain gear.”

Bob Timmons • 612-673-7899

David Joles • 612-673-7904