R.T. Rybak pumped by top bike ranking

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Glad to see everyone taking note of something we told you Monday: Minneapolis is the best bicycling city in the country.

Not so glad, though, to see this groaner of a press release quote from Mayor R.T. Rybak:

"I was so excited by this news, I overinflated my bike tires."

Can't blame the guy, though. It was fun to see Bicycling magazine give our corner of the tundra the edge over oh-so-cloyingly eco-conscious places like Boulder and Portland.

Here's the full press release:

April 6, 2010 (MINNEAPOLIS) More than 120 miles of bikeways, many bike amenities and a strong, vibrant bicycling community have prompted Bicycling magazine to name Minneapolis America's best bike city.

"I was so excited by this news, I overinflated my bike tires," Mayor R.T. Rybak said. "We've come a long way from when the first bike lanes were striped on our streets back in the 1970s. Biking is now a more attractive and effective way of getting around town, thanks to an ongoing partnership between the City and County governments, the country's best coalition of nonprofits and tens of thousands of active bikers."

In Bicycling magazine's May edition, which hits newsstands today, Minneapolis is noted for having a large and supportive biking community. The article also mentions the extensive infrastructure in place for cyclists here, including bike-pedestrian bridges, greenways and a bike-share program that will begin this year.

"We have created a comprehensive transportation plan, Access Minneapolis, and bicycling is a big part of that," said Council Member Sandy Colvin Roy, who chairs the Transportation and Public Works committee. "Bicycling is more than recreation. It's also a good, economical and healthy way to get around town."

There are 127 miles of bikeways in Minneapolis, with 83 of those being off-street trails. There is more bike parking per capita in Minneapolis than any other city in the country. In June, Minneapolis will start the largest bike-share program in the country. Also, the City has bike ambassadors to help educate and promote biking.

By choosing to bike instead of drive, residents help keep down traffic congestion, cut the production of greenhouse gases and reduce our dependence on oil. Plus, biking is a healthy way to get around. Minneapolis has the second highest percentage of bicycle commuters in the nation, according to a U.S. Census comparison of the nation's 50 biggest cities.

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