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This weekend will provide yet another appealing reason why Minneapolis is the nation's foremost bike city.
On Saturday, outside of Freewheel Bike on the Greenway, the third-annual Midtown Greenway Community Bike Festival will offer live blues and roots music from the Grand Marquis, guided half- and one-hour bike tours of Midtown, and a children's Bike Rodeo. There will also be free snacks, water bottles, and T-shirts, plus bike decorations and other fun giveaways.
Organizer Chris Wurtz, who commutes by bike every day, spearheaded the first event in 2010. "The bike festival grew out of the idea that there is a need to increase awareness of biking and health, wellness, and safety among under-served, low-income communities in the Midtown area," he says.
A tour of Minneapolis's bicycling superhighway, with its easy exits on Park, Nicollet, Hennepin, Lake Calhoun, and beyond, plus its community gardens and art, is a good intro to just how awesome it is to get around Minneapolis by bike. The festival's bike tours of the Greenway will begin at 1 p.m. as the one-hour tour departs then. The event's two half-hour tours start at Freewheel at 1:15 and 2:30 p.m. Trained instructors from Nice Ride Minnesota will lead, and volunteers will watch over the rides, which are limited to 17 participants (and require helmets). The sturdy, neon-green bikes from Nice Ride will be available for those who've arrived bikeless.
Wurtz wants the festival to be a reason for Minneapolis's panoply of bike organizations to come together every year and talk about why they love cycling. "Our goal," says Wurtz, "is to have bike organizations staff a table to increase awareness of what their organization does for biking and the community." Freewheel will provide free hot dogs and water, while Peace Coffee will hand out gratis brews. Kids can expect to receive balloons, streamers, and stickers, plus "the proverbial water bottles," says Wurtz.
IF YOU GO:
Midtown Greenway Community Bike Festival
Noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, July 14
Freewheel Bike Center
2834 10th Ave. S., Minneapolis