Articles abound in newspapers, magazines, and the web about the battle for the streets; cyclists and motor vehicles vying for the roads. At least this is the tone many writers and commentators take on the evolving transit culture of our world. But in one place at least, Minnesota, the same state that was put at the number one position of bike friendly states – the vanguard is coming from an unexpected direction. The state of Minnesota is courting cyclists. Minnesota has launched the Pedal Minnesota campaign. A highly web-friendly movement designed to provide extensive resources for cyclists: from upcoming events; a route mapping service for bike directions; resources for individuals, businesses, and communities; and much more.
Why would a state invest so much in cycling? The more than $1 billion in annual revenue generated by the cycling industry wouldn’t hurt, as reported by Kelsey Campbell-Dolloghan in a recent article. But much more than that, fostering cycling is an investment in the health of the people, sustainable transit, environmental improvements; not to mention it is most enjoyable.
The state has gone so far as to retrofit bus stop shelters into “tune-up shelters”, where air pumps, tools, and maps may be made available to all at very low cost to the state. The tools were purchased from local bike shops, increasing benefits to local businesses. Installing bike racks on buses and other measures have demonstrated in a very concrete way the state’s commitment to supporting all things cycling. Even in a state renowned for it’s winters, weather cannot hold back positive change in health, transit, and economics – all powered by the simple bicycle.