Did you know that Minnesota, with its more than 4,000 miles of paved trails, is one of the most bike-friendly states in the country? Recently Pedal Minnesota teamed with HealthPartners to bring 10 permanent bicycle tune-up stations to the more popular trails in the Twin Cities and St. Cloud.
Each station offers tools and an air compressor tire pump for easy maintenance. The stations include Union Depot, Sam Morgan Trail, Vento Trail and Mississippi River Boulevard in St. Paul, along with Eastern Regional Park and the Beaver Island Trail in St. Cloud. Two the stations in Minneapolis (2855 Hennepin Avenue, and 2300 Lake Street) also offer vending machines with bike accessories, other equipment, and healthy snacks.
I recently spoke with Cathy Carlson about Pedal Minnesota and some of its latest initiatives. Carlson is the promotion coordinator for Pedal Minnesota. She manages content for Pedal Minnesota’s website and social media accounts and administers the Pedal Minnesota committee. Even though cycling is a new hobby of hers, she is becoming a more confident rider both on city streets and trails up north.
Tell me a little bit about Pedal Minnesota itself? How did it get started? What are some of its goals?
Pedal Minnesota is a coalition of both state agencies and private organizations encouraging people to get on bikes more often, in Minnesota. Our partners include the Minnesota departments of Health, Transportation and Natural Resources, Explore Minnesota Tourism, the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota, the Parks and Trails Council of Minnesota, the National Park Service, and a sponsorship by HealthPartners. Initiated about five years ago by Explore Minnesota Tourism, Pedal Minnesota has served as a go-to resource for everything biking in Minnesota. From commuter biking to mountain biking, we strive to inspire all types of cyclists by providing mapping tools, lists of biking events and clubs, and personal tips and trip ideas from cyclists across the state.
How did this partnership with HeathPartners begin? Is this the first time that you’ve worked with them?
It had always been a goal of Pedal Minnesota’s to get a health organization involved. Cycling has such positive benefits to personal health and wellbeing. HealthPartners stepped up in this role in a major way and has for four years now.
When will the permanent bike stations be up and operational?
There are currently seven stations up and running with five of them located in St. Paul and two stations in St. Cloud. We have three more locations on the way. They will be announced on our website at PedalMinnesota.com. In addition, two vending machines with tune-up stations are located in Minneapolis. As a service to cyclists, HealthPartners also sponsored a bike maintenance trike staffed by Cycles for Change that travels to locations throughout the Twin Cities.
We feel Pedal Minnesota is gaining momentum. The tune-up stations have been a great success so far and we hope to get even more of them installed throughout the state. We are also in the midst of planning the 2015 Bicycle Conference that will be held May 3-5 in Minneapolis. This will serve as an opportunity for organizers of parks and recreation, public health, tourism, transportation, elected officials, law enforcement, school officials, advocates, and others to share how they are making their communities more bike friendly. Our major focus will continue on encouraging biking in our target markets—women with young children, seniors, and minority populations. In addition, we will continue to build on PedalMinnesota.com as a resource for all things biking in Minnesota.