10/27/10

Biking Walking & Blogging: Autumn Bike Walk WeekBiking Walking & Blogging: Autumn Bike Walk Week

From Alicia Adams, BWTC Program Outreach Coordinator

What began as a day in 2007 and grew to a week a year later has gone year round. Yes folks, the very first Autumn Bike Walk Week has come to a successful end!

Autumn Bike Walk Week, October 2-10, had a different focus than the June Bike Walk Week. Rather than introduce new riders or walkers to non-motorized transportation, Autumn Bike Walk Week was all about encouraging people who are already biking, walking and using public transportation to continue doing so, even as the days get shorter and colder here in the Twin Cities.

The center of Autumn Bike Walk Week was International Walk (and bike) to School Day, on October 6th. The day is meant to encourage youth to walk and/or bike to school. 

 

 

When we designated Oct 2-10th as Autumn Bike Walk Week, we didn't know that there was another event taking place worldwide that same week: The Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project, a World Habitat Day Event. When we caught wind of the amazing work Habitat for Humanity was going to be doing in North Minneapolis we wanted to see if there was a way for Bike Walk Week to play a role. After a presentation to the head of the project about the versatility of bike trailers, the "Pedal Power Crew" was formed.

This crew, made up entirely of volunteers, was at the Habitat for Humanity site in the Hawthorne neighborhood of Minneapolis all week transporting power tools, snacks and anything else the builders needed. Did I mention that former President Carter and Rosalynn also visited the site on Wednesday? Pretty amazing!

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Autumn Bike Walk Week, of course, could not have gone as smoothly as it did without many great organizations coming together and offering great incentives to bikers and walkers throughout the week.  Tuesday's "Bike n' Ride for Free Day" let Metro Transit bus and train riders expand their travel options by simply combining biking and transit trips. I even heard a story about one driver letting a bicyclist bring her bike onto the bus once the bike racks were full.

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On Wednesday, more than 30 schools participated in International Walk "and Bike" to School Day. Some schools had bike and walk safety lessons throughout the day. Other schools organized "walking school buses," in which a group of children walk together to school with adult guidance.

The schools hosted celebrations with coffee, pastries, raffle prizes and music for both students and parents who walked or biked to school that day.

Also on Wednesday, I was at a TMO sponsored Commuter Fair in the Hennepin County government building in downtown Minneapolis. The free coffee donated by Peace Coffee, along with coupons provided by the Dandelion Kitchen, made our table a definite hit!

Thursday's "Share the Ride Day" gave Twin Cities' residents a chance to do just that-share the ride,  and not only in the traditional carpooling sense. Our great ride sharing services like HOURCAR and Nice Ride Minnesota (those little green bikes you've seen all over Minneapolis), offered discounts on their application and membership fees.  Metro Transit offered a variety of rideshare incentives. Saturday and Sunday's "Bike Walk to Worship" rounded out the week's events with churches across the Twin Cities organizing walks or bike trips to church, or "blessings" of the bikes for those who biked to church that morning.

What an absolutely amazing week. The weather was beautiful and we were really able to showcase the various ways to get around without owning a car. And while I mentioned all of the organizations that helped make this week a success, we couldn't have done it without the hundreds of people who registered for Bike Walk Week and promised to bike or walk as a part of trip. It is support like that that continues to make Minneapolis and our whole region the best place for biking.