10/15/12

Pedaling to the Pubs in NortheastPedaling to the Pubs in Northeast

By Jennifer Harmening Thiede, Communications Associate

On a sunny, blustery afternoon in late September, a great group of Twin Cities residents joined Bike Walk Move for our Pedal to the Pubs ride from downtown Minneapolis through Northeast Minneapolis, with a few fun stops along the way. All were excited to explore the neighborhood and to see how easily we could reach many Northeast destinations by bike!

We gathered at the YWCA on Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis and started with a brief review of bike safety and how to ride on city streets in traffic. Everyone did a fantastic job of navigating downtown rush hour traffic with help from the bike lanes along 6th Street South, Park Avenue, and 2nd Street. Thanks to Mackenzie Turner Bargen of the Minneapolis Bike Walk Ambassadors for leading this portion of the ride!

Meeting up, practicing hand signals and reviewing safety measures, and riding through downtown Minneapolis!

We made our way to Northeast Minneapolis via the scenic Stone Arch Bridge, then up 6th Avenue SE and across University to catch the 5th Street bicycle boulevard. We kept our eye out for bike-friendly features (it was a Geek Tour too). This section of 5th Street SE (in the Marcy Holmes neighborhood) has a "contraflow bike lane"-the bike lane heads west on a one-way street headed east. When we got to the light at Hennepin & Central, we rolled our tires over the bicycle detection symbol on the street to let the light know some bikes were ready to cross a busy intersection. 

Riding near Mill City Museum, over the Stone Arch Bridge, and across University Avenue.

Our first stop was at the Red Stag Supper Club, which offers convenient bike parking right outside the restaurant. Arriving just in time for happy hour, we socialized over delicious cheese curds and the Red Stag's signature truffle popcorn before continuing on our route.

Led by League-certified cycling instructor John Hardy (Mackenzie Turner Bargen is also an LCI), our group continued biking along the 5th Street NE bicycle boulevard. We had two more Geek features to experience firsthand. One was the state's only actual bicycle traffic signal, at the intersection of Broadway and 5th Street NE. The other was a residential traffic circle, which we spun around before heading back to 13th Avenue NE.

Geek features along the route: Minnesota's only bicycle traffic signal, and a residential traffic signal in Northeast.

We stopped in at Behind Bars Bicycle Shop (between 2nd & 3rd Streets NE) , where the friendly staff helped one cyclist pick out an affordable new headlight for safer evening rides. Behind Bars is a great neighborhood bike shop well worth a visit. Stop in! This fall and winter they are offering basic bike maintenance classes in addition to their regular tune ups, new and used bikes, and other gear. 

Just down the block on 13th Avenue NE we parked our trusty bikes for the last stop of the evening, the 331 Club. Known for its live music from local bands, the 331 Club shares 13th Avenue NE with a host of other notable Northeast destinations: The Anchor, Erte, Maeve's, Modern Café, Northeast Social, Ritz Theater, and more.

At each of our social stops it was nice to chat with our fellow cyclists and to learn what keeps them biking. Two cyclists, for example, told us biking is an especially important way for them to get around town because they don't own cars. Two others told us they had just moved to Northeast Minneapolis from Madison, Wisconsin, and were very excited that their new neighborhood was so bikable. All agreed that having access to and knowing about bike-friendly routes makes biking easier.

Thanks to everyone who joined us on the ride. We encourage you to keep bicycling and walking as the seasons change and to stay tuned for more biking and walking events to come!

 

All featured photos courtesy of Colin Harris.