Maybe the Republican National Convention will be the site of a historic shift in the direction of the Republican Party, or maybe it'll be a week of meaningless political theater. Perhaps there'll be a riot. No one can say for sure, but one thing is certain: Whether you're here to participate or to protest, parking will be a bitch. Luckily the Twin Cities metro area is recognized as one of the most bicycle-friendly in the nation, and though St. Paul has a healthy helping of steep inclines, its lanes are wide and its drivers polite. If you're visiting from afar, chances are you didn't bring your own two-wheeled transportation. But you can enjoy our trails and streets nonetheless through Freewheelin, an organization dedicated to providing free bikes to anyone who needs them during the conventions in both St. Paul and Denver. Folks 18 or older can pre-register online or just show up to one of the many bike-loan stations and ride off on a well-tuned bicycle, free of charge. Check-out starts at 7 a.m.; no need to worry about returning it (to any of the Freewheelin bike stations) until 7 p.m, and there'll be instructors on-site for those who haven't ridden in a while. If you're more interested in seeing our fair city than the circus it's hosting, Freewheelin is even providing guided bike tours to show you the sights. Free. Most stations open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; some nights certain stations are open longer. For more info, locations, and to reserve a bike visit www.freewheelinwaytogo.com.
Sept. 1-4, 7 a.m.-7 p.m., 2008