Bike Walk Week's Nick Ray Olson: "Take a walk or go for a ride around your neighborhood and you'll see it differently."
Last Sunday, Twin Cities Bike Walk Week (BWW), an alternative-transportation extravaganza organized by the City of Minneapolis, numerous non-profits, local businesses, community groups, and surrounding towns, kicked off in Minneapolis-St. Paul. BWW encourages Twin Citians to get around the metro by foot or pedal for a week, allowing their dinosaur-juice-powered cars to get dusty.
Planner Nick Ray Olson, who loves riding and previously did bike outreach at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, says an event like BWW is important because "with the world's population moving to cities, people-powered transportation serves as a simple, economic, and convenient solution to highly populated urban areas. BWW illustrates not only the public's interest in biking and walking, but also the city's commitment to increasing the number of bikers and walkers on our streets by making it safer, easier, and more enjoyable to go by bike or on foot."
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This week, BWW will be offering a variety of events for those out bicycling in Twin Cities lanes or striding around town on foot.
When asked to list his favorite BWW destinations, Olson recommends the Commuter Pit Stops, which will hand out free bike lights and offer bike repairs on your way into work; Brake for Breakfast, a Wednesday-morning feast at the Midtown Greenway Building; the Bike Walk to Work Celebration, a Thursday-morning party outside the Government Center, featuring a speech by pedal-powered silver fox Mayor R.T. Rybak; and Music & Movies & Bikes in the Park, where you can enjoy a free movie while getting your bike repaired (for free, natch).
Why bike and walk in the first place? Doesn't it take longer? Won't we get sweaty and ruin our work clothes? Perhaps, but "communities are built and lived block by block, building by building," says Olson, "and if you just watch it float by outside your window you'll miss it. Take a walk or go for a ride around your neighborhood and you'll see it differently. People-powered transportation allows for real human face-to-face interaction that is essential in building a meaningful sense of place."
More and more often we live sedentary lives. We sit down at work, then sit down in our cars, then sit down in front of our TV or computer. "Biking and walking," he says, "are simple, effective remedies to our dangerous routine of chronically sitting motionless in cars, at our desks, and in front of glowing rectangles."
Step away your glowing rectangle. Folks can take the BWW pledge at bikewalkweek.org, which puts them in the running to win a Civia bike or a free year of Metro Transit. The site also contains a full list of related events. Even if you can't make any weekday happenings, be sure stop by the Stone Arch Bridge Festival on Saturday or Sunday to pick up a free bike light and enjoy the festival's art and music.
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Twin Cities Bike Walk Week
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