Five rides to enjoy during Pedalopolis

This week, the Twin Cities will be exploding with over 20 informal bike rides aimed at providing fun ways to get out and enjoy the city without the pressure of competition. Hosted by Twin Cities Bike Fun, Pedalopolis originated as an international bike festival, called BikeSummer, that was a critical mass-inspired event. It grew in popularity over the years, and continues today in the form of Pedalpalooza in Portland and Velopalooza in Vancouver. Inspired by these types of bike-centered festivals, Nickey Robo, a cycling advocate and co-founder of Twin Cities Bike Fun, hatched a plan to create Minneapolis's own festival, featuring a week full of crowd-sourced bike rides that emphasize enjoyment and accessibility for all different kinds of cyclists.

"We wanted to create a space where people of all kinds of athletic levels could get together and have that experience together," Robo says. "The Twin Cities has amazing alley cats and racing, but not the same community around social rides. We wanted to encourage the idea that you don't have to be a hardcore racer to enjoy this festival. It's for everybody."

Throughout the week, you can pick and choose whatever theme tickles your fancy. Besides the big opening kickoff parade starting tonight at 5 p.m. at Matthews Park, events include a queer-friendly progressive picnic and ride, a meditation ride, a secret midnight ride, and a big Saturday night ride/party that starts from Bedlam's Community Design Center in Minneapolis and ends at their Lowertown space.

City Pages has a little taste of some of the different rides you might choose to go on this week, or check out the Pedalopolis Facebook page for a full listing of events.

Tuesday, July 15 at 6 p.m. 
3020 Minnehaha Ave., Minneapolis

The Twin Cities are filled with awesome murals, but how often do you take the time to really look at them? For the Minneapolis Mural Tour, riders will go on a 15 to 20 mile easy-paced ride checking out some great public art. Starting from the Hub's Minnehaha location, riders will head northeast toward Salon Stella before hitting up the Broken Crow mural at the 1029 bar. Eventually, the group will visit the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood to check out the Nomad's iconic shark mural, and end at the Mosaic Café. "It's just an excuse to go see a bunch of cool murals," says Chelsea Strate, who's leading the ride. She chose murals that are fun to check out in addition to making a good ride for the group.

Thursday, July 17 at 6:30 p.m. 
Franklin Avenue Bridge (East End)

You may have heard of Merriam Park, but have you actually been there? Now's your chance to visit, as urban geographer Bill Lindeke leads a group around six different "overlooked" parks in St. Paul that he feels should get more attention. Lindeke's no stranger to group rides, having led several adventures in "cyclogeography" centered on things such as bowling alleys, Chinese restaurants, and dive bars. "Stories tend to pop-up when you're looking through a new lens at the city around you," he says. All the parks on this tour are about 10 miles of each other, and at each stop Lindeke will give a brief talk about the history of the park, including information about its surrounding neighborhood and tidbits about the architecture in the area. "It'll be very low-key," he says.  A family-friendly event, the ride will take place mainly off main streets, venturing into parts of St. Paul that he says "most people don't really go to." While it's not officially of the tour, Lindeke welcomes people to grab a pint at the Dubliner with him afterward.

Thursday, July 17 at 7:30 p.m. 
700 Nicollet Mall, in front of the IDS Building

Jenny Jenkins says she's been thinking about doing a Replacements-themed ride for some time, and Pedalopolis turned out to be the perfect opportunity to pay tribute to the iconic Minneapolis band. Starting out underneath the skyway in front of the IDS Building, the ride will include visits to places related to the members' lives, including one of the studios where the band recorded, the Bob Stinson memorial bench, and various Uptown locations. In addition, Jenkins says a Replacement soundtrack will accompany the journey.

Saturday, July 19 at noon 
2504 Central Ave. NE

For its second edition of Spinning Stories, which launched in May of 2014, the series joins Pedalopolis for a ride of tales where the audience travels to where the original story took place. According to organizer Brian Fanelli, the ride features storytellers Ifrah Mansour, Anna Kunin, and Paul Canada, and includes stories of strange fetishes, deers crashing through windows, and clowns. Riders will also be treated to popcorn outside of the Riverview Theater. 

Music Bingo Ride 
Sunday, July 20 at 4 p.m.

2002 23rd Ave. S., Minneapolis

Is there a better Sunday afternoon activity than a good, old-fashioned game of bingo? Boneshaker Books will be hosting the Music Bingo Ride, starting at the bookstore and culminating at Minnehaha Falls. According to Boneshaker's Brie Morris, who's also one of the main organizers for Pedalopolis, the Music Bingo Ride will include participants guessing tunes to fill their bingo charts, with rounds played at Boneshaker, Bracket Park, and Minnehaha Falls. There will be prizes for the winners.