Oct 2, 2011

Joy Riding with MBC

This afternoon, the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition (MBC) held it's first (as far as I know) organized ride. The Joy Ride was created to bring diverse cycling sub-groups together to simply celebrate riding our bikes around the City. After all, even though we might have different styles or reasons for driving our bicycles, we all enjoy it, so why not do a group ride on a lovely Fall day.

I had the opportunity to help plan this ride; I was tasked with pulling together a route that show cased some recent bike infrastructure victories, showed some areas where improvements could be made, took us through North and Northeast Minneapolis and was safe enough for a group ride. That sounds like a simple enough request, but the reality of coming up with a route took a little more creative thinking than I originally anticipated, thanks to some gaps and poor connections.

Foolishly, I never anticipated that I would be leading the group during the actual ride. I figured there would be ride marshals or other dignitaries pointing the way, and I would be some sort of consultant in case anything went awry, but when the time came to head out, it was clear that I was In Charge. That was a little intimidating at first, but in retrospect, I was most familiar with where we were trying to go, and if anything came up, I could apply my Smart Cycling jujitsu ways and get us through the whatever.

No need for the jujitsu today. The ride worked out, people had fun, the weather was great and we showcased some new infrastructure and highlighted some potential areas for improvement. The route took us through some truly lovely areas, and some areas that could be lovely with a few curb cuts, better markings or other treatments, so it was very effective that way. We also got a fair number of comments from ride participants that appreciated learning areas of the City that they rarely (if ever) visit on a bicycle, so that was also a big success, I think.

It was also fun to be able to convert a few virtual friends into real-life friends and see some people that I haven't seen since the Flood Ride in early Spring.

Many thanks to Janne for being the creative force behind this ride, Alex for tackling all the logistics, and the Minneapolis Bike Coalition for bringing more than 60 people together today to celebrate riding our bikes.

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