Surly uncorked a snarky sticker at Interbike this year that reads “JUST BECAUSE WE BOTH RIDE BIKES DOESN’T MEAN WE ARE FRIENDS”. I like that sticker because it kind of reinforces the snarky branding Surly has mastered but also, there’s more than a grain of truth to it.
In cities (such as ours) with a large slice of the population riding bikes at least somewhat regularly, it’s inevitable that subsets of the bike community will find each other. In Minneapolis, we are blessed to have utility cyclists, commuters, roadies, fixed gear/messenger cultural, WTF riders, tall bike people, 3-speed enthusiasts, advocacy nerds, and MUP cruisers with Burleys and bells all rubbing elbows on the roads and paths of our fair City. Others may not identify with any sort of community at all – they just simply ride their bikes because they enjoy it, or it makes sense, or they hate cars, or whatever.
True, just because we all ride bikes doesn’t necessarily mean that we are friends, but BECAUSE we all ride bikes, we do have a lot of common interests. Improved bike infrastructure on the roads and bike parking where we need it, for instance, benefits everyone that rides, from the faintest of fair weather riders to the baddest bad-ass year-round commuters.
These are exactly the types of issues that the Minneapolis Bike Coalition (MBC) is working on for the benefit of all Minneapolis cyclists. Now, MBC is organizing a ride with the potential to bring these diverse communities together to celebrate some victories and contemplate the future (thank you, thank you and thank you).
On October 2, the Minneapolis “Joy Ride” will set out from Gold Medal Park. The route will take us through parts of North Minneapolis (which is under-served on bike infrastructure and needs some focused attention from the City in order to catch up) and Northeast, which has made some recent improvements but had an important east-west bike lane taken away recently, too. There will be a relatively short family friendly ride as well as a longer adult ride. Snacks will be provided, too, so what’s not to like.
If you can make it to this ride, please do so. I think it’s important that we show the City that the cyclists are paying attention, and that we appreciate the improvements and won’t tolerate neglect of bike infrastructure. I also think it’s important that MBC continue to grow and become a strong and sustaining voice in Minneapolis bike advocacy, and this ride will move them one more step down the path to that destination.
That’s worth spending an afternoon on your bike for, I’d say.
Photo credit: Surly Bikes via YouTube.