Green Digest: Change your commute for Bike Walk Week

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June 10, 2013 // UPDATED 2:31 pm - June 10, 2013
By: Dylan Thomas
A scene from last year's Greenway Glow nighttime ride
Submitted image
Dylan Thomas
Car commuters challenged to bike or walk to work at least once this week

Car commuters across the city are encouraged to bike or walk to work at least once during the annual Bike Walk Week Twin Cities, which returns this year June 9–15.

The week culminates June 13 with Bike Walk to Work Day, but events and activities meant to encourage active transportation are scheduled throughout the week. One lucky commuter could even win a new bicycle.

Commuter pit stops will welcome bikers and walkers all week at various locations around the city. Many of the pit stops will operate during both the morning and evening commutes (7 a.m.–9 a.m. and 4 p.m.–6 p.m.), offering commuters free bicycle maintenance and giveaways like stickers and free lights for nighttime walking and biking.

Bike mechanics offering free repairs will also be working at several of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board’s Music and Movies in the Park events during the week, including a 7:30 p.m. June 14 screening of “The Mighty Ducks” at the Lake Harriet Bandshell.

Two classes offered June 12 are designed to help cyclists build confidence biking in the city. Pick up tips for commuting safely and comfortably by bicycle in the Basics of Bicycling for Transportation, offered 1:30 p.m.–2:30 p.m. in the offices of the Hennepin County Bar Association, located in suite 390 on the third floor of City Center, 600 Nicollet Mall. The 2:30 p.m.–4 p.m. Riding with Traffic class meets in the same location but will then move out onto the streets of downtown, where two certified instructors will lead participants on a ride meant to teach the basics of sharing the roadways with drivers.

The following morning, commuters are invited to join the Bike Walk to Work Day celebration 7 a.m.–9 a.m. outside of Hennepin County Government Center, 300 S. 6th St., featuring a resource fair where presenters will share information on how businesses can encourage employees to bike and walk to work. Mayor R.T. Rybak is one of several speakers scheduled for the morning event.

Throughout the week, school, workplace and neighborhood teams will compete to see who can make the most trips on bike of foot. Points are scored for every non-motorized trip, with prizes going to the week’s high-scoring teams.

Individual commuters are also eligible for prizes when they pledge online to pedal or walk to work instead of driving at least once during Bike Walk Week, including a seven-speed Civia Twin City commuter bicycle and free transit rides for one year. Those who register are also automatically entered in Metro Transit’s Commuter Challenge and are eligible for future prize drawings.

Go to bikewalkweek.org to take the pledge or to find more information on the time and location of Bike Walk Week events. 

Light up the Greenway

The second-annual Greenway Glow nighttime ride and fundraiser for the Midtown Greenway Coalition promises to light up the night of June 22.

Last year’s inaugural event coincided with Northern Spark, and even with the all-night art festival’s shift to St. Paul for 2013, Greenway Glow organizers are planning to make art a big part of the celebration. An “illuminated art festival” featuring nearly 40 art installations and performances runs 6 p.m.–midnight at various locations along the 5.5-mile bicycle and pedestrian corridor.

Join in a lantern parade over the Sabo Bridge, write and perform in a three-minute play, watch a giant catapult fling glow-in-the-dark projectiles at a target or listen to live music from the Brass Messengers, just one of several bands scheduled to perform at the after-dark party.

The art festival is just half of a night that’s really two events in one. And there are some extra treats in store for the riders who sign up to participate in the Greenway Glow, a major annual fundraiser for the coalition, a nonprofit that works to protect and improve the greenway.

Greenway Glow riders pay $30 to register for the ride and agree to raise another $75 in donations to the coalition. Participants get free food and beverages that night from Bar Louie in Uptown (located just off the Greenway’s Girard Avenue ramp), a glow-in-the-dark T-shirt, glow lights and an invitation to the Greenway Glow after-party that runs until 1 a.m. in the Mozaic Art Park near Bar Louie.

The ride goes on rain or shine. For more information, or to register, go to midtowngreenway.org.