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A Living by Bike interview with Community Funding Coordinator/ Community Advocate EG in Minneapolis, MN.
EG is a Community Funding Coordinator/ Community Advocate/ Cat Parent in Minneapolis, MN
When did you start riding your bike?
I started bike commuting after graduating college, though I took a brief hiatus when I lived in NYC, before they got serious about bike lanes. When I moved to Minneapolis, that is when biking really took off for me and I have been an avid, car-free bike commuter since 2007.
What is your favorite place to ride your bike to?
I bike pretty much everywhere, but I guess my favorite stretch is the river road between Mendota Heights and St. Paul. It’s a very quiet and tranquil ride along the Mississippi. Then you can climb up Ohio hill and have a great view.
What is your favorite restaurant?
Locally, I love the Hard Times Café. It is a no-frills, all-vegetarian place and is very accommodating to people and cyclists of all types.
What is your favorite bike ride?
I never get to actually ride in the Queer ride that I plan (Cirque du SoGay) so I guess I will have to say the NYC 5 Boro. I love that they close down the BQE for people to ride on. They always say that you see things differently by bike, but it was also different to see things by bike in a place that normally only cars can travel, usually at crazy high speeds. I really love any ride that gets a group of people to ride together (critical mass, benefit rides, community group rides); it’s empowering to ride with others and it’s easier to be seen in traffic too.
How would you describe your bike style?
Casual, comfortable, and practical. I’m not big on getting there the fastest, though sometimes I like a good race. I have a number of bikes restored from things found in the trash; if it will get me from point A to B, I will ride it. I work in a suburb, so I put about 25 miles (40 kilometers) on my bike every day, and I have made that trek on all kinds of beat-up bikes, in regular old plain clothing, in all sorts of weather. Goes to show you that you don’t need fancy stuff to ride long distances or get around in general. I do enjoy fluorescents though; they complement my queer fashion choices and keep me visible.
Describe the bike culture in your city.
Of all the cities I’ve traveled to or lived in, Minneapolis has the best bicycle infrastructure, hands down. Our advocates, elected officials, and infrastructure work brilliantly together to make the city a place where many feel safe and elect to bike over other modes of transit. Many groups are working hard to make our bike culture more diverse and inclusive (of women, LGBTQ people, African Americans, new-immigrants, Latinos, and more). Local organizations do a great job working together to increase access and promote cycling as a reliable, affordable, and convenient form of transportation among communities who are not traditionally the “face” of cycling. On top of that, we have all of the standard competitions that make cycling appeal to more sporty folk. I really feel like there is something for almost everyone here in terms of biking.
What do you think your city could do to make cycling easier and more accessible?
I would like to see continued innovation around bike sharing infrastructure to increase accessibility among low-income people who may not have access to credit cards and people who need bicycles for longer periods of time. I would like to see increased wayfinding in certain areas, and for our transit system to improve communications about where routes go and when, to help people overcome some of the initial anxieties of car-free transit and reliably incorporate cycling into longer commutes. I think many would-be cyclists have a fear of getting lost and/or being late, and so getting rid of some of those barriers could help put more people on bikes.