As Bike to Work week draws to a close I found two newspaper articles quite intriguing.
The first comes from the Star Tribune which says that Minneapolis is ranked second in the nation for the number of bike commuters. While the other comes from the Indy Star which says that Indianapolis is ranked second from last in bike commuters! Quite the contrast.
Part of the reason is that Indy just doesn't have the infrastructure - bike lanes and trails - to really support widespread bike commuting. Indianapolis has 6 miles of bike lanes and 13 miles of bike trails while Minneapolis alone has 40 miles of on road bike lanes and close to 80 miles of off-road paved trails. Indy also is missing other elements that make Mpls a great place to bike commute - shower facilities, downtown gym facilities (for showering etc), bike lockers, and ample bike racks.
Don't get me wrong Minneapolis has a long way to come in being bike friendly, but it is a lot of small stuff that improves safety like street cleaning roads with bike lanes first, enforcing parking restrictions in bike lanes, etc. There is a strong biking culture here in Minneapolis that supports biking and attracts bikers. Did I mention that people bike to work even in the winter? Yea, that's hard core!
It is a little crazy to bike in -34 wind chills but people were out on the Greenway (I guess its a little crazy that I was out there running and saw them!!). They tend to ride bikes with wider tires and some people even have a summer and winter bike. So yes it is a pretty strong bike culture!
Here are some random links I found, I haven't looked through them all.