City wants residents to feel at home on their bike
The city of Rosemount has made it a priority in recent years to make its streets friendlier for bikers. The next step, it seems, is helping residents realize just how easy it can be to take to two wheels.
Two recent efforts are aimed at removing some of the barriers that might keep people from getting on their bike. The first, which went live recently on the city's website, is a series of profiles of local bikers. The idea, Rosemount planner Jason Lindahl said, is to help people understand they don't have to be superfit and in Spandex to start pedaling around town.
"There are regular people who bike," Lindahl said. "It's not just people who do 100-mile super rides or commute to their jobs in Minneapolis every day."
There are currently two profiles on the site. The first is of a member of the Rosemount Cycling Club, a group that meets for rides Saturday mornings at Starbucks. The second is of Kari Mitchell, whose Rosemount-based Charity Events of Minnesota puts on a pair of fundraising bike rides each year.
"We tried to provide some information about why they like to ride, how often they ride, how they stay safe while riding," Lindahl said.
The format comes from a city of Minneapolis website dedicated to encouraging people in that city to bike more. Lindahl is looking for more people willing to be profiled.
The second part of the city's push to encourage everyday cycling is a free class meant to give adults the bike skills they need to feel comfortable riding in traffic. The class is scheduled for Aug. 9 and 10 at city hall.
"This is for someone who's interested in using their bike for recreation but also for transportation and just learning how to drive their bike in traffic and be comfortable in basically all environments," Lindahl said.
The class is also the first in a series that will qualify individuals to be a League of American Bicyclists instructor. Lindahl hopes at least a few of the people who attend the August class will continue and become instructors who could help with future training and advocacy work in Rosemount.
The city has completed several projects in recent years to make Rosemount more bike friendly. Last summer, it added bike lanes on 145th Street and Diamond Path and completed a trail in front of the Rosemount Community Center. This summer's big project is an underpass under Highway 3 near Rosemount High School. And the city is making plans to add new seating areas along several of its paths to give bikers and walkers a place to rest their legs.
Lindahl wants to encourage people to get on their bike to go to the grocery store or to dinner or to a movie, all of which are within easy pedaling distance for most Rosemount residents.
While he doesn't have any hard evidence -- the city did a bike count last September and will do another this year to see how biking has grown -- Lindahl feels like the city's trails are busier than they used to be.
"I do notice more people out bicycling or walking," he said. "I hear anecdotally from the people in the Rosemount Cycling Club and just other connections, other people in the cycling community ... that they like Rosemount for cycling."
Anyone interested in contributing a bicycle profile to the city's website or participating in next month's skills course can call Lindahl at 651-322-2009 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.