Editorial: Minn. touts its bicycling assets

Published 9:42 am Friday, June 1, 2012

A new campaign is telling America what Minnesotans have known for years: This is a bike-friendly state.

After the national recognition the state has received in recent years from magazines and studies, it’s about time the state touts its biking assets more extensively.

It’s nice to see a group of state agencies working closely with businesses and nonprofits to extoll the bicycling resources of Minnesota. The campaign is called Pedal Minnesota, and, of course, it has its own website: www.pedalmn.com. It sort of works as an extension of the well-known Explore Minnesota tourism promotion.

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The drive hopes to encourage Minnesotans to get out and bike, but it also lets recruiters and people mulling whether to move to Minnesota know how bicycling adds to the state’s quality of life.

And the campaign also couldn’t come at a better time. More families are cutting back on fuel expenses. Anyone who has driven around Albert Lea lately has witnessed more scooters and bicycles in use than in past summers. The Pedal Minnesota has resources for these folks.

The website even tells a story of a mom whose family got rid of the second car. Running errands and hauling the children now demand her to be bike-savvy. She gives these tips:

• Be a role model by biking safely and with the proper gear. Always wear a helmet. Always put helmets on the children.

• Choose trails and parks when possible when planning routes. This allows a quieter, smoother and safer ride.

• Pack wisely. Don’t forget to brink snacks and refreshments for yourself and the kids. You want them to enjoy the ride so that they keep wanting to ride.

Pedal Minnesota also explains the economic impact of bicycling. “Biking generates more than $1 billion in expenditures throughout the state,” it says in a news release. “With more than 1,500 miles of paved trails and numerous designated biking routes in communities across the state, Minnesota offers excellent options for all kinds of cyclists.”