Bike/Walk to Work DayWe are still in catch-up mode as we excitedly welcome Ben and Julie’s new baby into the world and rev up for the next phase of YERT. Bear with us as we work to get you caught up on where we’ve been and what we’ve seen! Now to spend a couple more blogs wrapping up Minnesota . . .
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Many people recognize Portland, Oregon as one of the most bike and public transit friendly cities in the nation. The city is so well known for its mass transit efforts that help the environment, in fact, that YERTs Oregon green video is centered around this theme. But would you have guessed that Minneapolis- a city known for its chilling winters- would come a close, unofficial second?
On the Twin Cities Bike/Walk to Work Day walkers, bikers, and the sun were all out in full force. The parks scattered throughout downtown help to break up the high rise buildings and the Greenway- a bike/pedestrian path that extends for twenty miles- provides a straight pathway for commuter cyclists riding to work downtown. We camped out at the Greenway and stopped a few riders for some of our peeps on the street. For some, even the chilling winters were only a small worry compared to the benefits of saved parking fees, additional exercise, a shorter commute (in some cases), fresh air, and smaller carbon footprint.
Also while in the twin cities area we interviewed Ari Ofsevit with hOurcar, a car sharing service in Minneapolis. Like most car sharing programs, the concept is simple- rather than drive a car of your own, you reserve one online for only the hours you need it. Pick it up at a designated neighborhood spot, drive it around for the hours reserved, then return it to the same spot when finished. Gas is included in the hourly price. It offers a lot of convenience without a lot of hassle. Unlike many of the larger car sharing services, however, hOurcar is a nonprofit, dedicated to the mission of promoting environmentally sustainable communities.
Here are some ideas and tips that might make a carefree, car-free lifestyle a bit easier.
Buy a great book- Who wants to sit in traffic, anyway?
Carpool- Yeah, youve heard this one before, but this time actually do it!
Pimp your ride– Take pride in your bike. Get it ready for a trip to the grocery store, for transporting papers to the office, and for riding after dark by outfitting it with side bags, a light, and a basket.
Hitch a ride- Type “ride share” into Google to find a bunch of sites that offer ways to meet up with others interested in carpooling or dividing the expenses and driving of a longer trip.
Live near work- Probably the easiest way to cut down on the amount of driving is to live, work, and play in the same area. If having all three isn’t a possibility, at least try to live near where you work, as commuting accounts for 734 billion miles driven by Americans each year.