Biking becoming mainstream transportation choice

I’ve been a participant in, and observer of, Northfield’s bicycling sub-culture for the past 42 years, and I can say without hesitation that it has been slowly, but surely, developing in recent years into mainstream culture.schwinn-stingray-green-3-speed

I’ve been biking in and around town since my lime green Schwinn Stingray first rolled out the driveway and onto Woodley Street as I explored my new environs after moving to Northfield as a nine-year-old in 1967. I biked to school (Sibley, the old Middle School, and NHS) from ’67 to ’76, left from Northfield on a 1980 bike trip to Mexico with my brother Scott on April Fools’ Day (how appropriate!) and spent a good part of the spring of 1981 bike commuting to and from the University of Minnesota (I should have graduated in the spring of ’80, but didn’t turn the trick until December ’83 — but that’s another story…) from the ancestral home on Woodley.

bwtw-flyer-514091After years of wandering in the wilderness, I moved back to Northfield for good in 1993, and have been happily biking the roads of Northfield and the surrounding counties ever since. Biking to the Hideaway for work-related meetings; to pick up a requested book that’s just come in at the library; to the Muni to pick up a bottle of wine for dinner; to City Hall to attend a meeting; to the Co-op for groceries; anywhere else downtown, the NCRC, St. Olaf, Carleton, etc, etc.; evening rides past the Carleton wind turbine; Saturday morning rides in weather fair and foul with the good folk of the Northfield Bike Club – it’s all good. Good for the body, good for the mind, good for the spirit. Furthermore, I see MORE people doing all these things all the time. The relative handful of adults who biked years ago, whether recreationally or for transportation, has become a continually increasing cadre in Northfield.

If you’re one of these people, stop by Bridge Square this Thursday morning between 6:15 and 8:00 for conversation, coffee, juice, and goodies at a celebration of Bike/Walk to Work/School Day 2009, hosted by the Northfield Task Force on Nonmotorized Transportation. Others who use alternatives to solo motorist commuting (telecommuters, transit riders, carpool/vanpoolers) are welcome to join us in this celebration, which is part of a nationwide effort to get people to adopt commuting alternatives. Please join us, and celebrate the mainstreaming of bicycling in Northfield! (Spandex welcomed but not required.)

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