But then I attended the International Winter Cycling Congress in Minneapolis in 2016. It was frigid, and a winter storm dumped nearly 10 inches of snow. Nevertheless, a couple hundred people got on their bikes and joined a bike parade through town. And our fearless ride leaders were — a bunch of fourth-graders!
Pedaling joyfully through the snow, we had a blast in the bike parade, and it changed my mind about how “crazy” winter biking actually is.
The mission of the Winter Cycling Congress is to normalize winter bicycling, and I left the conference with a lot of inspiration and even more ideas.
After spending far too long mulling on that inspiration, the idea of Winter Bike Week was finally born. This year marks the second-annual week-long event, which runs through Saturday.
The event aims to celebrate winter biking in all its forms, whether for fun and recreation or transportation and commuting. The goal is demonstrate that winter biking is fun, practical, and accessible to most people in our community.
To do this, Zeitgeist, Duluth Bikes, and several other community organizations and area businesses have organized family-friendly group rides, community events, and educational workshops. In addition to bicycling opportunities throughout this week, there also will be good food, warm drinks, live music, new friendships, inspirational speakers, and lots of fun.
There is beauty and reward in bicycling in winter, and I invite people of all ages and abilities to see what all the excitement is about. Winter Bike Week is the perfect opportunity to ease into the fun of winter biking and gain some inspiration of your own.
Shawna Mullen of Duluth is a year-round bicycle commuter and the community development coordinator at Zeitgeist.
Winter Bike Week continues through Saturday in Duluth. For more information, visit zeitgeistarts.com/community/winter-bike-week-events.
- Monday at 5:30 p.m. — Winter Bike Commuting 101 at Duluth Folk School, 1917 W. Superior St.
- Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. — Ladies Mountain Bike Night at Hartley Park
- Wednesday — Winter Bike to School Day
- Thursday at 5:30 p.m. — Duluth-Superior DRAFT meet-up at Zeitgeist Teatro, 222 E. Superior St.
- Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. — International Winter Bike to Work Day at Minnesota Power Plaza, which is at Lake Avenue and Superior Street, with a group ride at the Rose Garden
- Saturday at 4 p.m. — Bikes and Bites Tour at Zeitgeist Arts Café, Dovetail Café, and the Bayfront Family Center
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