The Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota (BikeMN) was formally created on October 28, 2008. Shortly thereafter, the newly formed board of directors hired the first full-time staff member, Executive Director Dorian Grilley.
BikeMN was launched with major contributions from five members of the Minnesota bicycle industry including Quality Bicycle Products, Penn Cycle, Erik’s Bike Shop, Park Tool, and Dero Bike Racks. All five are still supporters. BikeMN membership grew to more than 1,000 in the first 18 months. Our members come from 130 communities around the state. Membership has played an important role in increasing BikeMN’s operating capacity and clout. The other major factor in BikeMN’s success is the annual Saint Paul Classic Bike Tour held in early September. In 2008, the Classic’s owner/founder was looking for a new nonprofit partner to produce and benefit from the ride. BikeMN was the perfect match. In both 2009 and 2010 the Classic was a big success. Proceeds from the Classic enable BikeMN to fund a second full-time position and expand program activity.
After two years, what truly stands out about BikeMN are the great strides made by the voluntary steering committee during the summer of 2008 in defining the issues facing Minnesota’s cycling community and establishing an organization to address them. During that time, BikeMN’s mission was defined: “to provide leadership and a unified voice for bicycle education, advocacy and efforts to make Minnesota more bicycle friendly so that more people will ride bicycles more often”. That mission still clearly highlights our areas of focus. To serve it, BikeMN has identified four program areas:
ADVOCACY for bicycle friendly laws, policies, projects and programs.
EDUCATION of drivers and bicyclists using a national curriculum.
ENCOURAGEMENT of biking through events and promotions.
TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE to businesses and communities to be more bicycle friendly.