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By BikeMN Education Staff Helena Howard and Ilse Griffin

As we end our 2023 season, we’re celebrating another fun and successful year of Adult Learn to Ride. Join us as we recap our highlights from 2023!

Adult Learn to Ride is BikeMN’s metro based program designed to teach adults who have never learned to ride or those needing a refresher after a long hiatus. The program includes classes for beginners, a presentation on bike safety and rules of the road, group riding, bike repair pop-ups, and bike maintenance classes. This year we reached over 1,280 participants and taught 103 classes.

Most of the participants I spoke with over the four weeks had similar stories of not having an opportunity to ride as a kid and never would have imagined accomplishing this dream as an adult. Wow, imagine blossoming at any stage in one’s life with the right supportive environment.

The kind, learning, and inclusive environment made me feel like I can accomplish anything. –program participant

Participation in Adult Learn to Ride is free of charge and upon completion of the classes, students receive a refurbished bicycle. This year we gave away 350 bikes, along with locks, helmets, and sets of lights.

“Once I get a little bit more comfortable on the bike, I have a bunch of stuff right in my backyard, so it won’t take much for me to start replacing car trips with a bike ride.” –program participant

This year we supported 39 open shops at Minneapolis bike shops Camden Cycles and The Hub Bike Co-op. Open shops are a drop-in event for folks to work on their own bike and borrow tools with guidance from a mechanic. They are a great opportunity to get to know your own bike and how to keep it rolling safely and efficiently.

How many languages can you say “bike” in? We are grateful to be able to work with multi-lingual class assistants and interpreters to make the program accessible to speakers of many different languages. Check out this CBS News story on our Spanish Adult Learn to Ride class in Richfield this summer. Our Bicycling Handbook can be downloaded here in Spanish, Hmong, and English.

Pictured here is our amazing board member Reyna Lopez teaching a bike safety class in Spanish, at Kaposia Landing in South St. Paul. We teach every participant how to ride safely on roads and trails before helping them pick out a bike. After this lesson, we went on a celebratory bike ride along the Mississippi River.

“This last weekend I took my longest bike ride yet of close to 10 miles. Feeling my skills continue to improve each time I ride feels incredible and it would not have been possible without your program, thank you!” -program participant

This summer we purchased a bike trailer, after feeling inspired to bike with all our supplies to Car-Free MSP, our local celebration of World Car-Free Day. Now we can haul our tabling and pop-up bike repair kit with pedal power! For longer trips, we’ve opted to connect the trailer to our office e-bike. We look forward to finding more opportunities to choose biking over driving in the coming year.

BikeMN staff members traveled to 10 different community fairs, events, and sites like Saint Paul Public Housing to do free pop-up bike repair in 2023. Sometimes all it takes is a quick fix like a brake adjustment or tube replacement to get someone out and enjoying their bike again!

At the end of our season, we gathered for a pizza party and silly games. We’re so thankful for everyone who made this program possible this year–our partner organizations, volunteers, donors, and especially all of our amazing students. We look forward to helping more new riders find their pedals in 2024!

Interested in taking a class? Sign up for Adult Learn to Ride class updates here.

We’re always looking for class assistants! Sign up here to volunteer for the program.