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Bike Walk Leadership Network Webinar Recap: August 2021

Bike to the Future: Retro Events, Art, and Bikes in Holdingford

BikeMN held the August Bike Walk Leadership Network Webinar yesterday. The network connects local leaders to share stories and ideas about how to best uplift biking and walking in their respective communities. You can watch the full replay here and subscribe to our YouTube channel so you don’t miss any biking or walking updates from BikeMN!

This month’s webinar highlighted the community of Holdingford Minnesota with both speakers working directly to merge the worlds of art, bikes, and community.

Our first speaker was Kurt Franke, who currently serves on the Board for the Cycling Museum of Minnesota and has served on a variety of bicycle and transportation advisory committees. Kurt is a retired firefighter who uses his bike daily for transportation and is a League Cycling Instructor. Kurt said he was interested in joining the Cycling Museum of Minnesota’s Board after reading their mission and vision statements, he was particularly drawn to the message of how transformative bicycling and bicycles are.

The Cycling Museum of Minnesta is a hub for unlocking the transformative role of bicycles.
Through our work, people will better understand the foundational and continual influence of cycling and cyclists on our past, present and future.

Kurt mentioned when people think of museums, they often think of static displays but the Cycling Museum of Minnesota shows the machine, the people who use the machine, and how they can transform each other. “It’s the beauty of the machine itself, how people transform bikes and how bikes transform us,” he said. The Cycling Museum of Minnesota started in 2014 after avid bike collector Justin Anderson had a display of his old bikes at the Minnesota State Fair in 2013.

Today the Cycling Museum of Minnesota welcomes you with a large red door and a wonderful welcome banner. Inside, Kurt says the bike racks do a better job storing than displaying some of the bikes, and navigating the newer space is tricky. The Museum has fantastic bikes displayed that transport goers through history.

Another element that drew Kurt to the Cycling Museum of Minnesota was their Spokes People series, which highlighted a full range of cycling and cycling interest with speakers. Spokes People covers something for everyone – from high school mountain biking to building specialty bicycles to cycling clothing for women through the ages, to how the bicycle helped democratize and revolutionize transportation for everyone. These talks have been held in the beautiful amphitheater at St. Marks cathedral, Perennial Cycle, and Art in Motion at Lake Wobegon Trail most recently.

The Cycling Museum of Minnesota has done a variety of initiatives to connect people, bikes and the art of biking including the Bring Your Own Bike (BYOB) events held in the parking lot. A welcoming invitation for people to bring their old or new bike and share a slice of history about it or what they like about it.

Another event the CMM holds is the LifeCYCLE Exhibit. A commissioned artist Nancy Musiguzy took photos of eleven people who exemplified a breadth of cycling histories, identities, and associations. The exhibit was held at the Hennepin History Museum near the MIA for three months and was extended for another three months.

A LifeCYCLE exhibit discussion

When Kurt joined the Board a few years ago, he was the only outstate member and wanted to celebrate the second M of the Cycling Museum of Minnesota – Minnesota – saying, “it’s easy to look at where we ride or bike every day but there is a statewide kind of beauty to it.” That effort was followed through on when the Cycling Museum of Minnesota was hosted by Art in Motion in Holdingford last season.

The Cycling Museum of Minnesota encourages cycling in a variety of ways, tabling at events like the Minneapolis Institute of Art Bike Night, NorthernSpark, and hosting a MixCloud “No Off Season” playlist, and developing coloring pages in an effort to stay relevant throughout the pandemic. Fundraising events take place every year, so be on the lookout for that! Follow the Cycling Museum of Minnesota for the latest and greatest from them on social media.

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Our next speaker was Lily Brutger, the Art and Events Coordinator for Art in Motion on the Lake Wobegon Trail. Art in Motion is a gallery cafe space that serves cafe foods, beer, and ice cream and is located on over 20 acres of land with pollinator plants, a fine art gallery, a labyrinth in progress, and is right off the Lake Wobegon Trail. It encourages a healthy lifestyle through movement, food, art, and connection. Art in Motion opened in 2020, closed due to the pandemic, and reopened again with gusto earlier this year. Located right on the Lake Wobegon Trail, they are half a mile north of the Holdingford trailhead. The building was made for people using the trail to encourage the use of the trail and connectivity and creativity. Greg Konsor created this concept and dreamed up this concept for his hometown.

Art in Motion was designed with connection as a core theme, a true challenge during the pandemic, but luckily there is plenty of outdoor space. One of the focal points of Art in Motion is the gallery space that Lily manages. Galleries, as Greg has mentioned, can have a reputation for being stuffy or inaccessible for non-art-minded people. This gallery, Lily said, meets people where they are, with an open space that draws people in with coffee and space to roam and relax. An open concept that blurs the line between the outdoors and a gallery through large windows and natural lighting, the gallery itself encourages people to slow down, stay awhile, and connect.

Greg’s vision for Art in Motion was about what art can be for people, and as a foodie, environmentalist, bike rider, and art lover Lily shared this vision. It expresses the synergy between all of those things. During their closed period, Art in Motion thought about what they could do for 2021 and landed on highlighting how fun biking can be and how to use biking to explore art. The project aimed to showcase the beauty of bikes and the diversity of people who bike – that it isn’t just white men on trails who like to bike fast, “everyone has fun on bikes, but there’s a point in life where it can be intimidating to claim that identity as your own,” Lily said.

A bike from the Cycling Museum of Minnesota displayed in the Art in Motion cafe.

The Cycling Museum of Minnesota and Art in Motion partnered in multiple ways, displaying bikes in the cafe and hosting a retro ride and BYOB event as well as presentations like the Spokes Person talks. The Cycling Museum of Minnesota provided bikes to display above the cafe, and Art in Motion helped host rides out in Holdingford and hosted a retro ride and BYOB event, as well as some presentations. The CentraCare Bike Fleet was also a key tool in creating more accessibility for those who don’t have a bike or cannot easily access the trail. Lily was able to host two field trips using her Walk Bike Fun Ambassador training with the local middle and high school and taught them how to do an ABC quick check. The middle schoolers were given the assignment to define their own bike identity.

Students and community members also created pinwheels in memoriam for cyclists killed in 2018 – 857 in total. “As joyful and happy as the pinwheels and butterflies look it is a haunting visualization of the number of cyclists killed on the roads,” Lily said of the exhibit. For her, it drove home the importance of ensuring bicyclists are seen on the road and are able to claim the identity of a cyclist to advocate for safer roads. The bike fleet, art exhibit, and programming all pushed this goal forward.

During Bike Week, Art in Motion held an event called the Retro Ride, a vintage bike show and trail ride highlighting bikes old and new and the joy of biking. It was “a fun nerdy Saturday,” connecting with others and talking about old bikes, discussing the use of bikes for transportation, fun, and expression.

Overall, Bike Week was a success and was a great tool for learning how and what Art in Motion can do better next year for biking in general. They would like to expand on bike fleet usage and can do more outreach to the rural communities. Expand upon the retro ride and room to grow, continue to change the diversity of the image of the biker through the programming and art, and encourage empowered, safe, and seen riders. “Overall, Art in Motion wants to encourage slow living, care, and the childlike joy of biking.”

Ride with Art in Motion!

Art in Motion on the Lake Wobegon Trail

IG @artinmotionlakewobegon

Art in Motion on the Lake Wobegon
1400 4th Street,
Holdingford, MN