This past Saturday, Dorian, and Maya with BikeMN, and Tammy, a League Cycling Instructor, bike rider, and invaluable volunteer with BikeMN headed to Brooklyn Center for the Hmong Community Day celebrating Centennial Park. Together, we set up our tent, laid out resources for wayfinding, BikeMN programs, and stickers, patched a tire, and put air in our strider bikes – we were ready to encourage people to bike, talk with them about our upcoming adult learn to ride programming in Brooklyn Center (and several other Metro locations), and let them try out an adult size Strider bike! A great team of organizations with amazing resources turned out for better biking that day. Hennepin Health, Bici Xicas who were featured on a Bike Walk Leadership Network Webinar, and Three Rivers Parks District – all offering resources, tune-ups, and bike rentals for free – were set up near us in the parking lot.
Our first two visitors were a couple looking to teach one partner how to ride. We started them both off on the strider bikes, which is a training tool without working pedals that introduces the balancing element of riding a bike. It is ridden like a scooter, using your legs to propel yourself around the parking lot. From there, we saw a few more families, and a group of children who had their day made after renting out bikes and helmets for the day from Three Rivers Park Districts, and came close to helping one child ride a bike without training wheels! There were also a couple of moms that did not know how to ride but were interested in learning so they could ride with their kids when they started riding.
Despite the air quality last weekend, Celebrate Your Parks saw over 200 people explore their parks, eat good food, access resources, and enjoy time outside! Hennepin County Commissioners Irene Fernando and Jeff Lunde, as well as Metropolitan Council Member Riva Chamblis attended and talked with families and organizations. BikeMN was able to talk with organizations doing amazing work for better biking and walking throughout Minnesota, and help families experience biking or find other resources for their schools, children, community, and more.
BikeMN’s Adult Learn to Ride program, to be formally launched this fall, will help adults of all abilities and familiarity with bike riding learn to ride or become more comfortable riding a bike. We were lucky enough to take on the Cycles 4 Change Adult Learn to Ride program through grant funding and will be returning to Brooklyn Center and other Metro inner-ring suburbs with a need for Learn to Ride initiatives. Our experience at Hmong Community Day reinforces the importance learning to ride a bike can hold for families and children. Biking is an empowering, fun, healthy, and great way to move through your community, it’s a family activity and a way to get to work or school. BikeMN has been steadily working to develop resources for non-English and English as a second language speakers, including our Walk Bike Fun at Home resources which can be found on our website in Hmong, Somali, Spanish, and English.