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The Annual MN Bike/Walk Awards

Minnesota is one of the most bicycle-friendly states in the country. Even though we have the hard work of hundreds of individuals and organizations to thank for this, each year BikeMN strives to recognize a few particular people who have gone the extra mile to make Minnesota a place where bicycling is easy, safe, and fun for everyone.

BikeMN is striving to engage and empower advocates within both urban and rural communities with health, racial, socioeconomic, and safety disparities via these awards. Youth, women, people with disabilities, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, immigrants and people of color are encouraged to nominate themselves or individuals/organizations that make Minnesota a better place to bike, walk and roll. All are welcome.

We host the MN Bike/Walk Awards annually. We currently are recognizing outstanding groups and bike-friendly people in these award areas:

  • Educator of the year (individual)
  • Educator of the year (school or organization)
  • Advocate of the year (group or individual)
  • Bicycle/Walk Friendly Community Champion (individual, group or committee)
  • Bicycle/Walk Friendly Business Champion (individual, group or committee)
  • Lifetime Service Award

Keep reading to learn more about all of our winners from years past.

2023 MN Bike Award Winners

Tom Engstrom and Family

Zach Jones of Longfellow Elementary in Rochester MN

Reyna Lopez

Bone Saw Cycling Collective

Bike and Walk Friendly Business Winner Thrivent Financial

Jeff Sanders and Mpls Public Schools Students

Lifetime Service Award Tom Engstrom of Mankato.

More about Tom

Tom was part of the group that help started the Mankato River Ramble. In 2023 the Ramble celebrated the 13th annual ride where 1000+ riders come to the area in October. Tom also is active on the Greater Mankato Bike Walk Advocates board and helps with the bike fleets in teaching kids how to ride and also helps in advocacy in our community. Tom is a great voice of bicycling ideas no matter where he goes, a bike is right beside him.  How have they built equity into their work?Tom, being a community leader, has connected the community in having the Mankato River Ramble. The community has since this ride as a staple to our area and enjoy sharing in the joy when 1000+ riders come to the area to witness and experience what the Mankato area has to offer for bike riding. Tom’s connection with the local community has built the ride to what it is today – celebrated the 13th annual ride in 2023. Thanks Tom for  all you do!

Educator of the Year (Individual): Jeff Sanders of Mpls Public Schools

More about Jeff

Jeff Sanders is an inspiring champion of bike education whose work has impacted the lives of thousands of children and their families. A veteran physical education Minneapolis Public Schools teacher, he says that biking with students has re-energized his classroom. He has brought a vision of EVERY kid in every grade on bike to his South Minneapolis school Sullivan, which serves students in grades kindergarten through eight. To that end, he has filled his gym with bicycles in every size – from little trikes, to adaptive bikes, to sleek mountain bikes with hydraulic breaks – and everything in between. Most of the bicycle and related equipment he has he received through multiple grants, which he wrote and managed in his own time, (he is a fulltime teacher, after all).  He has forged internal partnerships – with Culinary & Wellness Services (my department), the GEMS and GISE program, MPS Evaluation and more. He has built relationship with external partners such as FB4K, the local firefighter unit, Twin Cities Adaptive Cycling, and Outride – all in service of bringing the joy, the freedom, and the power of riding a bicycle every student at his school.   His school-day, classroom bike efforts are impressive – but he doesn’t stop there. He has brought biking education to students through after school and summer programs too. He organizes a family bike night at his school, where some new immigrant families had their first biking experience. He helped bring a Let’s Roll MPS to his school. This is a district group bicycle ride that had about three hundred riders riding together on the streets and trails near Sullivan School this October.  His bike safety education work not only benefits his students but the larger Minneapolis Public Schools bike community too. He has created a school-day middle school biking class and program at his school. He is now sharing his program, procedures, and learning so that the bike safety education program he developed can be replicated at other MPS schools.   He has mentored other teachers in bike education and created and shared his bike education resources widely. He was integral to bringing a BikeMn Walk!Bike!Fun! training to his school building in March of 2023. You all must know him and see his passion for children and bicycles and his willingness to share all he has and knows. I’m sure you used his bicycles for the training – and they were a big help and time saver. That is the kind of person he is. Humble and quick to help – never asking for anything (even recognition) in return. If BikeMN chooses Mr. Jeff as the bike educator of the year, I can guarantee BikeMN will get more from the exchange then they will give.

Educator of the Year (School): Longfellow Elementary Rochester Public Schools

More about Longfellow Elementary and Zach Jones

Mr. Jones deserves an award for being the leading teacher of bike education in Rochester Public Schools. Zach’s biking program is extremely well thought out, intentional, and most of all inclusive.  Zach’s been able to reform his biking unit to not only include capable riders, but utilize staff and volunteers to teach those students that cannot ride.  Zach includes a fully developed program that teaches students the ABC’s of biking, balance, road biking, signs, obstacle course, and trail rides.  Principal Amy Adams goes above and beyond for her students by not only being fully supportive of the program, but also biking with her students as an adult leader on most rides.  The students who are learning to ride are the most excited to show her, and the other staff how much improvement that they make.  The enthusiasm that Amy shows to her students shines, and really lifts the spirits of those students.

Advocate of the Year: Reyna Lopez

More about Reyna

Reyna works tirelessly everyday to ensure every person in Minnesota can get closer to cycling, ensuring that they can do so safely. She is a peoples’ person, working with passion to get people in her community closer to biking. Reyna is a charismatic, knowledgeable, and approachable advocate for cycling. She works everyday to ensure both people from the Latin community, as well as everyone living in Minnesota can get more into cycling.

Bicycle/Walk Friendly Community Champion: Bone Saw Cycling Collective

More about Bone Saw Cycling Collective

This group of individuals has been working hard for a number of years to lower the barrier of accessibility in cycling in the twin cities local communities. In 2023 specifically they led a successful summer group ride series that was open to the public and was extremely welcoming to any rider that showed up to join.  The rides were no drop with dedicated marshals, leader, and sweeps and the pace was kept to a speed that nobody felt out of place being there.  There was over 1200 riders that joined the rides in 2023!  In addition, BSCC partnered with the Filthy 50 gravel cycling event to offer a scholarship opportunity that was open to any self identifying marginalized bike rider to apply to from the public.  The scholarship offered free entry into the event, free transportation to and from, free lodging at the event, a clinic to learn about gravel cycling, equipment to use for the event, and a free dinner with Bone Saw while in Lanesboro.  I can’ think of another group that has done more hours in 2023 volunteering, leading group rides, putting together scholarship opportunities, or throwing events than BSCC.

Bicycle/Walk Friendly Business Champion: Thrivent Financial

More about Thrivent Financial

Thrivent Financial is a Bronze Level Bicycle Friendly Business via the League of American Bicyclists Bicycle Friendly America program. They have been a valued partner with fellow advocates and strive to continue to improve their bike friendliness for their employees and clients.

2021 MN Bike Award Winners

We were proud to present Lifetime Service Award to Jack Broz of Richfield.

Jack Broz had a 40+ year career in transportation engineering in Illinois and Minnesota. As a consultant, and as the Richfield city engineer he led and designed dozens of innovative and award winning multi-modal transportation projects for clients across the United States. Jack has also trained dozens of engineers and planners from the public and private sectors in Complete Streets design and public engagement. He also led the implementation of the Richfield’s Bicycle Master Plan and development and implementation of the City’s Pedestrian Master Plan. Throughout his career, Jack has served as a valued mentor, teacher, and friend to many, many people and his innovations will continue to influence transportation design and planning throughout the region.

2019 MN Bike Award Winners

It was such a pleasure to present Lifetime Service Award to Louis Moore of Minneapolis in 2019. The other awardees were: 

  • Advocate of the Year (Individual): Barbara Beck of We Bike Rochester
  • Advocate of the Year (Organization): Minneapolis Bike Parks
  • Bicycle Friendly Community Champion: Friends of the Jackson County Trails
  • Educator of the Year: Safe Kids Coalition of NE Minnesota
  • Bicycle Friendly Business Champion: Bike Friendly Walker

2018 MN Bike Award Winners

We were honored to present Lifetime Service Award to Richard Keir of Mankato in 2018. The other awardees were: 

  • Advocate of the Year: Aaron Hautala of Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Crew in Crosby
  • Bicycle Friendly Community Champion: Maren Webb of Sawtooth Mountain Clinic in Grand Marais (pictured, right)
  • Educator of the Year (Organization): Rochester Public Schools School Age Child Care in Rochester
  • Educator of the Year (Individual): Susan Ericksen of Susan Lindgren Elementary School in St. Louis Park
  • Bicycle Friendly Business Champion: 3M Bicycle Users Group of Maplewood

2017 MN Bike Award Winners

Our inaugural Lifetime Service Award was given to Rep. Phyllis Kahn of Minneapolis in 2017. Read a profile of Phyllis Kahn and learn about her long career making Minnesota better for bicyclists. The other awardees were:

  • Advocate of the Year: Jenny Van Sickle of Community Action Duluth in Duluth (pictured, right)
  • Bicycle Friendly Community Champion: Patrick Stephenson of 30 Days of Biking in Minneapolis
  • Educator of the Year (Organization): Austin Hauf and PartnerSHIP 4 Health in West Central Minnesota
  • Educator of the Year (Individual): Martha Flynn of the Minnesota High School Cycling League of Saint Paul
  • Bicycle Friendly Business Champion: Peace Coffee of Minneapolis

2016 MN Bike Award Winners

Congratulations to all of 2016 awardees!

  • Advocates of the Year: Annie Van Cleve and Tony Desnick of the Winter Cycling Congress Twin Cities
  • Bicycle Friendly Community Champion: Wayne Hurley of Pedal Fergus Falls in Fergus Falls
  • Educator of the Year (Organization): Minneapolis Public Schools Safe Routes to School
  • Educator of the Year (Individual): Adam Cooke of Prairie View Elementary School in Eden Prairie
  • Bicycle Friendly Business Champion: People’s Food Co-Op of Rochester (pictured, right)

2015 MN Bike Award Winners

The inaugural MN Bike Awards were hosted by Hubert H. Humphrey III. 


  • Advocate of the Year: Women on Bikes Saint Paul
  • Bicycle Friendly Community Champion: Greater Mankato Bike & Walk Advocates in Mankato
  • Educator of the Year (Organization): Brooklyn Center Secondary School in Brooklyn Center
  • Educator of the Year (Individual): Peter Connor of Owatonna (pictured, right)
  • Bicycle Friendly Business Champion: Shawna Mullen of Zeitgeist Arts in Duluth