by Russ Lowthian, HaveFunBiking
As more Minnesotans search for fun, eco-friendly transportation options, several communities around the state are updating or developing their bike share infrastructure to make micro-mobility happen. Apple Valley, Bemidji, Duluth, Rochester, and St. Cloud are just a few examples of the towns upgrading their bike-friendly programs. Minneapolis is collaborating with neighboring communities to make the Twin Cities area the perfect place to practice micro-mobility. Especially with the E-bike Challenge and the global initiative of 30-Days of Biking returning.
30 Days of Biking works with E-bike Challenge for micro-mobility
Encouraging more people to consider riding a bicycle, especially for short errands, the 30-Days of Biking pledge runs through April. With the E-bike Challenge back at the Minneapolis Convention Center on April 2nd & 3rd. This year’s event will again offer visitors a comfortable setting to compare and ride the latest in e-bike technology on a mammoth test track there. Demonstrating carbon-free options for running those short errands, hauling cargo, or commuting to work without working up a sweat. So, what exactly is micro-mobility, you ask?
The term micro-mobility broadly refers to individuals who use any type of human-powered vehicle, including bicycles, roller blades, scooters, etc. And now, with the rise of EV technology, the definition has evolved, accepting electric motor assistance for bicycles and scooters. Though it still excludes devices with internal combustion engines or top speeds above 28 mph. or 45 km. Making this mode of transportation perfect for health and ecological purposes.
About the Minneapolis Transportation Action Plan
According to Minneapolis and their Transportation Action Plan, over 30% of the trips people take in the city are less than three miles. Sometimes these trips feel a little too far to walk but are not long enough where it is practical to take the bus or drive. Bicycles and other low-power micro-mobility options, such as electric-assist bicycles and scooters, are ideal for these short trips. This MPLS plan also shares that over two-thirds of residents report that they often or sometimes ride a bike to get to school, visit parks, or run errands.
Minneapolis’s commitment attracts European bicycle fair organizer
And Move Minneapolis says, “With the popularity of e-bikes soaring, they are some of the best sustainable commute solutions today. Bicycles, including e-bikes, allow for adequate social distancing and provide a great way to travel while taking in some much-needed fresh air.” This commitment from the city’s leaders is what attracted Hicle, Inc., the organizers of hike and cycle fairs in Europe, to bring the first E-bike Challenge to Minneapolis in 2019.
E-bike Challenge returns the first weekend in April
Now, with the Omicron-fueled surge, on the decline, the E-bike Challenge returns the first weekend in April. Offer consumers a comfortable environment to compare and ride the latest e-bikes. There are several social distancing procedures around the exhibit area next to the enormous indoor test track. Visitors will also discover why most trips within a 10-mile range can be less expensive with an e-assist vehicle, even if they can’t replace a car entirely. And, in many cases, taking less time than a carbon-fueled vehicle for the same journey.
E-bike brands at the Challenge
Some e-bike brands already registered for the E-bike Challenge include Giant, GoCycle, Serial 1 by Harley Davidson, Pedego, Riese & Muller, and Skyl Power Bikes. Along with Erik’s Bikes, Now Bikes, Power Bikes, and Trailhead Cycle, to name a few of the local bike shops with brands they carry. The event will also feature several breakout health and tech sessions, a kids’ bike test track, and other fun family activities. Plus, visitors will receive a complimentary 2022 Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide, full of bicycling maps of popular Minnesota destinations to explore, at the door.
For more information about the E-bike Challenge in Minneapolis on April 2 & 3, visit www.ebikechallenge.com.