Living Green 365: Life on a bike

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Living Green 365

Life on a bike

Biking is a wonderful addition to any day, bringing health and well-being to every rider. So why does it feel so difficult sometimes

One of my recent barriers was the juggling act required to load my small son into our child trailer. I had no kick stand, so as I loaded I had to balance my bike along a wall or pole. My bike was always tipping over and rolling away. I danced this dance for two years, but finally bought a kick stand two weeks ago. Now? No wobbling! No rolling! It removed a major annoyance for me and it feels great.

Below are four stories of Minnesotans who live life on a bike. I hope they inspire you and give you new ideas for making a bike a bigger part of your life. For some more basic start-up help, check out: 

Using a two-wheeled minivan


For mother of two, Amber Dallman, the cargo bike she uses to transport her children around town has become the family minvan. Both of her small children are able to fit in the cargo area of the bike along with a variety of items needed for the ride. Amber's cargo bike includes the essentials such as sunscreen for sunny days, blankets for cooler days, and snacks for long rides. 

According Amber, biking with her kids gives her time to enjoy things that she wouldn't notice if she were driving. Whether it is playing "I spy" with her kids during the rides while running errands, or enjoying the music her kids make with the variety of noisemakers kept in the bike's cargo area.

Getting married on bikes


Lisa and her husband first met on a bike ride, and have continued to enjoy biking together in the years since then. That's why when the wedding day started to approach, it only made sense to make bikes and biking a central part of it. Lisa customized everything from the "wedding bikes" to the bike reflectors given out as wedding favors, and even the wedding cake included a biking-themed cake topper.

Lisa and her now-husband led the wedding procession consisting of about 40 riders all with decorated bikes on a ride through Como Park. The ride ended with the wedding ceremony and a reception.

Commuting without a car (ever)


Melissa Wenzel went car-free in 2008. She cruises to work at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency on her electric-assist bike. Electric bikes have a small motor that can either power the bike on its own or assist your pedaling to ensure that you arrive to work without sweating like you might on a conventional bike. 

For Melissa, a fleixble start time is an important part of her daily routine. It lets her avoid storms and rain that coincide with her morning commute. She bikes to restaurants, the movie theater, and work meetings. She only takes the bus when the roads are too snowy or icy. She recommends following the rules of the road to be safe; stop at every stop sign and stop light, signal your turn, and make eye contact with automobile drivers. Melissa loves being car-free!

Doing business on bike


Over 10 years ago, Stacey Achterhoff first dreamt of vending by tricycle. Today, that dream is a reality as she bikes around Duluth as "Mrs. Delicious" selling ice cream treats on her Icicle Tricycle. These bikes can be used for food vending, samples, farmers markets and other food businesses. But there's something special about Stacey's Icicle Tricycle because it allows for people to enjoy a treat and share a story, all while bringing a smile to their faces. Stacey's business-on-wheels is all about slowing down, and spreading a little whimsy and joy...over dessert! 

Community events and resources

Join the Friends of the Mississippi River for a make and take rain barrel workshop, September 25, 6 p.m., Lakeville Area Arts Center. 

The Minnesota Renewable Energy Society hosts a free Minnesota Solar Tour featuring 50+ exemplary homes, businesses, and institutions that have incorporated renewable energy into the design and operation of their buildings, October 4, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., state-wide locations. 

Encourage exercise and better learning for your children by participating in International Walk to School Day, October 8. 

Continue your commitment to biking every day by meeting other bikers! Find biking events year round on the Pedal Minnesota calendar

A note from Britt

Hello faithful readers! As the staff person in charge of the Living Green 365 e-newsletter since 2008, I've had a blast researching new topics and sharing what I've learned with you. Like you, I'm trying to find ways to live my life that are in line with my values, including my desire to keep our air, water, and land as clean as possible. I hope this newsletter has been a help to you in your journey.

Starting in October, my work at the MPCA will be shifting to other outreach activities. This newsletter will be  transitioned into the capable hands of Erin Barnes-Driscoll, a fellow MPCA staff member.

As always, please send questions or comments about living green to the address below and we'll get back to you with any help we can provide.


Britt Gangeness, Erin Barnes-Driscoll and the Living Green Team