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Pioneer Editorial: A bike path to success

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Wanting to expand its bike sharing program beyond the Twin Cities, the group Nice Ride Minnesota was looking for a community known for its outdoor activities and friendliness to the biking community.

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Bemidji?

Easy choice.

The Bemidji area has long been known for its outdoor activities, and not only for hunting, fishing and water sports, but also for biking, running, hiking, etc. Anything, really, that has to do with the outdoors and getting outside and staying active.

The outstanding response to last month’s first-ever Blue Ox Marathon is a perfect case in point.

So, it also makes perfect sense Nice Ride Minnesota would select Bemidji to showcase its program to those outside the metro area. In a nutshell, the program works like this: A stable of rental bikes are stored throughout the community; in Bemidji that could be the state park, the Sanford Center or possibly a downtown location. People then rent the bike, obtaining a key to unlock the bike at the rack. They then can turn in the bike at any of the specified share racks location in town. Nice Ride officials said its program would only help enhance existing bike rental opportunities, such as at Bemidji State University, in the community.

“We recognize Bemidji as a (bicycle-friendly) place,” Tony Desnick, director of greater Minnesota strategies for Nice Ride Minnesota, told reporter Bethany Wesley last week. “It’s a place that tourists can come to for a long weekend, not use their car, and still have a good experience.”

Earlier this year, local cycling enthusiasts met with state representatives of the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota to talk about how Bemidji can further enhance its reputation after receiving a bronze-level ranking by the national League of American Bicyclists.

Last week’s news about inclusion in the Nice Ride Minnesota program is definitely a pedal push in the right direction.

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