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Pioneer Editorial: Putting the pedal down. . . and up. . . and down

The forecast for this past weekend was not favorable, so it looked as if Mother Nature might rain on Bemidji’s bike parade.

But sunshine and clear skies held, and Bemidji celebrated all things cycling with several events. And really, nothing can damper Bemidji’s bike community.

While Duluth recently laid claim to being Outside magazine’s “best outdoors town,” there should be no doubt that Bemidji is the Bike Capital of Minnesota.

First up was the Loop the Lake Festival on Saturday. Organizers of the first-time event were hoping for about 250 riders. They surpassed it by more than 100. Like the first Blue Ox Marathon held this past fall, the Bemidji area is hungry for outdoor events and activities, and we will respond with participation. By all accounts, Saturday’s 17-mile bike ride around Lake Bemidji was greeted with eager pedalers who had a great time.

Next up was Sunday’s formal opening of the Nice Ride Bemidji bike-sharing program. Bemidji is the first city in outstate Minnesota to provide the service, which allows people to rent a bike at various locations in the city. Bikes can be rented for an hour, a day, a week, etc. The other two Minnesota Nice Ride cities are the Twin Cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis. That’s quite the distinction for Bemidji to be the first outstate pilot city for the program. Let’s hope the community, and visitors to the city, respond with enthusiasm for the project.

And if that wasn’t enough bike news, Shifting Gears in Bemidji recently obtained a “Fixit” bike repair station from Dero, a Minneapolis bike rack company, and the city installed it near the Bemidji Public Library, according to Shifting Gears’ Facebook page. The station provides a pump and other assorted tools that cyclists can use for free, 24 hours a day. Shifting Gears works to repair donated/broken bicycles and put them in the hands of eligible families and individuals in need.

After this long winter, we hope you take advantage of our summer months with a bike ride around the many trails in the Bemidji area.

You won’t be alone. That’s for sure.