'Bike Week' activities focus on participation, safety

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It's Bike Week in Minnesota – an opportunity to encourage more residents to hop on a bicycle for fun, exercise or commuting.

Several communities are sponsoring events for the week.

Bike Week activities

Hennepin County is sponsoring a "commuter challenge" on Tuesday, which will feature Commissioner Marion Greene using her bike and the light rail to race other commuters by bike, train or car from Target Field station to Minnehaha Park, as a way to highlight various commuting options

It also includes a free group bike ride. Both events start at 5:30 p.m. at Target Field Station.

Friday is "Bike to Work Day," which encourages people to bicycle to and from work that day. Veteran bike commuters will help newcomers by leading groups and providing tips. Find out more here.

In St. Paul, that city's Bicycle Coalition is hosting a commuter breakfast kickoff for Bike to Work Day on Friday morning at the Union Depot. Information about other events taking place in St. Paul this week is available here.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has installed 31 new bicycle tune-up stations in state parks and on state trails. The stations have basic bike maintenance tools, including air pumps. Here's a map showing where the tune-up stations are.

“These stations are a convenient new amenity on our trails,” says Andrew Korsberg, DNR state trail program coordinator, in a news release from the agency. “They make it easy to pump up tires or do some light maintenance on your bike while out on a ride.”

The stations were purchased as part of the Pedal Minnesota initiative, which strives to make Minnesota a more bike-friendly state.

Most of the stations were paid for with a grant from the Federal Recreational Trails Program and matching state funds.

The DNR has more information on biking in Minnesota’s state parks and on state trails on its biking website.

Bicycle safety

Bike Week is also a chance to reinforce the rules of the road and encourage safety.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports close to 800 people die in bike accidents each year and more than 500,000 are injured seriously enough to go to a hospital emergency room.

Police departments in several communities are sponsoring bike safety activities.

And police in Chatfield are giving away free tickets for free DQ ice cream cones to children who are wearing their bike helmets. according to KTTC.

It can sometimes be tricky to adjust a bike helmet so it fits properly and provides adequate protection for riders. Tips on how to do that are available from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Find more bike safety tips on the DNR biking website.

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