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National African-American bicyclist group gives Twin Cities paths a spin

When the National Brotherhood of Cyclists finally held a long-discussed "summit" of African-American bicycling groups from around the country, they chose to come to the Twin Cities. And while here last weekend, they held the Twin Cities Urban Bicycle Festival, believed to be the nation's first African-American-themed bike fest, as part of St. Paul's Rondo Days.

The Brotherhood is the national organization of Major Taylor bicycle clubs--named for the 19th century Indiana man who was cycling's first African-American world champion. The bike summit drew cyclists from Major Taylor clubs in Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Milwaukee, Nashville, Oakland, and Columbus, Ohio, according to Louis Moore of Minneapolis, president of the Major Taylor Bicycling Club of Minnesota.

All knew that Bicycling magazine had recently named Minneapolis the country's best bike city, Moore says. And most had heard of the Midtown Greenway bicycle and pedestrian route that crosses Minneapolis. On a 40-mile group ride starting in St. Paul, the Greenway's Martin Olav Sabo Bridge was one of the highlights--particularly for Moore, who was an aide in former U.S. Rep. Sabo's district office for 20 years.

"I was his bicycle man," says Moore of his years pushing bike projects for Sabo's Minneapolis district. "I taught him how to sit on a bike." (Growing up on a farm didn't leave Sabo time for biking, Moore explains.)

Are the Twin Cities' predominantly African-American neighborhoods underserved by bike facilities? Yes, says Moore. North Minneapolis, for example, has few bike routes, with more planned but not funded. Moore says that's due to the work of vocal advocates from other parts of town, adding that the North Side is slated to get a bike/walk center, funded in part with federal dollars, within two years.

Source: Louis Moore, Major Taylor Bicycling Club of Minnesota
Writer: Chris Steller
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