City of Grand Marais named a Bronze Bicycle Friendly Community

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Grand Marais, MN – Congratulations are in order for the City of Grand Marais after being named a Bronze Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists. After a rigorous application process, Grand Marais joins a select group of communities committed to improving conditions for bicycling through investment in bicycling promotion, education programs, infrastructure and pro-bicycling policies. The City of Grand Marais will now be one of ten Bicycle Friendly Communities in Minnesota and the second smallest Bicycle Friendly Community in the nation.

"Grand Marais is playing a critical part in creating a truly Bicycle Friendly America," said Andy Clarke, President of the League of American Bicyclists. "We know Grand Marais’ investment in bicycling will be returned many times over in the health, environmental, and quality of life benefits of a thriving community.”

For the past two years the Active Living Steering Committee has worked to promote its mission of “more people, more active, more often”. With support from the State Health Improvement Program (SHIP), this committee and its partner organizations have offered bicyclist classes (Traffic Skills 101 and Bikes Basics for Babes), put on the annual Bike Rodeo, installed bike racks in downtown Grand Marais, and coordinated the Move It In May program. Much of this work played an important role in Grand Marais being designated a Bronze level Bicyclist Friendly Community, as well as other local assets including the Gitchi Gami State Trail and local League cycling instructors, Mark Spinler and Jerry Hiniker. Cook County is home to the only cycling instructors in northeastern Minnesota, outside of Duluth, who bring more bicycling knowledge, experience, and educational opportunities to the area. Bicycling is a healthy physical activity that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and levels of fitness. Today, the League of American Bicyclists and communities across the country have realized that bicycling isn’t just for the serious spandex wearing cyclists and are working to make bicycling accessible for all.

“It is great that we have been recognized for our effort, but we still have a long way to go and much to accomplish,” said Tim Kennedy, Grand Marais City Council representative on the Active Living Steering Committee. Grand Marais and Cook County have reached a point where there are opportunities for moving beyond education and bicycling promotion to start addressing infrastructure and policy needs that will make bicycling safer and more accessible. Moving Matters, a new project of the Sawtooth Mountain Clinic, is spearheading these efforts, to create safe and accessible walking and biking routes for all people.

To learn more about building a Bicycle Friendly America, visit http://www.bikeleague.org/programs/bicyclefriendlyamerica

Contact: Kristin DeArruda Wharton, Active Living Steering Committee Coordinator 218-387-2330 x150 Kristin@sawtoothmountainclinic.org