This is the first in what I hope is an ongoing series on bicycle friendly businesses in Minneapolis. Some businesses go out of their way to make themselves open, welcoming places for bicyclists. They deserve our praise - and our business.
First up: the Birchwood Cafe.
In addition to serving local, sustainable and very tasty food, the Birchwood has embraced bicycling like few non-bike-related businesses I've seen. There's a Birchwood Bike Team. And where too many businesses treat bicycle parking as an afterthought, bike racks are right out front at the Birchwood. And when they outgrew the racks they had installed in the boulevard, they pushed for the city's first-ever on-street bicycle parking.
What was once a parking space for one solitary car now holds more than a dozen bikes. And not only did the Birchwood have to pay for this installation - and pay to have it removed every winter, so that it isn't destroyed by snow plows - they had to fight pretty tenaciously to convince the City to allow it.
Now that this has been tried somewhere in the city, it will be much easier for the next business that wants to surrender an auto parking space to create new spaces for bikes. That sort of trailblazing is absolutely essential - someone has to volunteer to work out those first-time kinks.
As if that wasn't enough, the Birchwood sought - and helped pay for - a Nice Ride kiosk, also on-street.
This spot wasn't on Nice Ride's list of locations for the first year. This kiosk is only here because the Birchwood made it happen. As someone who lives around here, I can tell you that this isn't just an amenity for the Birchwood, and its staff and customers. When I take transit to work because it's raining in the morning, I know that I can hop a Nice Ride to get within easy walking distance of my house, all thanks to a certain bike friendly neighborhood business.
So - what about you? Any bike friendly businesses is your neighborhood?