The following is a guest post by Brian Gioielli, the owner of Geno's Gelato. Look for Brian on his custom gelato bike at Open Streets Lyndale this Sunday!
Riding a bike is fun. Eating dessert is fun. If you had told me a couple of years ago that I would be able to create a sustainable business out of these 2 very simple ideas I might not have believed you. Yet here we are, exactly one year later, getting ready for Lyndale Open Streets on Sunday! I still find it hard to believe at times. Geno’s Gelato is a bike based business that sells locally made Italian ice, gelato, and cannoli. Think ice cream truck but without the engine, fewer wheels, and I tend to avoid the more hilly areas of town.
There is still much we have to learn, but after many many gallons of gelato and a few flat tires there are a couple of things we have gleaned about what it means to be a bike business in the Twin Cities.
Minneapolis is Made For Biking
Have you seen the news? Minneapolis is a GREAT place to ride a bike. Honestly I used to think that all the awards and recognition for being bike-friendly was great, but it didn’t really impact me. Now I’ve spent hundreds of miles riding in this city and let me tell you - the accolades are well deserved! I can get pretty much anywhere with ease on the Geno’s Gelato bike, and for those of you who have seen me riding that thing when it’s jam packed with tasty treats, then you know that’s an accomplishment. A business based by bike can only succeed in a place like Minneapolis which has the right infrastructure, along with the community organizations and political support to help it thrive.
The Twin Cities Bike Community is WONDERFUL
OMG. Where do I start?! Nice ride? Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition? Midtown Greenway Association? The list would go on for pages. Add in the bicycle shops, community organizers, bike friendly politicians and we could be approaching novel level. On top of all this - it’s a kind, inviting, inclusive and welcoming part of Twin Cities culture. Whether you enjoy a recreational ride, love to race, bike to commute or any of the dozens of options in between - there is a place for you in the Minneapolis biking community. There is a place for my very large, very slow dessert filled bicycle, a place for the very speedy and very delicious taco delivery Taco Cat bicycles, and there is a place for you.
Holy Cannoli Biking Is Healthy
The social, economic, and health benefits of biking are well documented and seriously this is one healthy activity. Do it for fun and get healthy! Or if you are like me, and working out is really low on the list of how you define “fun,” then find another way to bike. I’m telling you, it will dramatically change the way you feel.
I guess you could say that one of my biggest take-a-ways over the past 12 months is that my dream of bringing authentic Italian desserts to people by bike is realistic because I’m in Minneapolis. I’m in a city where the bike community is active, well-supported and thriving. I hope to see you at Open Streets on Lyndale Avenue this Sunday!