Cities, Bicycles and the Future of Getting Around

Share   |  Posted May. 21, 2010 by Bill Dossett

Nice Ride Minnesota Hosts "Cities, Bicycles and the Future of Getting Around", a forum featuring musician David Byrne, author Jay Walljasper, Mayor R.T. Rybak, and bike advocate Steve Clark

Cities, Bikes and the Future of Getting Around

David Byrne gets around. While touring in cities across the world, the Talking Heads front man brings a bike. His recent book, Bicycle Diaries, which one reviewer described as "part diary, part manifesto", chronicles these experiences. It captures a key reason bike share systems are thriving in cities across the globe–exploring a city by bike reveals amazing places and people.

Passion for biking and urban exploration is the reason that Nice Ride is so excited to host Cities, Bicycles, and the Future of Getting Around on June 17, beginning at 7pm, at the Uptown Theater. Byrne will join author Jay Walljasper; Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak; and Steve Clark, manager of the Twin Cities' Transit for Livable Communities Walking and Bicycling Program in a panel discussion.

The forum is part of the Policy and a Pint speaker series, a collaboration of The Citizens League and Minnesota Public Radio's 89.3. Tickets are $10, and go on sale June 1 at the Uptown Theater box office and at the Minneapolis Commuter Connection, 220 6th Street South. The ticket price includes one of Surly's finest brews.

Sponsors of the event include Bike Walk Twin Cities, Bryant Lake Bowl, Surly Brewing Co., and the Uptown Association. Signed copies of Bicycle Diaries will be available for purchase at the event via Magers & Quinn Booksellers.

Panel of Speakers:

David Byrne
David Byrne

David Byrne
David Byrne has been writing and performing music and directing video and film for more than 30 years. Former lead singer and guitar player for the innovative rock band Talking Heads, Byrne is also a passionate cycling advocate. His latest book, Bicycle Diaries (Viking, 2009) is an account of his urban bicycle odyssey through the streets of many of the world's major cities. Through photography and personal anecdotes, Byrne makes a strong case for the way a bicycle can change our view of the world and the city in which we live.

Steve Clark
Steve Clark

Steve Clark
Steve Clark, manager of Transit for Livable Communities' Walking and Bicycling Program, has spent much of his adult life promoting sustainable transportation. He co-founded the Minnesota Coalition of Bicyclists and directed the Minnesota Pedal Power Camp. From there, he became the first bicycle and pedestrian program manager in Boulder, Colorado. He also has worked as a planner for the Ice Age Park and Trail Foundation, public information director for the Land Stewardship Project, and served as the President of the League of American Bicyclists.

R.T. Rybak
R.T. Rybak

R.T. Rybak
Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak, first elected in 2001, is a lifelong Minneapolis resident and bicyclist who has been named America's fittest mayor. One of his top priorities has been reweaving the urban fabric and refashioning the way people get around the city. Under his leadership — and in close collaboration with a strong bike-advocacy community and support from the federal government — Minneapolis has been named the #1 bicycling city in America and ranks second nationally in bike commuting. He has advocated for bike sharing — culminating in the launch of Nice Ride — and for improvements such as the Midtown Greenway and ever-greater miles of street and off-street bikeways.

Jay Walljasper
Jay Walljasper

Jay Walljasper
Author and editor Jay Walljasper chronicles stories from around the world that point us toward a better and more enjoyable future. He covers a wide variety of topics, with particular specialties in community and urban issues, travel, sustainability, cultural commentary, and the commons. He is the author of The Great Neighborhood Book (2007) and All that We Share: A Field Guide to the Commons Today (Fall 2010). A Senior Fellow at Project for Public Spaces, editor of and contributing editor of National Geographic Traveler, he was formerly the editor at Utne Reader and executive editor at Ode magazine.


Steve Seel
Radio Host, 89.3 The Current

8 Previous comments:

(1) On June 1, 2010, Aaron Landry ( said:
Deffo want to attend this.
(2) On June 5, 2010, bike grrrl () said:
too bad it is all white men speaking. women, people of color, and the queer community have a much larger feat in trying to be included in the "future of getting around." perhaps the speakers could speak to this.
(3) On June 9, 2010, jeffrey Berger () said:
I'll know this worthy program is successful when the speakers celebrating it are drawn from a broader demographic.
I’m all for improving conditions for bicycle riding and for increasing the number of bikes on the road. People who live short distances from school, work, shopping and entertainment destinations, etc., should not be forced to fire up a motor vehicle in order to get where they need to go. However, I cannot imagine how the Nice Ride Minnesota “bike-share system” does anything to improve conditions for bicycle riding or increase the number of bicycle riders.
Who’s going to use this “system?” $5 gets you a half-hour or less ride to and from a “wow cool” solar-powered kiosk, or, you can get with the program and buy your half-hour or less rides in bulk for the monthly rate of $30 or the yearly rate $60. Or, you can game the “bike-share system,” and hop-scotch to and from the “wow cool” solar-powered kiosks, and try to avoid paying additional fees for rides that extend more than a half-hour.
Who’s going to use this goofball greenwash, “wow cool,“ solar-powered kiosk system? A half-hour or less ride, to and from an “available” kiosk, does not get you to and from work, school, a shopping trip or anywhere else you need to go, unless, by unlikely chance, both your origin and destination happen to be very close to kiosk locations.
It appears that Blue Cross-Blue Shield and the Federal Government (the same folks that brought us our bloated and nightmarish health care and transportation systems), along with the City of Minneapolis and some private business interests, have just spent $3.2 million so a handful of i-phone carrying gizmocrats can hopscotch to and from some “available” solar-powered kiosks. According to an article in the Minnesota Daily, “the system will include applications for smartphones and an interactive map on the website that will show available bicycles and empty slots for returning bicycles at each kiosk.” Wow cool!
(5) On June 15, 2010, Daily alum () said:
At first this seemed cool until I realized the fees make riding the bus look like a more cost-effective option, and having to find an open kiosk slot for a more-than-half-hour ride sounds like a hassle. Also in the Daily article:

"Nice Ride Minnesota will service the bicycles daily and will have trucks driving around the city throughout the day redistributing bicycles among kiosks."

I have to question how much of an environmental effect this will have if people are driving the bikes back with trucks - which are typically low on mileage and high on exhaust emissions - all day long.
(6) On June 15, 2010, Daily alum () said:
But in relation to the talk at the Uptown Theater, I am a little disappointed it sold out. I kind of miss my old poli sci days sitting around debating stuff, and it'd be even better with Surly's, with David Byrne and in my neighborhood, too - close enough I wouldn't even have to used my cheap old used bike :)
(7) On June 15, 2010, Doug () said:
I try to ride my bike every day. Alternate transportation is the bus. I've used Nice Ride when weather was uncertain. I commute in dress clothes, and don't want to ride in the rain. It's worked great during this rainy June. The stations are convenient to my work, and I hope that this will appeal to others. Nothing wrong with the "wow cool" factor if it gets people moving.
(8) On June 16, 2010, Aaron ( said:
The people that are critical of the skin color and sex of the speakers are clearly unfamiliar with the work some of them have done. To say that the panel not being from a "broader demographic" correlates with an inability to be incredibly insightful on the subject is naïve at best. I'm disappointed I wasn't able to get tickets to this event in time.

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From the FAQ

How long can I take a bike out?

Bike sharing is designed for short trips. Trips over 30 minutes will incur usage fees. You can take a bike out for a maximum of 24 hours. After that time, the bike will be considered lost and a replacement fee will be charged to your credit card.