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Minneapolis Memorial Ride

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Minneapolis Memorial Ride

Old 10-02-08, 04:43 PM
matt wisconsin
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Minneapolis Memorial Ride

I'll be in Minneapolis this weekend and received this in an email:

Four bicyclists have died in the past month in crashes involving motor vehicles, and on Saturday, members of the Twin Cities cycling community will stage a ride to pay tribute to them.

Called a "Memorial Ride to Honor Fallen Bicyclists," the ride will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday at Snelling and Summit avenues in St. Paul, where Virginia Heuer Bower was struck and killed by a vehicle last Saturday. Riders will gather near a "ghost bike" festooned with a flag, sign and other mementos that well-wishers have left at the site of the accident in her memory.

Ghost bikes, painted white and left near the scene of an accident to commemorate a cyclist who lost his or her life in a traffic accident, are a relatively new phenomena in the Twin Cities, said Jeremy Werst, who runs the online forum www.mplsbikelove.com and is helping organize Saturday's ride.

During Saturday's 13.6-mile ride, participants are asked to wear black shirts with orange ribbons tied to their handlebars or arms, Werst said. The ride will begin at Heuer Bower's ghost bike, then cross into Minneapolis and head west down Lake Street to Excelsior Blvd. and W. 32nd Street, where Jimmy Nisser was killed on Sept. 11. From there the ride will head northeast on Hennepin to the ghost bike memorial for Nik Morton. He was killed Sept. 23 at 5th Street and Nicollet Mall.

"We really needed to do something," Werst said about why he organized the ride and set up the website to memorialize fallen bike riders. "We just need to make people aware."

At each stop, people can leave flowers, messages and engage in a moment of silence. Werst said family members will be invited to each site to say a few words if they choose.

A separate ride also on Saturday to the site where Dale Aanenson died Sept. 22 in Blaine will follow an unrelated group photo event for bicycle commuters at 3 p.m. in Gold Medal Park. That photo is designed to bring attention to the high number of people who bike to work in Minneapolis.

A recent U.S. Census report showed that about 7,200 -- or 3.8 percent -- of Minneapolis residents biked to work last year, up from about 4,840 -- or 2.5 percent -- in 2006. The report listed Minneapolis as the fastest-growing city in terms of bicycle commuting.

Werst is one of them. He's lived in Minneapolis for 10 years and has no driver's license. He owns six bikes and rides them most everywhere he goes.

It's not clear how many riders will participate Saturday, but he sent an e-mail to all 1,800 members of the www.mplsbikelove.com forum But anybody, member or not, is invited to ride on Saturday, he said.

For more information see www.ghostbikempls.org.
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