Minneapolis, MI, Aug 21 st 2013
Is there a city in the world more bike friendly than the twin cities Minneapolis/StPaul? Not sure. They say Portland, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia…anyway, for French visitors, the twins are a bike paradise.
First thing, cars in the US in general are much less agressive than in France, for objective reasons: in France cars are equiped with diesel engines, which are much more noisy than gas engines. These engines are smaller, usually 4 cylinders, so not as smooth as the big US 6 cylinders. Second, French cars have shifts,´which encourage a much more nervous way of driving.Last but not least, Latin culture implies a more sportive way of driving. Until recently we hardly respected speed limits.
These diferences tend to wane, as French people progressively learn how to drive in a civilized way, and police has been cracking down on speed limits, specifically in big cities like Paris.
Whatever, there is no doubt that cars here in the US are less dangerous for bikers. Now the twins: the bike trail network is stunning. One can drive a bike from north to south, from east to west almost any place on bike lanes, most very large and sometimes one way.
Like most American cities, the twins are sprawling grits, but we are in the 10 000 lakes State, and beautiful large lakes ( Calhoun,Herriet) punctuate the urban landscape.
Needless to say that a bike share program called “nice ride” is in place, like in Paris, New York or London. Stations are everywhere and the pricing system encourages short half an hour rides.
But the OTT discovery was in the center of St Paul a bike parking place with a free repair pole to hook the bike on, equipped with tools and a telephone number to call a mechanic and ask for free advice!
What else can a biker dream of?