Shifting Gears Bemidji has been my hobby, my service project, my act of faith, and my passion for almost 10 years. Based at Peoples church, we are dedicated to getting folks on bicycles for the health of people, the community, and the environment. As the days of January lengthen and the temperature starts to flirt with a thaw (if only occasionally) it is time to keep my New Years resolution and launch myself and Shifting Gears into the blogosphere.
Cycling is on the rise in Bemidji. In the last couple of years we’ve seen new paved trails, single track at Movil Maze, “Share the Road” signs popping up everywhere, and family oriented Bike Bemidji events. The front page of The Pioneer has featured picturesque and intrepid winter cyclists, downtown bike rack controversies, and most recently the story of a girl whose life was saved by her Dora Explorer helmet. Bemidji is on Adventure Cycling’s northern tier cross country route and the Paul Bunyan Trail is now paved all the way from Brainerd to Bemidji State Park making our town a destination for pedal powered tourists and offering the locals opportunities for cycling adventures. A $400,000 Blue Cross Blue Shield grant administered by the HRDC has brought a range of community members together to promote Active Living, with cycling a significant focus. The Home Place Bike and Ski Shop owned by John and Sue Tibstra is a thriving local business and continues its tradition of good community citizenship by providing promotions and helmet fitting at bike events. More recently The Bike Guy has come to town, last year with his mobile repair service and now with a store front on Division Street. The owner, Kirby Harmon is organizing a bicycle club.
There is a lot to keep track of, a lot to talk about and here is a place to do it. Watch the “Home Page” for a list of upcoming cycling events in the area. Check the “History” tab for the story of Shifting Gears. I’ll be fleshing it out over the next month or two with pictures and will feature a story of the month about the people and relationships we build through cycling. We will have a Links page to events and cycling information and I will blog a couple of times weekly about what’s happening and what I think about it. Please contact me to add links, event information, and suggestions for topics. We’ll blog about anything pedal powered anywhere near Bemidji. Controversial topics are welcome and respect for differing opinions is expected. Join the conversation and keep the rubber side down!