Taking the Commute Off the Highways

What happens when you give people free bikes to commute to work? That’s what Burnsville resident Kathleen Johnson and 49 other Twin Cities area residents hope to find out.

Johnson was among 50 Twin Cities residents selected to receive a free bike in recognition of Bike-to-Work Day May 20 -€œ as long as they shared their experiences for the following three months.

“I love how I feel once I get to work,” Johnson said. “It is a stress reliever right away in the morning. It helps me to feel like I already got one workout in and look forward to a second for the day. I have a great attitude period.”

A police technician who works in Minneapolis City Hall and a professional vocalist, Johnson splits her time between her home in Burnsville and a loft in Minneapolis.

Her ride from her loft takes her about 20 minutes daily. When she goes from Burnsville, she takes the light rail into Minneapolis before riding her bike the rest of the way.

Minneapolis-St. Paul is one of 20 across the country taking part in the BikeTown USA program run by Bicycling magazine. The program gave away 1,000 bikes this year, the third year of the effort, to people chosen from those who sent in a 50-word entry about how the bike would change their lives or what they would do with the bike.

Participants in the program will track their progress for three months to help the magazine chronicle their experiences with the bike. Results for all BikeTown participants may be featured in the magazine and on the magazine’s Web site at www.bicycling.com/biketown.

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