Jenny J and Lisa G lead a group ride focusing on murals in Minneapolis. Lisa is a bike commuter and cyclist-while-cross-training. This was her first time leading a group ride. Jenny is a Minneapolis-based artist who has been biking her whole life. She has recently been honing her skill at alleycat rides and distance cycling, enjoys leading themed social rides, and is the outreach organizer for the annual Powderhorn 24 community ride.
The Mural Ride: South Minneapolis Edition was was a social ride led by Lisa Gulya and Jenny Jenkins in late October to visit public art in the Twin Cities. The initial idea for the ride came to Lisa after she visited Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood to see some of the community murals there in August. Back home, while walking from the light rail station to the bus stop on Franklin and Bloomington, she caught sight of the new mural on the east wall of the American Indian Center, and thought, “Hey! I’ll bet there are a bunch of murals worth exploring right here at home…”
Lisa tossed out the idea on the GR Facebook page, and many members “liked” it, and so the scheming began—kicked off with a planning potluck and maintained through a private Facebook group so comments and other digital materials (maps, blog posts, etc.) could be easily shared. Jenny came on board with her social ride leading experience and knowledge of local public art, and the ride was born! Other GR members pitched in to help, including Anneka K, Kelsey F, Lauren J, and Miya M.
We originally planned to see murals in various parts of town but realized the route would be too long for less experienced riders and the ride would take far too long, so we decided to concentrate on South Minneapolis for this ride and do a couple more rides in the spring and summer of 2016.
The team from Grease Rag pulled together the necessary components
- consulting Lauren H’s social ride how-to guide
- selecting murals to visit (Start Seeing Art was a helpful resource)
- picking a date that didn’t conflict with other bike events
- creating and test riding a route–we originally planned to see murals in various parts of town but realized the route would be too long for less experienced riders and the ride would take far too long, so we decided to concentrate on South Minneapolis for this ride and do other areas later
- contacting artists to get more information about the artwork and alerting them we’d be visiting in case they wanted to join us
- recruiting “tour guides” to talk a bit about each bit of art
- confirming a crew to lead the ride and sweep, keeping the promise of being a “no-drop” ride
- picking a hashtag (#tcmurals, general enough for use in future rides)
- peak color!
- warm, dry weather
- a midday ride: no need for lights, family-friendly
- a big crew of riders, around 3 dozen at take-off–credit this partially to luck (see “warm, dry weather”), but also to the fact that the five-member organizing crew all invited Facebook friends, posted to multiple pages (Grease Rag, BIKEFUN, Mpls Bike Love, etc.). We also emailed mplsart.com and discovered that one rider found the event on redcurrent.com
- the ride coincided with the unveiling of the mural at Cedar Avenue and 42nd Street, so at a related event
- we wished we’d done a better job breaking the ice and introducing riders to each other before roll-out; we had decided not to do a GR-style go-around due to the large group size
- we discussed trying to get the ride featured on MPR’s weekly Art Hounds segment, but were short on time; we’ll do more advanced planning and recruit a volunteer to go on the show to promote a future ride
- we weren’t successful in getting any artists to join us and plan to put more effort into doing so in the future
- although we discussed how to accommodate riders less accustomed to group rides, reviewed basics (how to signal turning, stopping, etc.) and had leaders and sweepers, we needed a couple more volunteers to cork intersections and try to keep the group together better
All in all, it was a successful, entertaining and pleasant ride and we are looking forward to future Mural Rides in St. Paul and North/NE Minneapolis. Please join us!