Long time politician, avid cyclist and bike advocate Jim Oberstar passed in his sleep early Saturday morning, May 3, 2014. He was 79 years old.
From my friend and long time bike advocate Buzz Feldman of Longmont, Colorado.
The American cycling community lost a long time friend and the greatest advocate for improving bicycling in the country. Among his other many accomplishments, James Oberstar was the creator of the national Safe Routes To School program. He started a movement that encouraged millions of kids to get out of their parents cars and walk, bike, or skate to school. Congressman Oberstar also pushed for Complete Streets policies and funding that make the roadways safer for ALL users.
I had the opportunity to meet Congressman Oberstar and speak with him twice: once in Washington, D.C., and once in Fort Collins when he was a panelist on a symposium about distracted driving.
I will miss him and his leadership. I am saddened to learn of his death.
More memories of bicycling with Mr. Oberstar at the Star Tribune: Chasing Jim Oberstar. There’s a wonderful photo of the Congressman with a group of school children by Bike Portland.
Quality Bike Products (QBP) — the large, national distributor behind familiar brands such as Civia, Dimension, Foundry,Salsa Cycles, Surly, Whisky Parts Co. and 45North — plan to begin manufacturing their own bikes in Minnesota within the next two years. QBP is the largest distributor of bicycle parts and accessories in the United States, with many local bike shops ordering much of their inventory through them.
The bicycles and frames sold through QBP’s brands are currently manufactured in China and Taiwan with assembly at QBP’s facility in Bloomington, MN. QBP Founder and President Steve Flagg says that moving from assembly to production will be a leap for his firm, but “not out of reach for us,” according to Minnesota Public Radio.
Fast Co.Design discusses an ad agency’s work in promoting cycling in Minnesota through “Pedal Minnesota,” a new campaign aimed at making it easier for locals and tourists to get around by bike. The efforts include “tune up shelters” in which the project transforms existing bus shelters into mini bike shops by adding maps, tools, and air pumps.
I made a few business trips to the Twin Cities to visit the corporate headquarters of my then employer way out in Minnetonka in the mid to late 1990s. I’d arrive in the middle of the night on the Empire Builder from Chicago at MSP Amtrak, then wait an hour for a cab to finally arrive. Today, I see Hertz has a “Local Edition” office next to the Amtrak station. They close at 6 PM. The daily train from Chicago arrives at 10:30 PM.
My business trip jaunts mostly whisked from Amtrak straight to the suburban office parks, so I missed most of the character of Minneapolis. I’m happy to see some of what I missed in Streetfilms’ latest video featuring the Midtown Greenway in Minneapolis, MN.