Donut rides that change the world

Bicycle shop gives Minneapolis a reason to wake up for a Saturday morning ride.

Bicyclists of all ages gather for doughnuts at the end of Calhoun Cycles Pastry Ride at A Bakers Wife on Saturday. The ride is a part of 30 Days of Biking, a yearly event in which people pledge to ride their bikes every day of April.

Image by Juliet Farmer

Bicyclists of all ages gather for doughnuts at the end of Calhoun Cycle’s Pastry Ride at A Baker’s Wife on Saturday. The ride is a part of “30 Days of Biking,” a yearly event in which people pledge to ride their bikes every day of April.

by Mary Reller

A troop of cyclists stood chatting behind local bicycle shop Calhoun Cycle on Saturday morning. The sun was out, and helmets were on. Around 50 idle bicycles were ready to take off âÄî some mountain bikes, some with skinny tires and baskets and at least one with a carriage attached to the back for hauling kids. The conversation died down as the group ride leader and brand manager of the shop spoke to the crowd. âÄúThere are a lot of people who came here alone today, so introduce yourself,âÄù Martha Garcés said. One of the lone riders, Brianna Thompson, had two expectations for her first Calhoun Cycle pastry ride: to ride a bike and enjoy a pastry. âÄúI pledged to do 30 days of biking, and this is a good way to get out and eat a donut,âÄù Thompson said. Last year, Calhoun Cycle began sponsoring 30 Days of Biking âÄî a month-long challenge to bike every day of April âÄî to inspire an earlier biking season that lasts all summer and promote biking as transportation. âÄúItâÄôs a good motivator to get people to dust off their bikes,âÄù Calhoun Cycle owner Luke Breen said. âÄúThe pastry rides are just the frosting on the cake âÄîtheyâÄôre fun; theyâÄôre social. They certainly help our business, but theyâÄôre more about building a community.âÄù As part of its sponsorship, the shop wanted to organize a group bike ride âÄî one that was fun, easy and accessible to all cyclists, Breen said. Garcés suggested doing a pastry ride. In the past, she and a friend arranged a similar event outside the store where they took a group of bikers to numerous Minneapolis donut shops. âÄúWe never say where weâÄôre going in advance because the idea is that itâÄôs not just about a bunch of people meeting at a place, itâÄôs about a group having a ride together and enjoying the journey of getting there,âÄù Garcés said. Bikers meet outside the shop and get to know each other beforehand, then the ride leader announces where theyâÄôre riding to from Calhoun Cycle. Ride leaders choose quality pastry shops that are far away enough for a decent biking distance âÄî usually around five to seven miles âÄî and the group stays at an easy pace so nobody gets left behind. âÄúIt feels really safe,âÄù said Aaron Scott, who began going on the rides last year. Scott and other riders look forward to exploring different parts of the city that are more noticeable from a bike. âÄú[There is] a bridge over the freeway that IâÄôd never seen on my own [until] we went on one of these rides,âÄù Scott said. The man behind 30 Days of Biking, organizer Patrick Stephenson, said he remembers a time when he and his wife arrived late and raced down the Cedar Lake Trail trying to catch up with the group. âÄúWe saw this gigantic mob coming toward us, and we passed them and everyone in the mob was like, âÄòHey! Join us!âÄôâÄù Stephenson said. âÄúThen we all got croissants âĦ it wasnâÄôt scary or intimidating.âÄù The 30 Days of Biking concept started when Stephenson saw a post on Twitter about 30 days of yoga. âÄúI didnâÄôt want to do 30 days of yoga,âÄù Stephenson said, âÄúso I was like, âÄòHow about 30 days of biking?âÄôâÄù Biking spurred a new sense of confidence in Stephenson when he began commuting on bicycle. HeâÄôs been trying to support the decision to make the lifestyle change ever since, and other riders are following suit. When the challenge began in 2010, there were about 300 pledges to join the challenge, but this year they have around 8,000 so far, Stephenson said. Setting an achievable goal and earning a delicious reward is what the Calhoun Cycle pastry ride is all about, Stephenson said. âÄúBikes make people healthier and happier,âÄù Stephenson said. âÄúDonut rides will change the world. Seriously.âÄù What: Calhoun Cycle Pastry Ride When: 9 a.m. Saturday Where: 3342 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis Cost: Free