Cedar-Riverside celebrates community and end of summer at bike ride event

Flashy “art cars” led the community caravan down to the river.

Cyclists+and+art+car+drivers+made+their+way+around+Cedar-Riverside+on+Saturday%2C+Oct.+17+to+build+community+and+increase+voter+turnout.

Parker Johnson

Cyclists and art car drivers made their way around Cedar-Riverside on Saturday, Oct. 17 to build community and increase voter turnout.

Lydia Morrell, City Reporter

A dragonfly bike and a phoenix car led a fleet of vehicles that cruised through Cedar-Riverside Saturday as part of a community bike ride marking the end of summer.

Residents came to Currie Park and chose either a regular bike or a Lyft-provided electric-assist bike or scooter. Artistically decorated cars and bikes led the community parade down to the river.

“We are celebrating the end of summer of a very challenging year — celebrating our residents and neighbors that are together and celebrating community,” said community organizer Abdirizak Bihi.

Bikers and bystanders could not miss the art cars as they led the caravan with flashy colors and unusual designs, such as one that was completely covered in corks.

 A car covered in toys and trinkets drives along the designated route for the bike ride on Saturday,Oct. 17. Cyclists and art car drivers made their way around Cedar Riverside to build community and increase voter turnout. (Parker Johnson)

K.J. Starr, one of the bike ride’s organizers, originally reached out to car artist Mina Leierwood to ask her to bring her butterfly bike to the event. Coincidentally, a parade of art cars was scheduled for the same day in the area.

“The art cars and art bikes are all friends, so we are putting [both events] together,” Leierwood said.

Two cars were decorated in support of District 4 Minneapolis School Board candidate Adriana Cerrillo, who attended the event and rode in an art car decorated with her name on it. Cerrillo is running for a seat encompassing multiple south Minneapolis neighborhoods on a platform of school equity.

About 25 bikers attended, along with 12 art cars and others who came to support Cerillo’s campaign. Though participants wore masks and socially distanced, many community members stayed home because of pandemic-related concerns, Bihi said.

“The young people used to jump at the opportunity,” Bihi said. “Now they are hesitant and don’t want to go out.”

However, the young people who attended said they were excited to be at the event and connect with their neighbors.

“This is how we stay in touch,” participant Sahra Mohamed said. “And because of corona, of course, we’re all very distant. So whenever an opportunity comes up we try to take it.”

Before the bikers took off, University of Minnesota student Jamila Bihi, Abdirizak’s daughter, talked to the group about Sunna, or “the way of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him,” and how it relates to taking care of the environment.

 A car painted with pro-voting messages is prepared to be driven for the community bike ride. Cyclists and art car drivers made their way around Cedar Riverside on Saturday, Oct. 17 to build community and increase voter turnout. (Parker Johnson)

She added that it is a religious responsibility to take care of the environment and take care of your health by exercising.

“I feel like if people knew that this would be a good deed or this is something that they could do, it would be like double points,” Jamila said. “You’re doing something with the religion, and you’re doing something to help yourself and help the community.”

After the visit to the river, the group returned to the park to enjoy sambusas provided by the West Bank Business Association.

“Honestly, I just wanted to get a chance to get outside while I can. It was snowing yesterday, so I want to enjoy it while I can and get ahead,” Mohamed said with a laugh.