Vision 2020: Opportunities abound for biking, summer

Published 7:01 am Sunday, May 8, 2016

By Greg Siems

Vision 2020 director

Now that spring has finally (knock on wood) turned the corner, it’s time for all of us to start thinking about how to get out and enjoy the longer days and warmer temperatures. There are many great organizations in Austin supporting activities and events for people of all ages, and there is a fun opportunity coming up soon to learn more about them.

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The Vision 2020 Biking and Walking Trails committee is proud to be partnering with the YMCA to put on their annual Spring Kids Fest and Bike Safety Day, to be from 2 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, May 15, at East Side Lake. There will be a bounce house, bicycle safety course, and booths with other fun activities and information about summer programming from many area organizations.

Also, thanks to the generous sponsorships of Mayo Clinic Health System, Rydjor Bike Shop, the Southern Minnesota Bike Club, and The Hormel Foundation, there will be 250 bicycle helmets available for a low co-pay on a first come, first serve basis. Kids helmets are only $5, while adult sizes are $10. Knowledgeable volunteers will be available to make sure everyone gets the safest and most appropriate fit.

The Austin Police Department, Gold Cross Ambulance Service, and Mower Refreshed will also be in attendance, with their own activities and information available about recreational safety and healthy living. Knowledge and awareness are extremely important when it comes to keeping you and your family safe in all kinds of situations, and we hope you will take advantage of this great opportunity to learn more from these smart and professional people.

The Bike/Walk committee is excited to bring these activities to our community and to see interest in bicycling for recreation and transportation continuing to grow. As you’ve probably heard, the Red Bike Share program launched with great fanfare a few weeks ago. The Shooting Star Trail will be completed this year and connected to the city trail system near the Hormel Nature Center, and planning and construction continues for more trails in other locations within the city. The new mountain biking trail will soon also be even bigger and better, thanks to a $10,000 grant from The Hormel Foundation to purchase tools and apply for permanent trail status with the DNR.

Add all of these things up, and this year could really be a turning point in transforming Austin into a “bike friendly” community. Are you interested in biking, walking, or other kinds of outdoor recreation? Would you like to learn more and get involved with these efforts? Be sure to contact me at 507-437-3448 or and we can talk about how you can help make our community a better place for everyone.