By Molly Rosenblatt

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Hardy bike commuters were out in full force during Tuesday’s snow storm, and the timing lined up nicely for this years’ Winter Cycling Congress at the University of Minnesota.

The congress is trying to help make more cities around the world biker friendly during all seasons.

“[Minneapolis] is one of those special places in the United States where it’s already happening, and [the congress is] kind of to connect all those cities who want to learn more,” said Anders Swanson, who runs the Winter Cycling Federation.

He says that since Minneapolis is consistently ranked the top cycling-friendly city in the nation, it’s a great location for learning.

“We had this conference in Winnipeg a few years ago, and I’ve seen what it’s done for Winnipeg,””Swanson said. “I think Minneapolis and St. Paul are already very beautiful, and they’re doing a lot of great things already when it comes to winter and I think it’s just going to get better.”

Winter cycling experts came from Sweden, Finland and the Netherlands — all countries that lead the way in year-round cycling.

And leaders in all different areas from across the world came for forums where they made and listened to suggestions.

“They also offer daily mobile bike tours,” Swanson said. “The goal is to highlight Twin Cities bike lanes and trails and show people from all over the world what’s working here.”

Tour-goers took to city bike lanes, checked out the Midtown Greenway and the Hiawatha Trail.

“I’ve only lived here two and a half years, but I’m really proud,” said cyclist Juana Sandoval. “One of the reasons I live here is because of all the great bikeways.”

Mike Perholtz took the tour and says he loves winter biking — even though he currently lives in Florida.

“As far as the infrastructure here, this is my first time seeing it and it’s amazing,” he said. “There are so many avenues for cyclists to get from point A to point B, unlike in Florida…it’s a little more challenging, a little more dangerous, so we are trying to see if we can learn from the guys that are doing it right and maybe take some of that knowledge back to Florida.”

This is the fourth year of the Winter Cycling Congress. The convention continues Thursday.

For more information on the events, click here.

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