TUNE-UP SHELTERS, MOBILE APPS, AND A HEART-SHAPED LOGO: WELCOME TO THE BIKE-FRIENDLY STATE.
Cyclists in New York (and pretty much every other state) are used to struggling for the attention of lawmakers. Not so in Minnesota, a state that’s actively courting cyclists—most recently, through Pedal Minnesota, a new campaign aimed at making it easier for locals and tourists to get around by bike.
Minnesota has a reputation for being particularly easy place to ride a bike, full of famously hardy winter commuters. The state generates over $1 billion in bike-related revenue, more than hunting and snowmobiling combined, says Eric Husband, creative director at Colle+McVoy, the Minneapolis ad agency behind Pedal Minnesota.
A coalition of eight public partners (including the Minnesota DOT, DOH and several tourism boards) approached the agency about designing an identity and web platform for the alliance last year. Husband describes the design process as miraculously smooth. “You’d think with so many partners, it would be hard to reach consensus,” he says over email. “But a shared passion for biking led the way.” Aww. The logo reflects that—a heart-shaped frame, sandwiched between two wheels. A warm color palette, and a slogan that gives a nod to Minnesota’s famed hospitality (“The Bike Friendly State”), rounds out the design. “Black might work in New York, but it’s not the first thing you think of in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.”
Colle+McVoy took pains to design a mobile-friendly website, which includes smart phone accessible maps of the state’s routes. “By using responsive design, the site can be completely utilized by bikers on the go,” explains Husband. A website of neatly organized resources, like advice on commuting with kids and a searchable calendar of events and group rides, completes the web presence.
One of the coolest things about the project is the “tune-up shelters” now popping up around the state. By retrofitting existing bus stops with multi-tools, maps and pumps, the team found a way to offer universal access to necessities at a fairly low cost. Plus, the tools are all bought from local bike shops. “Of course, the tune-up shelters were a hit,” says Husband. “We’ve also have had a ton of inquiries on wearables—people are asking our partners where they can get t-shirts. Bicyclists love their schwag.”
With over $1 billion in annual revenue in Minnesota and swarms of merch-hungry cyclists, bike culture is becoming an economic force to be reckoned with. So why don’t more local governments support it, again? Husband thinks the tide is slowly turning. “As we all start to recognize the economic impact of bicycling, we’ll undoubtedly see more effort,” he says. “Certainly from a tourism perspective. But also to promote health, sustainable transportation and, here’s a biggie, fun.”