Club Spotlight: Twin Cities Bicycling Club
The League spoke with John Benda, Director of the Twin Cities Bicycling Club. TCBC is the largest recreational bicycling club in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul area.
Their mission is to promote enjoyable, safe, and responsible cycling to bike riders of all races, cultures and abilities through group rides with a variety of pace and difficulty levels.
How and when was your club founded?
The Twin Cities Bicycling Club was founded in 1993 as a spin off from AYH (American Youth Hostels). AYH had a falling out with the bicycling part of its program and those who were active in the cycling portion decided to proceed as a separate entity and named themselves the Twin Cities Bicycling Club (TCBC).
Who are your members?
Our members are recreational bike riders that live in and around the Twin Cities metro area. Many have a long biking history though our ride options offer rides for everyone from the very experienced to newcomers to riding.
What are some highlights from your club calendar?
We have All Club Rides attended by about 150 riders each at the beginning and end of the summer (on the Saturdays of Memorial and Labor Day weekends). We also have a large 4th of July Ride and at the end of our riding season we have an all-club meeting, banquet and awards event that many of our members attend. We also have a number of multiple-day outreach rides that members enjoy in greater Minnesota, Wisconsin and the southwest United States.
What is your signature event?
This is a tough one to answer because of all of the rides and events we offer. The two All Club Rides are probably our signature events because routes are offered and lead at several different length and difficulty levels offering something for everyone.
What makes TCBC distinct and unique?
TCBC is unique because we are the largest recreational bike club in the Twin Cities area. We are also unique because of the efforts we make to offer rides at so many different difficulty and ability levels. During the colder months rides still go on, though there are significantly fewer, and some leaders also regularly organize hikes for our members who don’t care for winter biking. Another popular initiative we offer during our colder months are our virtual “Bike U” events that members can tune in to related to biking.
A few of our topics in the past have been Ride with GPS training, Fat Tire Biking, Minneapolis Public Schools Bike Education Program, and Equity in Cycling. Topics coming up this winter include Free Bikes 4 Kidz, Bicycle Advocacy with the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota and Bike Maintenance with a local bike shop.
How does TCBC engage in bike advocacy at the local, state or national levels?
Following the murder of George Floyd our TCBC board of directors drafted a club Statement on Racism that can be found on the homepage of our website. The club also formed an equity committee to study how we might become more inclusive of other races and cultures. Since that time we have engaged in a number of volunteer opportunities to get ourselves out into the Twin Cities encountering diverse populations. We also make donations to a number of organizations that make positive contributions to the Twin Cities cycling community including four Minnesota trail organizations, three urban bicycle shops and two bicycling advocacy organizations.
Anything else you’d like us to know?
We love to bike and have a lot of fun getting to know each other and socializing as well. Anyone can come along with us on a ride before formally joining the club. So, if you’re in the Twin Cities look us up on our website at biketcbc.org, connect with a board member and we’ll suggest a ride for you; join us!
Want to see your bike club in our next Club Spotlight feature? Connect with our staff at [email protected].