Lori Richman

According to the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota, for one reason or another, more than half of all Minnesotans hopped on a bike at least once last year. However, few of us are in as strong a position as Lori Richman to fully appreciate this mode of transportation and its myriad benefits.

Richman is Director of Organizational Development at Quality Bicycle Products (QBP), a Bloomington-based manufacturer and wholesaler that holds distinction as that industry's largest distributor of bike parts and accessories.

"QBP currently distributes bicycle products from all the best vendors to over 5,000 bike shops," Richman explained. She describes her employer as a purpose-driven company - one that gives back 6% of earnings to causes that "get more butts on bikes."
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Unsurprisingly, as a workplace, QBP offers a robust bike culture. Minnesota boasts a record 72 "Bicycle Friendly Businesses" - employers officially recognized by The League of American Bicyclists for fostering a bicycle-friendly atmosphere. However, QBP is one of only two companies in the entire state that holds the League's coveted "Platinum" ranking.

Among other perks, "we have showers and indoor bike parking ... This makes for a fun work environment," Richman said. She takes full advantage. From late March through mid-November, she opts for bike over car two or three times each week.

"I love commuting by bike," she continued. "It is a full-experience way to get places: the smells, the feel, the visible changing of the seasons ... And aside from that wonderful experience, I feel good. By the time I get home, I have done my workout!"

Her route, which runs nine miles each way, takes her into the Hyland Lark Park Reserve in Bloomington and through some of her favorite Edina neighborhoods.

For all its advantages, sharing the road with vehicular traffic is a challenge - and in some parts of town, a daunting one. Richman is appreciative of city streets like 70th Avenue, where a clear, striped bike lane is maintained.

While some in our community see bikes as an obstacle, Richman's 16 years with Quality Bicycle Products affords her a longer view. She contends that, far from being a nuisance, bicyclists contribute to the health of the community in many small ways. "Less cars on the road means less traffic congestion - and it's good for the environment, meaning fewer carbon emissions."

"I love that Edina officials and staff leaders understand the power and value in ‘living streets,' and that encouraging multi-modal transportation has such a huge and positive impact." At the heart of it, "biking and walking create opportunities for us to connect with one another - which, after all, is what community is all about!"