Melissa Hohertz-Foat

South Minneapolis resident Melissa Hohertz-Foat is one of only a small number of metro workers who regularly encounters wild deer and turkeys along her daily commute. Her secret to infusing a little country charm into city life is a simple one: biking, rather than driving, to work.

Hohertz-Foat cycles almost every weekday from her home in the Longfellow Neighborhood to her office in Edina. She first explored the opportunity last year after taking on a position at Bluespire Marketing in the Centennial Lakes Neighborhood.

It is not a new lifestyle choice, however. "Previously, I biked downtown to my job for many years. My home in Longfellow to the new workplace is 11 miles each way, and I was excited by the idea of turning this habit into a really great workout," she said.
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
If the very prospect sounds intimidating, Hohertz-Foat would remind you that, as with all worthwhile challenges, the hardest part is just beginning.

"Challenges of commuter biking are usually things you encounter and overcome at the start. Learning what time you will need to carve out of your day to make this work, and mastering how to pack efficiently, takes some practice."

Discovering favorite routes is another challenge, albeit one that intrepid bicyclists like Hohertz-Foat tend to relish. She recommends several strategies.

"I find bike path routes in online searches, and then slowly deviate as I discover roads with low-vehicle use that also shaves time off of the total route ... After several months, you know the fastest, safest and prettiest routes, and I let weather and family plans dictate which route I take."

Her favorite takes her through some of the more scenic areas of Richfield and Edina. "Each day, I pass by lakes, nice suburban gardens, fun Little Free Libraries - and even turkeys and deer in Richfield."

Unsurprisingly, as an alternative to driving, she highly recommends biking to others. "While part of my mind is on staying safe during the short time on shared roads, the majority of the commute is time to think and plan. I arrive to work ready and even excited for my workday to begin. Compare that to driving on Highway 62 during rush hour, particularly during construction season!"

"A few of my co-workers are even considering making the switch - especially after seeing how much I get to eat every day," she added.

While the City's multimodal transit infrastructure is still a work in progress, Edina residents have it easier than many, said Hohertz-Foat. "Edina has a solid layout for bike commuters. You can get anywhere you need to go with views of trees and gardens. Possibilities for [getting] where you're going can seem endless, which is a lot of fun."