Three businesses in FF awarded bicycle-friendly status

When the weather is favorable bicycles come out in Fergus Falls, and lately, the community is getting recognized for its biking opportunities.

Today, the League of American Bicyclists has announced it has designated three establishments in town as Bicycle Friendly Businesses.

Lake Region Healthcare has been awarded the silver status this year for the second time, meaning it’s doing well promoting bicycle commuting for employees and guests.

“The silver status means there is room for improvement. We have some ideas to implement to help make commuting to LRH easy,” Karoline Gustafson, LRH wellness trainer, said.

Two other businesses have been designated as bicycle-friendly for the first time. Union Pizza and Appert Insurance have also received the silver rank.

All three of these businesses have shown support for the various biking initiatives in town, specifically Pedal Fergus Falls. Appert Insurance has helped sponsor bike giveaways for the 30 Days of Biking Kickoff and Union Pizza has also worked with the bicycle community for sponsorships.

“We’ve done small things like bike racks, but I think the biggest thing we’ve done is collaborate with the bicycle community,” Ben Schierer, owner of Union Pizza and mayor of Fergus Falls, said. “We support events, promotion, working to raise awareness and encourage people to bicycle in Fergus Falls.”

LRH has taken extra measures to upgrade their bike parking and provide an enclosed bike parking shelter behind LRH and Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals recommended bike racks. For employees of LRH, there are three bikes available for them to use at no cost.

The businesses are also aware of the impact biking can have on health and community.

“It is important for LRH to strive to be bicycle-friendly because the health of our employees and community is our top priority,” Gustafson said. “Being a BFB is one piece of the multidimensional puzzle that is health. The city of Fergus Falls and area businesses are coming together to make Fergus Falls a great place to live and work with bike and pedestrian infrastructure.”

Darren Appert of Appert Insurance says the more bike friendly Fergus Falls becomes, the better as a whole the community will be.

“Promotion of health, economic and environmental benefits all in one two-wheeled, people powered tool,” Appert said.

Schierer agrees, and said the economic aspect is something businesses should be aware of.

“I can’t tell you how many people come through Fergus Falls on their bicycles every summer, so it’s good for businesses to be supportive of that,” Schierer said, adding that he’s a big believer in biking and its environmental, health and community impact.

For businesses trying to think of ways to become more bicycle-friendly, Appert says that Pedal Fergus Falls has been instrumental in coming up with ideas and ways to promote a better bicycle community, so they would be his go-to recommendation for other organizations and businesses to get tips.

“Biking isn’t just something we do, it’s good for us too. It’s good for the environment, community health. It’s a good thing,” Schierer said.

For more information on the League of American Bicyclists, visit bikeleague.org and for more information on Pedal Fergus Falls go to pedallff.org.