by PAM EYDEN
When Jo McGrath moved to Winona from Rochester in 1997, friends told her to bring her bike because the town was flat and bikeable. She can’t remember why she was skeptical, but she did as they advised.
Twenty-one years later, she’s still riding. She never bought a car.
“I have a big bike with three baskets. That’s all I need,” she said. “If the weather’s bad or the trip is long, I can put my bike on the bus — although not if the baskets are full.”
McGrath, who retired from work as a nursing assistant and personal companion, now volunteers one day a week at the Catholic Worker’s Bethany House. She lives on West Broadway and rides her bike to town several times a week — to the Bluff Country Co-op, the library and farmers market. She also rides over to the river to see how the floodwaters are doing.
“I just do the normal things,” she said. “I stay off of Broadway and take Seventh Street instead, which is easier.”
She used to go on biking adventures with her husband, and she also rode with the bike group at the Winona Friendship Center. One of her four daughters leads bicycling tours in Europe, but biking is just a part of everyday life for McGrath. She’s happy riding her bike to the center to play ping-pong.
“As a child, I had training wheels on my bike until I was in seventh grade!” she said. “I didn’t give them up until my friends wanted to go on a picnic at Mayowood. Then I learned. I was not going to ride with training wheels on my bike that day!”
McGrath is quite comfortable riding at her own speed, on side streets, but she’s watchful.
“We all have to be aware of each other. Bikers can do crazy things, so can walkers and drivers. I believe in mindfulness. Of course putting it into action is another thing!” she laughed.
May is Bike Month in Winona — don’t miss the fun! Check the Bike Month web page (www.visitwinona.com/may-is-bike-month) to find out what’s happening.