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Twin Cities to host international winter biking conference

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Fat bikes
Fat bikes get their name for the over-sized tires the bikes employ to ride over snow, sand and other difficult terrain.
Derek Montgomery / For MPR News

Move over cars, a global bike gathering is coming to the Twin Cities.

The city of Minneapolis Thursday announced the International Winter Cycling Congress will hold its annual event in the Twin Cities early next year.

Minnesota is the first U.S. location to host the conference. Previous gatherings were in Finland, Canada and the Netherlands.

"More and more cities recognize that just because it's cold in the winter time doesn't mean it can't be a great place to bike," said Ethan Fawley, executive director of the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition.

The Winter Cycling Congress is a three-day event for planners, engineers and bike enthusiasts who don't shy away from riding in snow, ice and freezing temperatures.

It's an awareness event where people from different parts of the world promote year-round cycling.

Fawley said it'll be a chance to show off the Twin Cities region, but also address challenges that come with winter biking, such as icy bike lanes.

"How do we create network to have people not feel scared," he said. "Because that's a big barrier if you have ice and snow in your bike route as you're dealing with cars who are also dealing with ice and snow."