For many people, summer is an opportunity to kick their fitness regimens into high gear and unload some of that dreaded winter weight.  For others, improved health is its own reward, especially if given a gentle nudge by the results of their latest physical.  Regardless of the motivating factors, creating a structured fitness routine can be difficult, especially if you are going at it alone.  That is where businesses like the Fargo Running Company and Great Rides Bike Share can help.Fargo Running Company

The Fargo Running Company was created in 2007 by Dick Beardsley and Greg Hammes. Originally called the Dick Beardsley Running Company, the store sought to provide runners with one-stop shopping for all their running and workout needs.  Now owned by Cley Twigg, the business has evolved to become much more than only a retail operation.

For Twigg, running has always been a part of life.  “I remember going to road races and watching my dad and brother compete in them.  When I got a little older, I started running in the youth races,” he said. “I competed in track and cross country in high school (my dad was my coach), then I competed in college.  I still run to this day!”  It is that passion that fuels everything Twigg does.  “I am as passionate about running today as I was when I first started.  If I can pass that same passion along to another runner and have them come to love the sport like I do, that’s a win.”

Today, the Fargo Running Company has become a supportive avenue for runners of all levels.  The store supports two weekly group runs, one on Mondays at 6:00 PM and another on Thursdays at 5:30 AM.  The Thursday morning run has been going strong since the store opened.  The Monday evening run is quickly catching up, however. Recent runs have included over 50 people, including a 10th anniversary celebration in early April.  Once a month, the store also runs a supported group run that focuses on longer distances.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The recent explosion of online shopping has forced store owners like Twigg to adjust their sales philosophy, putting an increased focus on community events and customer service.  “We want to give people who come through our door a unique experience, whether that is with events or our customer service.  That’s something you can’t get while shopping online,” Twigg explained.  “Giving each person individualized attention is so important and something that many places can’t or won’t give.”

Twigg invites runners of all ability to join his store for a group run.  “Getting out in the summer, especially if it’s a little warmer, is so much better when you can run with a group,” he said. “We are also planning to do some different running and fitness challenges during the summer, so people should look out for those.”

Visit fargorunningcompany.com for more information.

Great Rides Bike Share

For those who are attracted to a different type of fitness, Great Rides Bike Share may be of interest.  A bike share program that has been wildly successful since launching three years ago, Great Rides is a perfect way to get out in the summer sun and ramp up your fitness routine.

According to director of operations Alyssa Johnson, Great Rides generated over a quarter million rides in its first two years.  In addition, the system received a national award for Most Rides Per Bike Per Day both years.  “We anticipated two to three rides per bike per day (considered a good standard for a healthy program) and were thrilled to have an average of five to seven, more usage per bike than in New York, Washington DC, or Paris at our peak times,” Johnson explained. “In fact, we hold the national record for the most rides per bike per day, doubling the previous record by our friends in Austin.”

There are currently 11 Great Rides bike stations in Fargo, each equipped with three-speed bikes that can be checked out for $4 per hour.  Memberships are also available for $15 a month or $75 for the year.  If you are a NDSU student, your student ID provides you with unlimited 30 minute rides.  Even better, the clock can be reset and your ride continued by docking and undocking at a station.

The bike share program is part of the community’s commitment to providing everyone with affordable fitness opportunities.  “We know that bicycles play a positive role in any community and provide several benefits: an active transportation option, exercise, socialization, reduced carbon footprint, and more,” said Johnson.  “We want to help more people realize and experience the benefits of cycling.  Great Rides Bike Share is just one way we can provide a cycling-centered service that makes it easier for community members to hop on a bike and get on with their days.”

Great Rides has recently launched the BCycle App (available on Apple and Droid), which allows riders to check out a bike using their phone.  In addition, the organization is always looking for ways to expand the program and increase community participation.  “We know there will be opportunities each season for improvement and innovation,” said Johnson.  “This season, we would love to see more public users taking advantage of the system and realizing that bikes are an excellent way to get around our great community — to pedal to lunch, run an errand, or just get some fresh air.”

Johnson hopes to see even more North Dakotans take advantage of Bike Share.  “Go to greatridesbikeshare.com and purchase your monthly or annual membership today, and make it a great ride with Great Rides Bike Share,” she encouraged. “We’ve got some sweet deals going on as we welcome warmer weather, so snag a promo code and get rolling!”

 

By Jamee Larson