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Minnesotan To Meet: Crank Sisters' Martha Flynn

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Life can take so many twists and turns. For instance, imagine going from a nurse to an IT project manager, or from an inline skater to bike enthusiast.

In both cases, that's Martha Flynn, who is now so dedicated to getting other young women to ride bikes, she's in charge of the Crank Sisters, an organization that builds girl's confidence while off-road cycling.

That's what makes her this week's Minnesotan to Meet.

Martha Flynn is a natural on two wheels. She said she has been full-on biking for about a decade, but was introduced to it even longer ago while competing on eight wheels.

"I was an inline skate racer and I started biking as cross-training," Flynn said. "Something about being on a bike was more fun."

Biking isn't just a hobby. You'll see Flynn commuting nine miles each way to work -- any season -- along River Road.

"I have five bikes," she said. "I love every morning going, 'Which one should I take out?'"

There's the commuter bike, the road bike, the mountain bike, the fat tire winter bike and the cylo-cross bike.

"The thing about being a bike fanatic is you start with one bike and then you need another bike," she said.

Calling her a bike fanatic might be an understatement; she literally wears her enthusiasm on her chest in the form of a bicycle necklace her husband gave her.

Then there was the Catfish Cup last winter, when she was featured on the CBS Evening News racing on one of the coldest days of the year.

"It's all about layering and wearing the right clothes," Flynn said.

When she first started dating the man who would become her husband, he told her he worked as a bike mechanic at Penn Cycle.

"I was like, 'Really? Sold,'" Flynn said.

The marriage has worked out in more ways than one. The couple's garage has an entire area reserved for just bicycles and a bike repair station. And she rides with her husband and son both.

"I ride with the boys, but there's something nice about doing a girls' ride," Flynn said.

That's where her focus is now Flynn is the head "Crank Sister" with the Minnesota High School Cycling League.

"We're not about making the next Olympic athlete. We want them to have fun riding their bike. We want them to have a healthy lifestyle," Flynn said.

The competition is for girls currently in high school, but they're now targeting middle school girls as well.

"They help build up each other's confidence," Flynn said.

She hopes these girls inspire others to join, creating a lifelong commitment to peddling and to sisterhood -- a comrade that comes so easily, it's just like riding a bike.

The Crank Sisters offer "Try It Out" sessions and teams are forming in some areas for the Minnesota High School Cycling League.


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