Originally Posted by SlowObstacle
As one of the people that actually, y'know, LIVES IN the twin cities, gotta say I kind of resent the people on this thread who diss the local level of fitness without knowing squat about it beyond we're in the midwest, it gets cold in the winter, and there are a lot of folks here of northern European extraction. Plus one of the largest Somali communities in the US and (I think) the largest Hmong community, well, anywhere, but I digress. ...
Look, I think it's cool that you can almost always get a Somali cabbie at the airport, and I've gone hunting and fishing with some of the Hmong there. But, unless we are counting minorities as some sort of lliberal minority collection fetish, it ain't got nothing to do with fitness. To be blunt, MSP is a fairly fat set of cities. There is a good triathlon scene there, yes, some good XC skiing, some good distance runners, but Houston also has good runners, and so do some towns in New Mexico that no one would say are fit on average. Worse, a large number of the affluent, fitter population in MSP lives in suburbs, unlike say NYC, which is a liberal town with a lot of skinny, sometimes fit, sometimes bulimic, sometimes addicted professionals and artsy folks who live in Manhattan. Spend time around the U, and there are a lot of fat or skinny but flabby but heavily pierced bike riders trying to emulate 1990's NYC, among other things. There are a lot of bike lanes and paths for a vocal bike community, but it don't make the average resident fit. Sprinting can come in handy to avoid getting mugged at the state fair, but it doesn't mean that many people there run.
Worse yet, the political culture there limits what could be a real good MTB scene, to take one example. So, there are a lot of bike riders, but the MTBing is limited despite lots of good terrain. The best skate spots are private clubs, because MSP tax dollars aren't directed towards what could be a great chain of public skateparks. The best bike parks are well outside MSP, again despite great terrain and the small footprint of a bike park. You have to fly to Wisconsin to get the best nearby MTB, no lie. Tennis? Again, remarkably underserved relative to similar size towns. So, I'm glad that a highly politicized study complimented MSP for all its dog parks and baseball diamonds -- where dog owners stand around...dog parks have zero relationship to fitness -- but if you go to Lund's or to the farmer's market, it's still a fat set of towns, even when you see upper middle class professionals collected to buy groceries.
Boulder, which is in some ways even more liberal, is a fit town, just like SLC and Park City, also liberal towns, are as well.
MSP has good fishing inside the city boundaries, I give you that, in part because the population is so sedentary and doesn't get out much, even to fish, so a lot of the public parks get surprisingly little fishing pressure. So it is doing better than Hartford on that front. If the goal is to talk minority populations as a badge of liberal status, along with the dog parks, MSP also has more Somalis than Hartford, for sure, though I feel compelled to note that not only Hartford has a large minority population, but so do fit places like SLC.