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Dave Olson, Published August 25 2013

Bodies in motion as Fargo’s streets come alive

FARGO – A body in motion tends to stay in motion.

Sir Isaac Newton’s first law of motion was in full force Sunday during StreetsAlive, an event in the Fargo-Moorhead area during which miles of streets are blocked off to encourage unfettered biking, walking, rollerblading and other forms of locomotion.

Ed Heiser, 74, was getting around just fine on a three-wheeled bike, something that wouldn’t have been possible four years ago after he suffered a stroke that left his right side paralyzed.

Today, he has much of his mobility back, thanks in part, he says, to the bike he acquired about six months ago and now rides about every other day.

The effort was made easier Sunday with the streets cleared of motorized traffic.

“You don’t get no vehicles down here,” Heiser confirmed after steering his bike to the curb on Fargo’s Broadway to take a break from pedaling.

Matt Gilbertson also found the lack of traffic a plus as he walked Broadway with his girlfriend, Rachel Benz, and a black Lab named Jager.

“It’s kind of fun to be able to walk in the middle of the road and not get yelled at,” Gilbertson said.

Gilbertson and Benz said they’ve participated in past StreetsAlive events and have come to enjoy what is turning into something of a tradition.

Gilbertson said he likes the activities and demonstrations that pop up along the walking/riding route, including Sunday’s pole vaulting demonstration.

“And fencing,” Benz added, referring to a display of street swordsmanship.

Other StreetsAlive regulars included Anna and Steve Moser, a couple who have volunteered for the event in the past and were helping out again on Sunday by shuttling refreshments to where they were needed.

“It’s our fourth year, I think,” Steve Moser said, adding they got involved with StreetsAlive as a favor to Rory Beil, director of the Cass Clay Healthy People Initiative.

Anna Moser said Beil coached her in track at Fargo South High School.

“Just a nice guy, the kind of guy you want to help,” Steve Moser said.

Tracy and Randy Walvatne, owners of Josie’s Corner Café and Bake Shop in downtown Fargo, were doing their part to promote StreetsAlive on Sunday.

The shop is normally closed Sundays, but Tracy Walvatne said they stay open during StreetsAlive to give people an air-conditioned spot to cool their heels.

They also provide a base of operations for the Fargo Moorhead Square Dancers Association, members of which performed dances Sunday afternoon.

“We’re here just to support the event,” Tracy Walvatne said.

“We love Streets-Alive. We think it’s just a fantastic event,” she added.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555