Bike Anywhere 2015

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Free Wheelin’ Wednesdays

June 3rd, 10th  & every Wednesday throughout the year, 4:00 – 8:00 pm

Pearl Street Brewery, 1401 St. Andrews St., La Crosse

Bike to the brewery and enjoy a free beer

C.R.A.P (Cheeseburgers, Ride, Ales and Pins) Ride

June 3rd, 10th & every Wednesday throughout the year

Depart from Pearl St. Brewery at 6:05 for a casual group ride through La Crosse’s neighborhoods, enjoy a $3 burger at Ye Olde Style Inn and finish the ride with bowling at Pla-mor (2 games and shoe rental for $5)

Led by Michael Barreyro, ph 715-586-1736

Bike to Coffee

Sunday, June 7-Saturday, June 13

Bike to coffee, show your helmet & enjoy a free cup a coffee.

Grounded Specialty – Bean Juice – Java Vino – Jules – McCaffrey’s – Moka – Ground Up – Root Note – Cabin Coffee – People’s Food Coop – River Rocks – Blue Dog -The Pearl Coffee House – 500 Club Bistro in legacy building Gundersen

Bike Rodeo

Sunday, June 7, noon

Hogan Administrative Building, 807 East Ave., La Crosse

Have the kids complete the bicycle safety course. Following the bike rodeo there will be a neighborhood group ride.

Led by Carolyn Dvorak, carolyn.dvorak@WisconsinBikeFed.org

Bike Ride with Kevin Miller and Carolyn Dvorak from Blue Heron Bike Shop

Monday, June 8, 6pm

Blue Heron Bike Shop, 213 Main St., Onalaska

Bike from the Blue Heron Bike Shop to the North Side of La Crosse and back.  Estimated distance 10-15 miles.

Wisconsin Bike Fed’s Executive Director, Dave Cieslewicz will take a bike ride with Mayor Kabat from City Hall

Tuesday, June 9, 8am

Everyone is welcome to join.

Women’s Bike Ride from River Trail Cycles

Wednesday, June 10, 5:45pm

River Trail Cycles, 106 Mason Street, Onalaska

Women’s Road Ride 25- 30 miles with a couple of hills; no one will be left behind

Led by Carolyn Dvorak, carolyn.dvorak@WisconsinBikeFed.org

Bike to Loggers Baseball Game

Thursday, June 11

Bike Basics Class

Thursday, June 11, 6:00 – 7:00 pm

People’s Food Co-op, Community Room, 315 5th Ave. S., La Crosse

$5 PFC Members/ $10 Nonmembers

A must attend for both novice and avid bikers. Colin Stiemke of Blue Heron Bikes will show you the basics from lubing a bike chain to tire pressure and brake adjustments; learn basic repairs to keep you on the road.

Bike Week Celebration

Friday, June 12 4:00 – 8:00

Cameron Park Farmer’s Market, La Crosse

Enjoy music by Grand Picnic & learn more about how the DRBC is working to improve bicycling in the driftless region.

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Lake Pepin 3-speed Tour 2015

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Before you leave thinking this is just another ride report from yet another ‘bike ride’, please take in the description of this event.

 

 

This is a tour on 3-speed bikes (requirement)
English bikes (almost essential, at least a Sturmey/Archer hub)
Pre-war dress (tweed!)

and tea…

Think about that picture.
A line of 30-50 white tailed Raleigh 3-speed bikes lined up surrounded by lots of tweed.
Now think of seeing a mile of black upright bikes with wool and tweedy prewar fashon rolling by.

Quite a site even if you don’t do vintage. If you do, there’s more than just Raleighs present. Many prewar bikes make the trip.

Every 6 to 10 miles, they stop.

FB_IMG_1431821922211All day they ride past beautiful scenery, lie in the grass with a glass of wine, chat with each other while rolling along, help a fellow rider, make tea on an amazing vistas, enjoy a piece of pie on the porch and a pint on the patio.

The old English way of going for a bike ride is the most laid back I can think of. The bikes are made to haul a modest load (picnic basket, bottle of wine), are sturdy and comfortable. A rolling stroll through the countryside with English manners.

Now the ride report:

5AM- Awake with much anticipation
6AM- Arrive to pick up riding companion
8ish- Redwing starting area. Registration, drop off gear in the lorry, wander, chat and drool over the amazing collection of vintage bikes.
Opening ceremony -Tongue in cheek blessing of the bikes, quite funny complete with multi page bible(ish) read along and song handout done by real vicar in collar.
9ish- Roll out, not everyone, just sort of leave when you’re done chatting in the parking lot.

From here there will be no real time references.

Nice long line of white tailed bikes rolled across ol’ Miss and proceeded to take a variety of routes which all seemed to meet at Bay City.

FB_IMG_1431788850035We stopped for (a well made, from scratch) Bloody Mary at Hase Loft. Saw the Bay City hill. Had another Bloody…

Bay City hill-longest climb at the start of the ride. Good thing I had a flask of brandy along…reward for the climb, courage for upcoming plunge downhill (these are old vintage bikes remember).

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Somewhere near the Maiden rock, we found that a crank cotter pin could be replaced at a wayside. Full selection of pins with pin press and experienced mechanic, right there at the wayside. Just when my riding companion needed one. Much thanks and a beer at the last stop of the day were offered and accepted.

On to the Village of Maiden Rock for a pint and some food on Oly’s patio. Then fresh rhubarb pie on the porch of Smiling Pelican Bake Shop. Oh my.
Stockholm was next inline, several blocks of stores and shops, population- 66. I think every resident must have their own business, not an empty store front. We had a pint at Gelly’s after strolling around town and listening to the live music playing in the park.

A stop in Pepin is recommended. The ride through the marsh is long, straight and boring. Kind of a green tunnel with bad bridge seams. The rise out of the marsh is almost a revelation. Suddenly there are the great views again.

Neson just around the corner, a stop at Nelson Creamery for ice cream or a pint of micro-brew, your choice.

One more up and over into Wabasha and meet at Eagle Nest Coffee.

Camping in Malone Park with the geese.

A pint or so at Eagle Nest
Diner (Irish Stew) and a pint at Olde Triangle Pub
Couple pints at Slippery’s
Time for bed.
Morning coffee (fresh ground) before tearing down camp.
Ride around town.

Meet at Eagle Nest, discuss how MN doesn’t allow Bloody Mary’s before 10AM on Sunday. Breakfast of egg bake, fruit, various breads, coffee, OJ, still no bloody’s…

Rollout about 10ish
We found our Bloody’s at Port 104 in Lake City before the Brew Up. We needed it, a flat on the ol’ Raleigh got us the use of a wrench and a new tube from our fellow riders about half way to town.

The Brew Up is a group tea event in Ohuta Park. What can I say? A hundred people making tea at a park, in prewar clothing and riding vintage bikes. About it…
IMG_20150517_132755A visit to a civil war era residential area is next. Why? Well, an old stone wall of course. We’re all full of tea, time to stop for a nice cigar or pipe filled with tasty tobacco. Not a requirement, mostly another nice place to stop and chat.

A ride through Frontenac State Park. Quick stop to realize the Raleigh had a stripped rear axle bolt causing the balding tire to rub on the chainstay. Onward, up and down Hill Ave (gravel).
Straight to Redwing from there, end of the ride.

I believe we did about 85 miles, drank 4 or 5 Bloody Mary’s each, a few pints and most of the brandy in my flask.

Can’t wait ’til next year.

Please visit the Lake Pepin 3-speed Tour website for a much better description of the event.

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Construction Ahead: Transportation Planning in 2015

Big changes are proposed for transportation in the La Crosse region this year, with high stakes for everyone, including cyclists and pedestrians. There’s a limited window of opportunity for the public to be involved in the complicated plans; here is a bare-bones summary of many different issues with a few specific links, dates and events. But things are changing so fast that this list will probably be outdated by the time it hits the web, so be ready to sprint to stay informed.

 

Dates to remember:

 

February 23, 7PM, Myrick Center La Crosse – City Transportation Vision – opening public meeting

February 26, 7PM, Myrick Center La Crosse – City Transportation Vision – closing public meeting

April 11, 8AM-Noon, Myrick Center La Crosse – Mayor’s Neighborhood Conference: Transportation

TBD – State DOT Coulee Region Transportation Study public meetings

 

After decades of complicated history, including a referendum in 1998 and a spirited discussion before the La Crosse Area Planning Commission in 2014, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation has announced a new study of what was once known as the north/south corridor. This project is described in state law as covering USH 53 extending approximately 6.2 miles between I 90 and USH 14/61 near 7th Street, but recent public statements from the DOT have broadened the area to include WI-16 and WI-35 along with USH 53. In La Crosse itself, those highways are better known as Copeland, Rose, George, 3rd, 4th and La Crosse streets as well as West Avenue and Lang Drive.

Now under the name Coulee Region Transportation Study, the DOT is conducting a year-long process to come up with a plan for a major highway construction project, listed in state law for decades (though still without dedicated funding set aside for its estimated $140 million price tag). While state statute seems to require this type of project to either build new road or add new lanes to existing roads, the DOT has indicated that many different options are still possible; at this point in early 2015, no one knows what the recommended option will be – a new highway? New lanes on existing highways? New technology or improved roads? No new construction?

In the planning world, one year is an incredibly short time, and indeed this is an accelerated process that is entirely new to the region: it’s an innovation known as Planning and Environmental Linkages, or PEL, an attempt to speed up existing National Environmental Policy Act requirements for environmental studies that has only been applied once before in Wisconsin. While observers don’t know a great deal about this new process, we can see that public involvement in the early stages is incredibly important to the eventual outcome. The study’s Citizen’s Advisory Groups have already been formed. If they’ve not been invited to those positions, DRBC members can sign up for announcements of upcoming public meetings to get their viewpoints included in the DOT planning process.

No matter what option is planned, it will still have to go through environmental permitting and the state budgeting process, in a time of great budget uncertainty. This means that the possible eventualities range from nothing at all to the largest construction project in the region. With this huge variety of outcomes, there is of course a chance of great impact on cyclists and pedestrians – will increasing traffic volume, speed, or lane numbers on north/south roads include bicycle traffic options, on-street lanes or off-street paths? What about transit? Will changing north/south roads alter the ability of cyclists and pedestrians to move east/west in La Crosse? What will be the impact future land use patterns for neighborhoods, suburbs and surrounding communities?

1.  La Crosse City Transportation Vision

In an attempt to contribute to the state DOT’s planning process over the rest of the year, the city of La Crosse is organizing its own Transportation Vision process. The first public meeting is Monday, February 23rd at 7PM at the Myrick Center, with additional meetings with key stakeholders and open office hours over the rest of the week and a closing presentation Thursday, February 26th at 7PM. (Complete schedule). Consultant Toole Design Group, a firm with nationally-recognized expertise in complete streets design and bike-ped planning, will use these meetings as a basis for a document summarizing a city Transportation Vision, which the DOT has indicated that they will include in their own planning.

2.   Mayor’s Neighborhood Conference

With all of these transportation issues going on, it makes sense that the La Crosse Mayor’s Neighborhood Conference would pick transportation as its theme for this year. Come to the Myrick Center April 11, 8AM – 1PM to hear invited keynote speaker Chuck Marohn of the nonprofit Strong Towns, reports from neighborhood associations, tables and information from representatives from groups and companies involved in transportation, and short presentations on a variety of transportation topics in the region.

3.  Wisconsin

Of course, all of this is happening with a background of a rapidly-changing state budget. In particular, the proposed Senate Bill 21 would repeal Wisconsin’s Complete Streets law. As the Wisconsin Bike Fed puts it, The law requires that bicyclists and pedestrians be taken into account whenever a road is built or reconstructed with state or federal funds. In addition, SB 21 would eliminate all state support for the Transportation Alternatives Program (cutting about $2 million from state bike programs and construction projects), and essentially eliminate the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Fund, which funds state trail purchases.

There are obvious implications for state-controlled road building here in the La Crosse region, which has recently jumped into a leading position in complete streets planning. The County and City of La Crosse and the City of Onalaska all have passed their own complete streets ordinances in the last several years, with the DRBC’s support. Along with a 2011 La Crosse Area Planning Commission resolution, the city and county ordinances were recently named in The Best Complete Streets Policies of 2014 by the non-profit Smart Growth America. Respectively, they were ranked 4th, 6th, and 25th in their categories from the more than 700 policies examined nationwide. While no one knows what might happen in practice if the state eliminates its own complete streets requirements, in principle it certainly looks like a step backward for sustainable transportation options in the La Crosse region if SB 21 is passed with the repeal intact.

 

For all of these issues, the best way to stay involved is to stay informed; I encourage DRBC members to follow the issues that motivate them and attend the city Transportation Vision meetings, February 23-26, as a key opportunity to contribute to the future of getting around in the La Crosse region.

 

— James Longhurst is an associate professor at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse, studying the history of urban and environmental policy. He is the author of Bike Battles: A History of Sharing the American Road, out this spring from the University of Washington Press.

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A New Year

As a new year is upon us, many make resolutions to change what they feel needs to be. The DRBC is ever changing and adapting to the needs of its members and riders in our region. We have been discussing modernizing the website with emphasis on mobile devices. Please keep checking back as we rebuild.

Thank you for your support and have a great year.

Michael Baker

President, Driftless Region Bicycle Coalition

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