Filed under: Advocacy, Education, Issues, Lifestyle, Outreach
Guest post by B.C. Brown, La Crosse resident and author of “Spot’s Parking Lot”
I have great admiration for the determined and courageous individuals who make their commutes and other trips by bike in all types of weather (like Mike) and on all types of roads (where legal, at least).
I’m afraid, though, that I fall into more of the fair-weather, sometimes brave, but sometimes cautious-cat category. Some potential trips just make me go “nah.”
They’re usually to sprawled areas, and besides the multilane roads and high speeds at which people are driving, part of what makes them unfriendly and dangerous-feeling to the unmotorized is the overly generous amount of space dedicated to parking. Those seas of asphalt that must be crossed. It’s always nice when establishments offer bicycle parking near the door, but sometimes getting to that door is, well, rather daunting.
If we want places that feel walkable and bikeable to larger numbers of us, we need to reconsider this development pattern.
“Spot’s Parking Lot” is my recently published children’s picture book wherein a terrier does the considering. Donald Shoup, author of The High Cost of Free Parking writes: “Spot’s Parking Lot will not only entertain children but also subtly educate them about cities, economics, and the environment.”
More info and related bits of writing (more for adults) are available at http://www.espressopress.com. The book (softcover, $8.99) is available for purchase locally at the Myrick Hixon EcoPark gift shop.
B.C. (Bridget) Brown, firstname.lastname@example.org
(Not to be confused with B.C. Brown the multigenre novelist in Indiana, or Brigit Brown, Wisconsin State Trails Coordinator…)
Filed under: Advocacy, Commuting, DRBC, Education, Events, How To, Lifestyle, Outreach
Bike to Work Week is May 8 through the 16th in the La Crosse area this year.
It is your excuse to try bicycle commuting.
We have lots of fun (and free!) things to do this week to encourage everyone to give it a try. If you can only manage National Bike to Work Day on Friday, awesome, but you will miss some neat stuff we planned for you this year!
The quick list of events in the Driftless Region:
Thurs-La Crosse-Hamilton School Bike Rodeo-5-6:30PM
Friday-Repair Cafe’ will be at Cameron Park during the Farmers Market for quick (free labor) bike tune-ups.
Sat thru Fri- Bike to Coffee (FREE COFFEE!)
Sat-La Crosse-Vintage Ride-Wine Guyz-4PPM Bring your old single, 3, 10 or 12 speed bikes for ride.
Sat & Sun-Bike to Worship
Sun-La Crosse- Mother of all Bike Rides-Riverside Park, International Gardens-9AM Round trip ride to Onalaska for a light breakfast.
Mon- Two Group rides: Onalaska-Blue Heron Bike Shop-6PM and at La Crescent-Old Hickory Park-6:30PM
Tue-Onalaska-Breakfast at ‘The Y’ 6:30-8AM
Tue-South Side Library-Bike Decorating and Parade-4PM
Wed-La Crosse-Breakfast at ‘The Y’ 6:30-8AM
Wed-’Free Wheelin’ Wednsday’ at the Pearl Street Brewery (FREE BEER!)-4 til 8PM
Thurs-Tour de Java morning ride (meet at Moka)-6AM
Thurs-Ride with Cops Family Ride-Cameron Park-6PM
Thurs-La Crosse- ‘The Y’-(18+) Go By Bike Class-6:30PM
Fri-Cameron Park-Closing Ceremony-5-7PM Music provided by ‘Grand Picnic’
Sat-Westby-Syttende Mai Tour-8AM
Sat-Onalaska-’The Y’ Family Bike Class, ages 9+ with parent-10AM
Sat-La Crescent-Apple Blossom Bike Tour
Saturday, May 31-La Crosse-’The Y’ Family Bike class, ages 9+ with parent-10AM
There are several pdf’s to print out so you don’t miss a thing!
Send questions to:
Why park the car at home?
I get asked, “Why would I want to ride my bike to work? I have a car?” I query back, “Would you like to have more money in your pocket?” “Would you like to feel happier when you arrive at your destination?” “How about getting the great parking spots near the door?” Bike to Work Week is there to help you have an excuse to try it out.
-The average cost of a car in the US is almost $10,000 a year! Think of having an extra $190 ‘every week’ in your pocket! Simple, use another method of transporting yourself. Riding a bike is fast and efficient transportation.
-Even a short 1 or 2 mile ride does wonders for your health. Gets your blood moving and fresh air in your lungs. When you arrive and park the bike (near the door!), your body has the energy rolling and ready to use.
-Bike racks are usually closest to the doors just about everywhere. I park my bike in the garage at work, even the boss doesn’t get to park his private car in the garage.
-When you get the question on why you rode your bike, just say, “It’s Bike to Work Week” . Then when you decide to keep riding, let them know you found riding to work better that week and decided to keep doing it.
You have the perfect excuse to try riding to work.
You have a reason to do it ($$).
You have someone who will help you (us at DRBC).
Join us. Ride to work during this years Bike to Work Week.
Looking forward to seeing you at the events,
President, Driftless Region Bicycle Coalition
I would like to add extra special thanks to the DRBC BTWW Committee, everyone really did a great job! Thank you.
Filed under: Advocacy, Commuting, Education, Issues, Lifestyle, Outreach
If someone is on a bike, they are not in a car adding to the traffic around me.
Bikes don’t use parking lots, more parking stalls available for me to park my car.
Less demand for gas allows prices to come down.
Bikes don’t cause as much wear and tear on the roads making them last longer.
Bike lanes and paths are good, they take the bikes off the main traffic lanes and out of my way.
Bike paths cost a fraction per mile compared to roads. Expanding more road lanes causes construction delays. More bike paths equals shorter construction season hassles and lower taxes because less of my tax money is spent on expanding roads.
Bikers pay more taxes (general fund) per mile for the roads they ride on (a large chunk of the general fund is used to build roads. Motorist taxes don’t cover the whole cost of road infrastructure, thus the general fund makes up the difference) Subsidizes the smaller amount per mile I pay for my car.
Bike riders are healthier, lowering my insurance premiums.
Bike riders use more local shops and stores giving me more eating, entertainment and shopping choices.
Filed under: Advocacy, Commuting, Education, Gear, How To, Outreach
I ride, a bicycle, in Wisconsin, year round…
In my discussions with cycling friends who only ride in fair weather, here is my conclusion. I will assume they are like other normal people and are a good sampling of the population.
They don’t ride in the winter because: It’s cold, and slippery, and cold. I did have a concern or two about their steeds and the salt, but mostly, it’s cold.
My answer is usually a question. You live in the midwest, it gets cold here, you don’t seem to suffer from bouts of hypothermia, how do you stay warm? And thus, I answer their biggest problem with riding in the winter.
Second big problem is usually the snow and ice on the roads. This is the more complicated answer, one most cyclists enjoy though. Buy stuff for your bike. This is a list of possibles:
Studded tires- they just work. Carbide studs last a long time. Tires are easy to change, most cyclists should know how to fix a flat.
Fenders- there are easy to put on fenders using rubber straps, some snap on to the frame or, have permanant ones put on. I reccomend having a shop put them on. They can be a pain to line up.
A bag- any bag you can carry an extra layer of clothing, batteries for lights (I assume you have them already) and other bits of bike nessessity. I use a Messenger bag but any backpack, bike trunk or pannier bag works. If you need water proof, use ziplock bags.
The big thing that I have added to my bike for cold weather riding are: POGIES! – these are the big handlebar mitts. Every type I have tried are warm, some are not waterproof. Everyone I know who has them becomes a winter rider. They range from $20 for ATV mitts to $100 for the super Alaskian type. I generalize extremely, just search for ‘bicycle bar mitts’ or ‘pogies’.
You don’t have to ride in the snow. The streets clear off a couple days after a snow and are quite passable. Riding in the snow can be challenging, expecially when there is loose snow to go through. Mostly, keep yourself kind of fluid and roll with it. Momentium will get you through, always ‘be ready’ for the bike to slip when going through the loose stuff or over ice if you don’t have studs.
Simple answer to riding in the winter, in Wisconsin. Wear warm, layers work best but, any warm will do.
Look for the next article: How I ride in the winter- The gear.
Join us in bringing in the new year with Matthew and the Onabike crew at their annual 1-1-1 ride. Departs 1:00 p.m. from the visitors center on Main st. in Onalaska. Distance varies depending on the weather and who shows up. Past ride have varied in distance from 6-32 miles. This will be the 17th year for the ride.