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, Bike Paths, Commuting, How To, Lifestyle
The elation of not having to deal with riding in subzero weather is amazing, uplifting and very welcome.
It really isn’t hard to ride in below zero temperatures. Put some layers on and go.
My winter beater (named the ‘Wynott’) has been reliable all winter. More reliable than my summer bikes. No flats, no chain problems, no brake problems (no brakes), no gearing problems (1 gear) and only one day I had to walk the bike (1 block) because the snow on the road was impassable (I did slog my way about 10 blocks before just not being able to find a track). Not bad for my 5 miles per day commute plus 3-10 miles for entertainment rides (music and bar hopping mostly). I did have (normal?) saddle problems on longer rides (cheap saddle) and will skip the graphic description. Solved with bike shorts.
So, as one of the ‘extreme’ riders, I admit to a little hardship. I admit that riding year round takes effort. It just takes putting in your head that this is how you get around. I suppose the same thing could be used if you only had a horse for transportation. Think of the maintenance on that vehicle!
The big drive for me to use a bike as transportation is the money and time I save (yes, I said time). If I had a car, I figure I would have to work a second job to be able to spend money the way I do. Plus time and bloody knuckles fixing and maintaining a late model car (there goes my Saturday or Sunday afternoons). I have been there and done that on cars. We always had two. Now with just one, I keep it better maintained (I can afford to pay ‘the man’) and it lasts longer (this one is 10yrs old and will probably last 10 more).
I do seem to keep bring up the same thing when I write about bicycle commuting. Sorry, guess it emphasizes the truth of it. I admit to have an ‘ideal’ commute, but then, I live and work where I do on purpose. I chose a job near my home. I chose a home near the places I need and want to go to. Sometimes it takes time and planning, it did for me. Now I have it. If you want it, plan for it, execute the plan, then, enjoy the benefits. End bicycle commuting rant…;-)
Springtime is upon us. It will snow again, it’s still a bit chilly, but at least we can remove ‘Polar Vortex’ from everyday use.
Filed under: Commuting, DRBC, Events, Gear, How To, Lifestyle
I live in Wisconsin. The weather changes. Duh. Nothing new, it’s everyday. We get melting heat in the hundreds with humidity that you can almost swim through. We get rain and storms that cause flooding (that you literally swim through) and we get cold. This year we seem to be getting plenty of that. Subzero temps have been the norm for weeks now. I seem to be one of a small group that has decided to simply deal with it. This group, by the way, is growing. We don extra layers, mittens, facemasks and goggles. The snow for skiing and snowshoeing is really good, the fat tire bike group has over a dozen riders each week, I see fellow bicycle commuters everyday. The city is doing their normal job on the streets and they are passable. I ride daily and haven’t had to deal with ‘too much snow to ride through’ yet. Outdoors in Wisconsin, in Winter, is still good, add a layer.
I was looking through my calendar and realized how much I do outside in the winter. I have been going out more lately as the temps dropped. Every night for almost a week I was getting home around Midnight. That’s not normal, guess there’s just too much fun stuff to do. Rode to PSB on Wednesday for a free pint, strapped the skis to the bike Thursday for ski night at the golf course, great music downtown Friday and Saturday night, Sunday, skied at the golf course early, then rode to a friends for the Superbowl, snowshoed for a couple hours with them before the game.
I find the key to everyday outdoors is stay warm and have some lighting. The skiers use strap on head lights to light the trail at night. Bikes of course have bike lights and reflective stuff. When the moon is out, snowshoeing by moon light is amazing.
The cold is just cold, use what works. The darkness is defeated by simple cheap lighting. Friendship in the cold grows, the experience together is more intense. Enjoying a hot toddy or coffee afterwards just sounds good. Chatting about ‘the crazy headwind’ or how ‘noisy the snow is at this temperature’ becomes normal conversation.
Don’t be afraid of the cold dark Winter, warm it with activity, friendship and fun. Before you know it, we’ll be swimming through the humidity of Summer…
Filed under: Advocacy, Commuting, Gear, How To, Lifestyle
I have seen cyclists use about anything when riding in the winter. Mountain bikes, cross bikes, old Schwinns, even skinny tire road bikes. They all work. Some are more adept to the road conditions. I think a low center of gravity is the less ‘skiddish’ an more enjoyable ride. I have a fixed gear bike that has a high center. I leave it hanging until the streets are dry. My steed of choice for any of my daily winter commuting is an old cheap mountain bike that is 3 sizes too small for me with studded tires…and a fixed gear rear wheel. I also don’t have brakes. I do take simplicity to a bit extreme this way, but then I also love fixed gear bikes. That’s another article…
So, let me start with clothing, then the bike and bits.
I ride daily, my commutes vary in time and length so I try to be ready and versatile. My 2 mile ride to work is less layered because my work uniform is not good cycling clothing and it is a pretty short ride. I mostly use rain pants and a warm layer coat and high viz shell coat, warm hat or balaclava (facemask), winter boots. I keep street shoes at the shop. The pogies allow for thin cheap gloves (the end stand, one size fits all type found in department stores). I’m thus ready for rain, wind and cold. Non work day riding finds me wearing more like the following.
So, (right to left in the picture) there is an underarmor type long sleeve, a thin wool sweater, thin down coat and hi viz rain/wind coat. Jeans, wool socks, bike cap and helmet with the holes filled with foam I had left over from the extra pads. Sorell type boots. Rode all morning (about 30 miles with stops in between for errands), kept warm and was even getting a bit sweaty at 20°F. I add a thin layer like a long sleeve t-shirt over the first layer if the temp is below 10°F and have a thicker down coat for below zero. Usually the gloves and pogies are good to about zero, then I use ski type gloves.
Probably missed something, but you get the gist.
My bike is a custom beater built up on a department store mountain bike frame (named ‘Wynott’ as an opposite to my Wyatt fixed gear). I built up a 26″ fixed gear rear and have stainless chainring and cog. Not needed, just had them. Any drivetrain is good if it is kept lubed up. The seat is kept so my legs are flexed too much but I am close to the ground and more stable. Tires are 160 carbide stud tires. Carbide vs steel. In mixed riding (some exposed pavement, some packed snow and ice) go for the carbides. If you are riding on ice and packed snow, steel is less expensive and will work as well. The big key is maintenance. Either leave it frozen outside or bring it in and rinse it off with a pitcher of hot water to get the salt off. I do both, the water will cause you to need to lube the drivetrain more often. As you can see, Wynott is not fancy. Use any bike you have, but maintain it and it will serve you well in the cold and snow.
The bits. Platform pedals big enough to hold your snow boots. The pogies are hunters muffs. I got two and zip tied them to the handlebars. I have ATV mitts on a different bike. The fenders, front one is bolted on and has a DIY extension, the back fender is zip tied on. Lights of course. That about covers it.
On to the ride…