I went for a ride today. There was an annual ride happening and I wanted to check it out. I left the house after putting on the appropriate clothing, stopped to put some bills in the mail and then chose my route to the ride. I arrived early enough to roll down to the local bar/restaurant for a bloody mary and get a banana from the gas station. The ride started on time with 9 of us rolling north into a nice north wind with mostly dry pavement under the tires. We arrived at the end of the road and stopped to chat and grab a picture to record the New Years ride. We rolled down hill with a tailwind most of the way back and each rider pealed off and headed for home as we reached their turns. The last 3 of us went down to two as I decided to stop at the home store to get a couple items for home. While I was wandering the isles a couple of friends called and we decided to meet at the Legion for a drink and food. After a couple Guinness, we headed in our home directions. I arrived home before dark with about 30 miles on the saddle.
Sounds like a typical ride, no big deal, do it all the time. Well, yeah. I do. And I enjoy it even though it was 5°F, I was riding my winter beater fixed-gear 26″ studded tire bike. This thing is no speed machine, but it does take the winter abuse pretty well. It’s geared low, but not that low. The routes to the ride were snow covered and of course half into a Midwest winter north wind. I stopped 3 times throughout the day and each time I had ice on my beard that took me a couple minutes to melt off with my hands. I was the last to arrive at the stopping point on the official ride (half mile behind the ‘peloton’). Normally, I would push the group with my summer fixed gear bike (geared high) and charge up hill with all the challenge it is to mash a big gear up hill, but it is cold out. Sanity rules out and slow is better as sweating makes you cold and the ride back would have been hypothermia for me. Sounds bad. It wasn’t. It was fun. Outside, bicycle, friends and a beer or two. Yeah, it was a good day.
Happy New Year fellow cyclists, get out and ride, any time, any weather. Riding is always good.
Bicycle Commuting in a heat wave.
Western Wisconsin has been suffering through a heat wave for the past few weeks. Despite the heat there are still lots of bicyclists out on the road commuting to work, shop or just heading out for a cool drink with friends. Just like winter, the hot humid summers here can pose challenges for some bicyclists. Here are a couple of thoughts about bicycle commuting in a heat wave.
- Timing: Try leaving for work a bit earlier when it is more likely to be cooler.
- Slow Down: If you follow tip one, you should have plenty of time to ride a bit slower, that way you will sweat less. Plus you will get to enjoy the scenery more.
- Axe the Packs: Backpacks and messenger bags can look cool, but they can leave you with a sweaty back. Try equipping your bike with a rack and panniers. If you have a rack but not panniers, use a couple of bungee cords to hold your pack/bag securely to the rack.
- What to Wear: Light weight natural fiber clothing will keep you cooler, but will show wrinkles a bit more. A hat or helmet with a brim will keep the sun off you face and having a bandana handy will let you mop any sweat off your brow. I also like wearing my sandals and rolling up my pant legs when the thermostat goes up. Short pants or skirts are also a way to keep cool, just watch out for sunburn. Read more
By Ross Seymour
Wisconsin has a short statute on how people are to use bike/ped paths. Those rules are found at Sec. 346.803 of the Wisconsin statutes. The rules apply to “Bicycle Ways.” Bicycle ways are defined as any path or sidewalk designated for the use of bicycles by the relevant governmental body. (Sec. 340.01(5s)) Bicycle ways are distinguished from bicycle lanes. Lanes are for the exclusive use of bicycles while ways are not exclusively for bicycles (presumably to include pedestrians).
First, the bicyclist must exercise due care and give an audible signal when passing another bicyclist or a pedestrian. Due care would mean giving a wide enough berth while passing or taking care to pass on a section where it would be safe. While most bicycle ways around here have good sight lines there are a few places where you can’t see far ahead enough to pass safely. On a regular road these sections would have “no passing” signs or markings.
The audible signal requirement actually comes out of the Rule of the Road for motor vehicles. A little known requirement is that when passing another automobile, the passing car is required to give an audible signal while passing (presumable a toot of the horn). (Sec. 346.07(3)) An “audible signal” is left undefined by the statutes. Read more
Filed under: Advocacy, Bike Lanes, Bike Paths, Commuting, DRBC, Lifestyle
Found Online is a collection of links to interesting articles and items we come across online. Most of these are also posted to our Facebook page throughout the month (be sure to like our page) as we find them and are put here about once a month.
The best biking cities of the East race toward Gold: Boston, New York City and Washington, D.C. all receive Silver-level designations
The City of Onalaska, Wi submitted an application for Bicycle Friendly Status in the last round of the League of American Bicyclists (LAB), Bicycle Friendly Community program. We are sorry to report that they did not receive this recognition but did receive and honorable mention. We hope for the opportunity to work with the city on achieving this status in the future, as well as working on Complete Streets. If your community is interested in applying the DRBC would be happpy to help.
The LAB has also just released the latest annual ranking of Bicycle Friendly States. This year Wisconsin slip from the number 2 spot to number 3, main based on the efforts of Maine, who was in a close 3 place last year and moved to number 2 this year. Wisconsin had held the number 2 spot for the past three years. Minnesota maintain its numbe 4 ranking for the second year in row. For more information on the program and on the scoring of the individual states go the LAB program website here.