Although I have a nice road bike and a great mountain bike, I use my trike (TRuck biKE) 95% of the time, to go shopping, to meetings, anywhere around town or the vicinity. An 18 speed with a rugged frame and mountain bike tires gets me anywhere via the gouged up streets of Waukesha or back trails, over curbs and up hills. I can throw some tools in the baskets, or a bone for the local dog, or fill them with groceries while keeping the center of gravity low and stable. .
Waukesha's biggest regular social ride is back for 2011 with 5 dates planned. The rides take place on the middle Friday of the odd months at 7pm. The casual rides are open to anyone interested in seeing the city by bike and trying new places downtown. Come be a part of it!
January 21 March 18 July 22 September 9 November 18
Started three years ago among a group of friends, these rides have gained in popularity as a way to showcase the great recreational biking and vibrant downtown atmosphere Waukesha has to offer. If you'd like your business to be part of Rockesha, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. .
Here's my Raleigh Pursuit. I use it for trips to the library, bank, Panos, social outings, and short shopping trips. My husband bought it at St. Vincent de Paul and spruced up with a very fine Sunringle wheelset, a basket, and more "wraparound"-type handlebars. I love the fact that it's a step-through frame with an upright seated position. My other bikes are designed for more agressive riding, which means it's uncomfortable--or revealing--to use street clothes when I'm riding them. But with my red Raleigh, I can wear jeans, a low-cut top, or even a skirt, and feel completely comfortable!
Future upgrades: A bigger, sturdy basket that doesn't slip (mounted to the headtube), and a bell. .
With not enough snow to ski yet and enough cold days commuting on the road this week, a snowy mountain bike ride on the Menominee River trails with some of the Wauwatosa crew sounded like a good idea this morning, and it was! We started at Hoyt Park and headed all the way North. The trails from Hoyt to Mayfair Rd. were fairly icy, but the Oak Hill loops from Capitol and passed Hampton were very nice. With a 32:17 gear on the 1x1 and 2.35 tires @ 20psi, it was the ideal set up for the couple inches of snow and intermittent ice. While the temps were chilly, offroad riding is more of a workout and the wooded trails are out of the wind. A winter jacket & knickers over long underwear, lobster claw gloves winter shoes and cap were adequate for the sunny day in the woods. If you want to get out, don't be afraid to give snowbiking a try! .
Well, I love my bike because we became one while riding around the world together. It deserves to be hanging on the wall, but I just can't part with it, and now I still use it for exercise, commuting and grocery shopping in good ol' Waukesha.
If you want to check out Scott's book or keep up on his adventures, you can find him at theargonauts.com. .
After his hiatus, Milwaukee Bicycle and Pedestrian Cooridnator Dave Schlabowske looks to be reupdating his blog Over The Bars. The progress he's helped make in Milwaukee is an inspiration for what we're trying to achieve in our own city and county. Give it a read! .
Potentially extending the Lake Country Trail to Watertown. And then eventually Madison? Imagine taking a weekend round trip tour to Madison via the Lake Country and Glacial Drumlin trails. Not to mention everyone in those communities being able to safely commute between them.
Thanks to Brian from the Bike Fed for forwarding this to us. .
We're starting a new feature here, Monday Bike Checks. Basically a brief profile of people's commuter, errand, townie bikes or whatever they use to get around on. If you'd like your bike to be featured here's the criteria:
- 1-3 quality bike photos.
- A quick mention of how much you use your bike or what you use it for.
- Why you like your bike, anything special, or why it works best for you.
You can send submissions to me directly, email@example.com, I have a few Mondays worth already lined up but could use more. With the snow here now it would be great to see some Winter bikes!
We'll start today with Adam's Trek 400,
I originally picked this up as just an around town type of bike, but not only do I grab this for quick rides through Waukesha, I have used it for some pretty fun longer rides more often than my other newer bikes. When I picked this bike up all of the components were not in very good shape from neglect(wheels bent, rear derailleur was seized up, and even the seatpost is stuck right now, luckily at the right height) It has horizontal dropouts so I decided to just make it a singlespeed. With a few new and used parts I was able to make it what it is now, it has some rust which I intend to fix this winter.
The Lake Country trail hasn't been cleared yet and as of last night, neither was the Fox River Parkway. Anyone know about the Glacial Drumlin or New Berlin? I'd suggest taking a mountain bike if you're not sure.
On my trip around town this morning, I stopped by Galleria Edge for the official unveiling of their new mural. The mayor was there along with many others to celebrate this latest artistic addition to the West End. Be sure to stop by during tonight's Art Crawl and say Hi to George and the Waukesha Tattoo crew, its kool what they're doing in the community!
Last night, Adam and I went out and got all our points to get into the raffle. It didn't take very long and was a lot of fun. Tonight is the big raffle at Magellan's (Pizza!) at 7:15pm. George from Waukesha Tattoo clued us in on some of the prizes and it's awesome what the local business' have kicked in. Definitely not something you'd want to miss!
By the way, I get most of my Christmas shopping done downtown, so bring a few dollars with you today and get a jump on the holiday season. You'll be surprised what you can find shopping locally. .
With Winter closing in, it looks as though most of the work on the Lake Country Trail is being buttoned up for the year. According to the County Parks website it appears they completed 2 of the 3 objectives for the year. First, the trail is nicely striped and fenced in areas. This runs from Golf Rd. at Country Springs Hotel in Pewaukee to Glen Cove Rd. near Pewaukee Lake then again from Milwaukee St. in Delafield and on to Oconomowoc.
The latest development, completed last week, is the reroute of the trail to cross at Hwy. 83 and Golf Rd. in Delafield. The trail now takes you to the controlled intersection and through a cross walk before rejoining behind the Park & Ride. It may seem like a minor inconvenience now to have to wait for the traffic signal, but its a safer option -and the only one, since they've already replanted and curbed the old crossing. I'm guessing the third part of the plan, paving the trail from Glen Cove Rd. to Milwaukee St, will be completed next year. From what I understand, the hill running through Nagawaukee Golf Course is too steep to reconstruct to current government standards, so a revision is being worked on for that section. Regardless of that, the trail is near completion and is great link by bike to 3 Lake Country communities- Pewaukee, Delafield and Oconomowoc.
Now if only we could connect it to Waukesha... but that's for a future post. .
Friday's Rockesha ride turned out to be a good time with nearly 30 people coming out to ride the parkway and enjoy downtown! Huge thanks to Ayhan at Cafe de Arts for warming everyone up at the start with his great coffee and Dan at Magellans for hosting the finish, the pizza was amazing and I think everyone got their fill! Thanks to George and the Waukesha Tattoo crew for there contribution and joining us as well! Total, (after Pizza- thanks again Dan!) we netted $270 to put towards our goal of $2000 by spring for the Waukesha Bike Rack project. The next ride will be mid January, so keep it in mind if you need a reason to get out after the holidays. A few more photos, Don't forget, today is the downtown Christmas Parade as well. Be sure to ride down and check it out at 4pm. Looks like Galleria Edge will also have some good things cooking on the West End for the parade. I'll try to make it down..
It's looking to be a good one and the weather should be the best its been all week! Come join us Friday night for Waukesha's largest regular social ride along the Fox River Parkway and through downtown. Leaving from Cafe de Arts at 7pm and finishing up at Magellan's on Main. Details here. Hope to see you then! .
I seem to have developed a pattern. About the only time I drive lately is on my days off. The routine is, load up the knobby-tired bike, get a coffee and snack from downtown and then head out of town. During the summer, its usually Southwest about 30mins to the Southern Kettle Moraine where you can easily ride 2-3 hours without touching the same trail twice. Trail blazer Dave and the dedicated crew down there have created a great one-day epic of a system over the past several years.
Now with hunting season heading into full swing, I've been enjoying something even closer. A short 18min drive East, to ride a good 15 miles (~2 hrs.) of singletrack. Where is this gem of off road bliss? Wauwatosa. Yes, lately I've been driving into the "city" to ride my mountain bike. In fact Milwaukee County has almost 30 miles total of legal off road trail open to bikes, and there's more in the works. How did this happen? It didn't just happen and it didn't happen over night. Metro Milwaukee Mountain Bikers are the group behind the urban trail access in Milwaukee. They're a volunteer group that builds and maintains the trails in Milwaukee County including Crystal Ridge, where the Alterra WORS race is held each year.
So where does Waukesha stand? Currently, we only have 4 miles of legal mountain bike trails in our entire county, at Lapham Peak State Park, and they're not much to write home about. I think we have a lot of opportunity in Waukesha. We have a great park system and a great mix of urban, suburban and rural areas in our county. If cities like New York, Seattle, Minneapolis and Milwaukee have found ways to create mountain bike access, I don't see why we couldn't.
Downtown 'Tosa, why not here?
The Beginning? Yesterday I attended the County Parks and Land Use Commitee meeting along with Marty Weigel from Metro Mountain Bikers to pitch the idea of opening some of the parks up to mountain biking. There was some good discussion and overall I think the board was receptive of the idea. I have to thank County Supervisor Steven Wimmer for setting us up in the meeting and the board for listening to our ideas. Nothing is a done deal yet. We merely have a foot in the door and there is plenty of work to do with the parks people to make this a possibility, but I'm optimistic we'll be able to make progress. I also have to thank Marty for taking the time to come out and offering the support of Metro MMB to help with the project in the future. A key point here is that people in Milwaukee and other areas want to come mountain bike here. And I think that's a good thing!
I just spoke with Jodi at D Mo's today and they are still looking for volunteers. I'm in and will try to rally a few Bike Alliance members as well. Pitch in a couple hours next Sunday if you have the time! .
The Rockesha Social ride is one week away! People have asked what the route is like, so I posted it below:
This is a social ride, so nobody will be left behind ;) Cafe de Arts is staying open until 7:00 next Friday. Meet there before hand for coffee and a snack as the ride will be departing at 7:00pm! The casual ride should take about an hour & 1/2. We may alter the route slightly depending on the size of the group and the weather. We'll finish up around 8:30 at Magellan's on Main for pizza. $10 donations will be collected up front to cover the pizza (we'll make sure you get your fill) and to raise money for the Waukesha Bike Rack Project. Be sure to bring a helmet, lights and bells if you have them.
If your looking for something east of the county line this weekend, Wauwatosa cycling kingpin Russell is hosting his 3rd annual Tour 'o Tosa this Saturday in Willow Way Park. Here's the scoop from him..
The Location is set! Ground Zero for the festivities will be at the Will-O-Way Lodge located in the Underwood Parkway. This can be accessed off of Swan Blvd just west of Hoyt Park. Go past the Golf Course and up the hill and you'll see the signs.
Alright all you chuckleheads, here's what you need to know for this years Tour of Tosa: as always it's a 2-part event - a Scavenger Hunt followed by a Relay Crit Race - since the Hoyt ...Park Pool is being rebuilt the Figure 8 of Death course is out for this year. But don't you fret your pretty little heads none, I'll have an equally fun and idiotic replacement for you deviants.
You'll be divided up into teams of 4-6 people, get a map and instructions and get turned loose to wreck havoc on my fair city. You'll need a Digital Camera for your team as you must provide proof that you've gone to all the sto0o0opid places I send you. After you complete your map, you'll return to the start for another map and repeat the steps until I get bored with you. After a break for scoring, the top teams in the Scavenger Hunt will then complete in the replacement for the Figure 8 of Death Relay Race - on bikes scavenged out of the 'Tosa city dump. The winning team takes home the Stack of Cash. Got it? Either way, just show up or we'll talk about you later.
* 10:30am Start - This means be there and ready to go by 10:30am. Be late and you may miss out.
* 3pm or so finish - 'Nuff said.
* $5 - This is the cost on entry - or $4 if you bring some non-perishable food items for the local food pantry. You may want to bring a few bucks extra in case you get the munchies real bad along the route.
* Starting Area - You'll stop back there a few times during the day so you can always stash extra clothes or food/beverages in the car as needed.
* Digital camera - if you got one, bring it. You're team will need one to prove they've found the items on the Scavenger List.
* Teams - 4 to 6 people to a team. If you cannot afford a team, one will be appointed for you. Just show up and we'll throw you on a team with others - it's one way of meeting friends. Your team must stay together during the event.
* Bike - It's mostly city riding, but there maybe a few off-road sections, some gravel and some grassy sections. I'd recommend either a Cyclocross, a MTB or your commuting rig. A carpet-fibre road bike is just plain silly - even on this ride.
* Clothes - It's a casual event so full teamkit is in the overkill zone. You'll be on and off your bike alot , but will be riding 25-30 miles. Most go for regular ol' street clothes. In fact wearing lycra isn't a good idea because if you get arrested you'll end up in the holding cell with some bad people who might find you really attractive.
* Helmets - It's a free country, and there's a really large hospital near by so we most likely will be able to get you there in plenty of time to harvest your other organs should you wreck. Your choice, but I STRONGLY, STRONGLY, STRONGLY recommend one for the all important replacement for the Figure 8 of Death Relay Race!!!
* Pubs, Bars, Taverns, Saloons and Gentlemen's Clubs - None on the list of stops as this ride is open to all ages. Feel free to bring a 6'r for afterwards though.
* Bribery - Bribery of the Official is not an upstanding or moral form of competition, but this is me were talkin' about.
Last years Crit of Death race
If the weathers good, I'll be riding down via the New Berlin Trail. Anyone interested in coming, let me know!
A recurring question about cycling through Waukesha is "How do I get from the Glacial Drumlin to the New Berlin Trail?" While there are numerous ways through town, it really depends on your tolerance of traffic, hills, potholes and sense of direction(which is easily skewed when entering Waukesha). The easiest, safest and most efficient way I've found is College Ave. east to Hartwell then north to Lincoln Ave. which connects to the New Berlin Trail. If you wanted to stop to eat, shop or stroll around the river downtown, heading north on just about any of the streets intersecting College- West Ave., Maple, Grand Ave., will take you to the heart of downtown. Taking Broadway Ave. in is easiest if your coming from the East.
The Downtown Rail Corridor
There is an abandoned rail bed made up of coarse gravel, unmaintained, that parallels Lincoln Avenue from Barstow to Perkins. It would be nice to see this trail improved as its a nice amenity to the neighborhoods it passes through. While I don't see it as the most likely route for cyclists passing through town, it is a safer alternative for those not comfortable riding on the streetsor those who prefer a quieter ride through the east end of town.Definitely something to be considered.
Its coming up again, the best bimonthly social ride in town! If you haven't seen Waukesha by bike this is the event to do it. Come out for a bicycle tour of downtown, the riverwalk and Fox River Parkway with a bunch of your closest friends. Here's the deal:
Meet at: Cafe de Arts locally roasted coffee, 6-7pm. Ride departs at 7:00. Finish at: Magellan's on Main/M2 for pizza & drinks. Cost: $10, This is a fundraiser for Waukesha Bike Alliance and includes the Magellan's pizza!
Any kind of bike will work but lights and a helmet are essentials (I know, I know..) Thank you to Ayhan at Cafe de Arts and Dan at Magellan's for offering to host our ride! If you have a local business and want to be a part of the ride let us know! If you want an idea what this is about, here's some photos from the last one. Any questions, just email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Services for Jeff Littmann are being held today. I didn't make it down to Cudahy, but still wanted to take a moment to reflect. Before coming to Waukesha I lived in Hartland and it was rare to do a ride in Lake Country Jeff wasn't on. I learned a lot from him in those days, not just about becoming faster but also about being responsible and respectful on the roads. It takes a lot of trust riding or racing in a pack and Jeff was always a wheel you could trust. The cycling community lost a great friend, advocate and mentor this past week and he will be missed. Ride on above us, Jeff.
Jeff Littmann passed away today. Littman is the eighth bicyclist killed by a motor vehicle in Wisconsin in 2010.
It's such a waste to lose someone who has positively touched so many lives. But we need to also remember the other victims of major crashes here in Waukesha County. I can think of four major bike crashes in the past year:
Last week - Jeff Littmann and Lauren Jensen on CTH C in Nashota July - Travis Weber, who was crossing STH 164 on the New Berlin Trail in Waukesha June - Benton Reed on Bluemound Road in the Town of Brookfield June - Brett Netke, on Highway 18 near Dousman.
Enough is enough!
I hope that we can somehow honor all of these victims (and remember Brett, Benton, and Jeff) by having a motorist education campaign. Judging from the comments on the JS Online comment board, a lot of people don't seem to think that cyclists a right to use the road. I even had a conversation with a co-worker this morning who thought that cyclists should ride AGAINST traffic. Unfortunately I couldn't convince him that not only was that illegal, it would be highly dangerous!
We are hoping to work with the Bike Fed to put together some sort of education campaign to educate motorists about the rights and responsibilities that cyclists have on our roads. If you are interested in being a part of this effort, contact us or comment below.
I think cyclists get annoyed when they read conservative opposition to bike lanes and paths because biking is essentially a conservative activity:
--Self-reliant? check. --Not dependent on government operating subsidies? check. --Thrifty and frugal? check. --Reduces dependence on foreign oil? check. --Utilizes existing capacity on existing roads? check.
Our current transportation system is extremely inefficient. Single-occupant cars clog the roadways at rush hour, wasting everyone's time, and creating the need for roads to be re-built with more lanes to accommodate the peak traffic volumes. However, those extra lanes are wide open at all other times of day. Transportation economists consider that an inefficient use of a public good. In fact, if you think about the amount of government spending on roads, you could say that single-occupant cars at rush hour are the beneficiaries of massive governmental spending programs.
The Milwaukee bike plan doesn't make that point. It simply wants to offer options so that people might actually choose to bike because it would be safe and easy to do so. As one of the commenters on the MacIver blog pointed out, the plan is not taking away anyone's option to drive, or even making it more expensive to do so. All the plan is asking for is a measly $450,000 annual allocation from the City tax rolls for maintenance of bike infrastructure and new projects. (In 2009, the City of Milwaukee budgeted more than $74 million for streets, alleys, sidewalks, and bridges).
The Spinners' annual ride through the Kettle Moraine is this Sunday. Pick your distance: 35, 64, or 103 miles of rolling hills in rural Waukesha and Jefferson Counties. The weather is almost always lovely. Sunday's forecast looks good.
I was curious about the condition of the right-of-way between Brookfield and Waukesha that I mentioned in a previous post: Are the bridges in good condition? What does the crossing look like where the County's right-of-way crosses the highly-trafficked Canadian National (CN) line, right underneath a bridge of I-94?
So I parked at the Wonderland Pub at the intersection of JJ and F, and took a little hike up the abandoned right-of-way towards the interstate. Here are some pictures.
First, here's a photo taken from Frame Park at the intersection of North Street and Moreland Boulevard, looking north. I think there's room for a bike path next to Highway F, don't you?
The lovely Wonderland Pub. No, I didn't stop in--maybe next time. ;)
The right-of-way was pretty weedy but not completely overgrown. Two bridges were in pretty good condition. I'm no expert but it seemed to me that the existing bridges could simply be rehabbed, rather than re-built:
Approaching the I-94 bridge. Harris Lumber is on the left. There is a little spur from the Canadian-National line that Harris Lumber is using. The abandoned right-of-way where a path would be built is to the right of the tracks in the picture below; I think the County removed the tracks and sold the scrap metal in the past 2 years or so.
The I-94 bridge over the tracks. Again, the abandoned right-of-way does NOT have any tracks on it, and is to the right of the tracks in this photo.
Here's what it looks like under the I-94 bridge. You can see the CN tracks behind the bridge pillars. Unfortunately I didn't get a good shot of where the right-of-way continues after it crosses the CN tracks. (Another hike!) However, negotiating a bike path crossing with Canadian-National over their extremely busy tracks will be a very tricky challenge. It may require a bridge, or some innovative thinking.
The WBA is currently preparing a letter to send to County officials and to Waukesha, Pewaukee, and Brookfield aldermen whose districts border the trail. We'll request that they prioritize building this multi-use path and look for State or Federal grants to help leverage the cost of constructing it.