I said I wasn't going to do it this year, no, I actually swore I wasn't going too. I was not going to piss and moan and whine and complain about the bike lanes, the crosswalks, the transition ramps this year, this winter to be more precise. I wasn't going to call the city, send e-mails, and wait for the "Thank you for your concerns...blah blah blah" bullshit responses I got every single time I did something last year. It's not worth it. The city seems "less than interested" lets say, about those of us that choose to ride our bikes all winter. Want some examples, here they are:
|The College Ave Bridge Bike lane, taken as a passenger from a work truck|
|Another of the "Bike Lane"|
|The Opposite side of the same bridge.|
I know what the next comment will be: Ride on the dam Sidewalk then Whiner. Ok, here are some more examples for you if I decide to do that:
|The Bridge sidewalk over Peabody park. I saw a young mother trying to traverse this the other day with a stroller and toddler in tow. Seriously? This is the best you can do? Thats snow covered ice, you want to ride that?|
|The transition to a marked "Bike Route". Hit that bad boy at 6:00 am.|
|The Crosswalk. No really, it's there under that 12" of snow somewhere.|
I told you it wasn't going to be nice. Sorry. But seriously what is it going to take? That young mother with the stroller falling, breaking her hip? A cyclist who is taking the lane as the city suggest we do getting clipped by a car going 40mph over College ave bridge? A young jogger trying to train for next years 26.2 sticker falling and busting an ankle?
I am fine with riding the sidewalks in the winter, I truly am. Hell, I will ride them in the summer once in a while. The point is if your going to Build Bike Infrastructure, then you better dam well have a way to take care of the infrastructure in the winter. How can the trail that goes by the river be maintained better than a bike lane on a main thoroughfare? How can a person who is on vacation sidewalks be better maintained than one over a park?
Don't get me wrong, I respect those that are out there plowing and shoveling the snow. I did it for 15 years as a younger man. They are doing what they are told to do by the superiors. I give you guys and gals credit because I know it sucks to get up in the middle of the night and push this crap, or to be going at it for 36 hours straight. I know, I have been there, I have done it. It's not the average Hand Route Guy or Gal or the Average plower's fault. Not by a long shot. It's the people telling them what to do, what to plow, and how to plow it.
As far as me, I am so used to this I don't let it affect me personally anymore. But today, I put myself in my kids shoes, my wifes shoes. What if I wanted to take them down to the Indoor Farmers Market Via bike this next Saturday? Spend some hard earned cash locally, hit the local coffee shop (not that chain one, the Local one), maybe catch some breakfast at Mr. B's favorite greasy spoon. Would I do it? Hell no, not in a million years. Why, because I am not going to take the lane on College Ave Bridge with 3 boys who have more bravery than common sense. Not with 3 boys who have never experienced a front or rear tire slide out on snow covered ice and how to correct it. In short I am not going to put their lives on the line because the city I live in thinks cyclist in the winter are a joke.
All that being said, I WILL NOT be contacting the city of Appleton, I am sick of the ridiculous responses I get. So, if you want to affect change then get out there and ride. Stay loose on the bike or your going to probably eat it, but get out and ride. Feel free to contact your Alder Peeps, the mayor, hell the president for all I care. Feel free to share the pictures, I don't even want credit for taking them, hell I prefer if you don't give me any. If you do use them, give the credit for them to "A voice crying out in the wilderness".
Be good to each other, stay safe out there, stay loose on the bike, and enjoy the season.