Blazing New Trails for Milwaukee Bicyclists
does it mean for Milwaukee
to have earned a Bronze-Level Bicycle-Friendly Community designation?
This is a national
program in which cities are ranked for bicycle friendliness. The ranking is
partly based on the percentage of people who bike to work, and our percentage
is currently a little over 1%. The good news is it has gone up about 370% in
the last 5 years, so it is going up fast—faster than national averages, which
is good from a bicycle-friendly community standpoint. We're continually working
to improve. If we can get our commuter share up to 1.5% to 2%, triple our bike
lane miles, and have bike racks available on every bus as we do now, I think we
have a reasonable expectation of getting silver next time we apply for ranking.
bike to work? Isn’t it faster to drive?
One of the big
advantages to bicycling is that you can get closer to your destination. We used
to have a commuter race where we would race bikes against a car. Of course
bikes don't go as fast as a car. However, when you have to park two blocks away
and then walk to your office, as a lot of people in downtown Milwaukee do, then
it becomes faster to bike to work because you get to pull right up in front of
where you work.
advice would you offer to someone who is just starting out commuting to work on
his or her bike?
All you need is a bike.
You don’t need Lycra. You don’t need a shower at work. You don’t need anything
but a bicycle! Try it out on a day when you don’t actually have to go to work
so you can check out your route and see how long it takes you. Then, if you try
it, like it and decide to do it on a frequent basis, I think it really helps to
have a bike that is left just for that purpose. Have a basic bike that has a
light, fenders, a pump, a lock and a rack. Save your fancy bike for the
is your favorite place to ride in Milwaukee?
I really enjoy the Hank
Aaron State Trail. I like it as a commuting route because I may see people
fishing for salmon, or get to wave to Picasso the miniature horse that is often
walking on the trail. I may see coyotes or herons. I like that.
“Bike to Work Week” takes place June 6-11 in Milwaukee. Visit the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin’s website at www.bfw.org for more information and event listings.