By Rob Williams
Bike to Work Week was celebrated the week of May 14 through 18 with Mayor Buol making a Bike Month proclamation. Despite several postings on social media, bus banners and flyers, only ten people registered via our online survey. The Bike Coop had one person take advantage of their “free bike” during BTWW and a public maintenance clinic hosted by the Coop and TMBR at DubuqueFest was also poorly attended, though several people took advantage of the bike valet setup at DubuqueFest. After discussion with several others heavily involved in the local bicycling community, many thought that with the late winter, Dubuquers just weren’t ready to think about biking yet.
Nevertheless, planning on BTWW 2019 has already started with plans to make better use of online and local media. We will strive to have door prizes available from local businesses for those who post “selfies” with their bikes at their places of employment. Other ideas include sharing commuting trips and posting on social media with the hashtag #dubuquebikes. Additional discussion and ideas on how to improve Dubuque’s “bikeability” always welcome!
Now that we are in the early days of summer, let’s recap the events of Bike Month 2018 – also known as May. To kick off local events, two bicycle rodeos were held the week of Bike to School Day. On Tuesday, May 8th, the Dubuque Bike Coop hosted the Bee Branch Bike Rodeo at the Audubon Elementary playground with assistance with the Dubuque Police Department. We had six youngsters bring their bikes by for safety checks, and front and rear lights were installed. Turnout was less than desirable, mainly due to the elementary school track meet being that same evening.
Bike to School Day was also celebrated at Bryant Elementary on Thursday, May 10th and was a huge success. Normally there would be anywhere from 3-5 bikes parked at the rack behind school. On that particular Thursday, however, over 60 bikes took over the Bryant playground! The Bike Coop was on hand to perform safety checks and install front/rear lights, and the Dubuque Police Department taught the ‘rules of the road’ to ensure summer safety.
By Will Hoyer
Progress continues on the new singletrack mountain bike system being constructed at Interstate Power Preserve (IPP) south of Dubuque. This county-owned preserve will, by sometime late this summer or early fall, be open for riding and feature 7 miles of professionally-built trails on the steep, wooded terrain. Trail construction has been slowed somewhat due to recent wet weather, but already nearly two miles of trails have been built by Landowski Trailworx, one of the Midwest’s premier trail-building companies. Despite the heavy rains, a walking tour of what has already been constructed showed the value of expert construction, with very little damage from runoff.
TMBR has completed fundraising for the IPP trails, raising $175,000 from many donors, including substantial contributions from the Wellmark Foundation, ITC, the McCoy Group, Grant Wood Loop, Hodge, Richard Biechler, and McGraw Hill.
In May an exciting new trail project was announced, with John Deere Dubuque Works donating 137 acres to Dubuque County for a new park on Dubuque’s north end. This park, located across the road from the Deere facility, will feature a new picnic pavilion and disc golf course as well as new trails. TMBR is working closely with Dubuque County to raise the estimated $350,000 necessary to build out the park and has already identified funding for over $200,000. Like at IPP, singletrack trails at the yet-to-be-named park will likely total around 6 to 7 miles, and construction will be completed next year.
Between the trails that opened last year at Asbury’s Cloie Creek Park, the Interstate Power Preserve, the John Deere project, and others that are in the developmental stage, TMBR is well on its way toward achieving its goal of being designated a Ride Center by the International Mountain Bike Association by 2025. For more information about TMBR, these projects, or to donate, please visit http://www.tmbrtrails.org.
City Engineer Jon Dienst recently updated Tri-State Trail Vision on the status of the Chavenelle Trail from the Northwest Arterial to Radford Road. Construction of the trail is delayed as Chavenelle Road has become a busy detour for the SW Arterial and Old Highway Road intersection. Also Chavenelle itself is to be redone next year, so it was determined that the road and the bike lane would be done concurrently. He assures us that the project will occur next year.
Access the Accessories
By Dianne Koch
Both Free Flight owner Brian Walsh and Bicycle World owner Parrish Marugg report that Daytime Running Lights by Bontrager have become an excellent safety feature for all bike owners. The intensely bright lights are highly visible even on sunny days. Bontrager manufactures a front and rear light set that retails for $69. The 65 lumen rear light can be seen from 2 kilometers away.
This is part of the ongoing research by Trek that focuses on assisting motorists to increase biker visibility. More information can be found at: https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/daytime_running_lights/
Brian Walsh also notes that Garmin continues to add features to their bike computers, especially sending a rider’s statistics to Strava automatically. Reflective shoes and socks are other items that merit a look, too. Riders may want to check these out.
Dubuque Riding Adventures Checklist
Riding bicycles in Dubuque is getting easier every season. Listed below are a number of popular routes throughout Dubuque. See how many you have ridden.
Favorite, scenic places include:
- South Grandview Avenue
- the Riverfront at the Grand River Convention Center
- the Riverfront at Chaplain Schmitt Island through Miller Park and along the Peosta Channel
- the Floodwall Trail from 16th Street north to the Lock and Dam
- the Eagle Point Park Trail starting at the Ham House and proceding through Eagle Point Park
- the Bee Branch Trail
- Heritage Trail
- the John Deere Marsh Trail
- the Northwest Arterial Trail from Hwy 52 to Pennsylvania Avenue
- Asbury Cloie Park Mountain Bike Trail
- Bergfeld Pond Trail to Middle Road
- the Mines of Spain
- the Mississippi River Trail (MRT) Hwy 52 from Key West to St. Donatus to Bellevue
- the Mississippi River Trail (MRT) Hwy 52 from Sageville to Sherrill to Balltown and north
Bike Month Activities
May is National Bike Month and two bicycling events will be celebrated locally here in the Dubuque area. Bike to Work Week is May 14-18, 2018 and all are encouraged to get out and commute by bicycle to work, the coffee shop, the grocery store and the farmers’ market – anywhere that fits into your schedule. Has your bicycle been idle? Visit your local bike shop and see how they can get you back up to speed (cookies and brownies are always welcome). Don’t have a bike? The Dubuque Bike Coop is offering free bike checkouts for the week of Bike to Work Week – for more details, please see their Facebook page or website www.dubuquebikecoop.org.
Wednesday, May 9, 2018 is National Bike to School Day. To promote safe and fun bicycling among our youth, the Dubuque Bike Coop along with the City of Dubuque will be holding a Bike Rodeo the day before – Tuesday, May 8 at the Bee Branch Trail from 3:30PM to 6:00PM (exact location TBA). Volunteers with the Dubuque Bike Coop will be performing safety checks on bikes and installing front and rear blinky lights. The Dubuque Police Department will have a bike course set up to teach safe and respectful riding techniques. For more information, please contact Rob Williams at email@example.com.
Review of 2017 for TMBR Mountain Bike Riders
By Brett Erthum
When the snow settled on Cloie Creek trail this winter, it marked the end of the fall riding season and a big year for the Tri-state Mountain Bike Riders (TMBR).
At the opening of Cloie Creek Trail in June of 2017, 200 supporters turned out to enjoy Dubuque’s first publicly accessible mountain bike trail system. All 3 local bicycle shops were on hand to provide demo bikes. The Bike Coop provided experienced mechanics to tune up any bikes in need. Speeches were made, regional TV media were present, a ribbon was cut, and yes…. people rode the trails until the sun went down that night.
Dispersed throughout the crowd, various members of TMBR smiled and enjoyed the sight. Cloie Creek was the culmination of 18 months of planning. When the City of Asbury offered the land, the fledgling non-profit had bold plans, but little to show for it. Cloie Creek was an opportunity to raise funds and execute the kind of trail plan that mountain bike advocates seek out in other communities. Now, Cloie Creek is a great addition to the community. Perhaps more important to TMBR’s board, it’s a validation of the public/private partnership that they believe can lead to a better tri-state area community.
Last year, the Cloie Creek trails hosted a kids’ race, a mountain bike skills day, and countless social rides. It’s become a favorite “short” loop for runners and hikers in the Asbury area Neighborhood youth are frequently testing their mothers’ nerves on the jumps, banked turns, and creek crossing offered in the park. It’s also spawned a group of lady mountain bike riders who take to the trails regularly for social outings.
When it snowed, the trail continued to see usage from fat-tire bikers and winter walkers. The snow didn’t stop the traffic through the park, and TMBR hasn’t slowed down either.
In April, construction begins on TMBR’s next project. The trails at Interstate Power Preserve (IPP) will open around July 2018 with 6 miles of cross-country singletrack that navigate the steep bluffs and unique rock formations found in the preserve. The primary loop will provide a shorter lap for beginners. Each of the 3 additional loops will provide a unique experience for the rider and offer varying levels of difficulty.
TMBR is immensely grateful to its supporters and to the public land managers that have made the investment in these first two trail systems possible. As the snow settles on the trails at IPP next winter, TMBR will stay committed to its vision of creating destination-worthy public recreational woodland trails in the Tri-State Area.
Follow TMBR for updates on these projects and more at http://www.facebook.com/MOUNTAINBIKERSTMBR/.