Author Archives: diannekoch
Bike to Work Week 2019 was held from May 13-19. Dubuque area bicycling groups, such as Tri-State Trail Vision, the Bike Coop, and TMBR, actively promote BTWW. Several activities filled out the week. Free Flight and Bicycle World supplied raffle prizes for BTWW registrants. Mayor Roy Buol proclaimed May 13-19 as Bike to Work Week. City buses gave bikers free busing during the week and sported banners to develop awareness. Bike rodeos were held the prior week to teach bike safety and get the word out to student riders.
Avid Dubuque cyclist Jim Saul created a Bike to Work Week page this year. He encouraged riders and provided timely advice before, during, and after the week via postings. Riders who signed up via the Facebook page could pick up a BTWW 2019 decal from the Bike Coop. Winners of the raffle prizes from Free Flight Bikes and Bicycle World included:
Bicycle World Water Bottle – Nick Harrold
Free Flight Water Bottle – Kristen Winkler
Kryptonite Cable Bike Lock – Amy English
Park Tool AWS-10 Multi-Tool – Christopher Wilson
Incredibell Original – Denny Thibadeau
Nashbar Seatpost Light – Darrell Clark
Finish Line Dry Chain Lube – Jordan Giesemann
Nashbar Ding Dong Bell – Libby Root
$50 Free Flight Gift Certificate – Brandon Harms
Nearly 1460 miles were recorded by the 41 participants, thus saving the environment and providing good exercise. The weather generally held out as well. Thanks to all the participants and sponsors during this year’s BTWW.
Plan on attending the Farmer’s Market Bike Day on Saturday, July 27th. Renee Tyler, City of Dubuque Director of Transportation Services, and Main Street Dubuque are coordinating efforts to promote cycling in Dubuque. Stay tuned for more information as the day draws near.
Melinda Vize, a Dubuque resident who comes from a family well entrenched in the Dubuque biking scene, is giving back to the community in an unusual way via her bike. She started the Urban Bicyling Food Mission Dubuque project last summer, based off of a similar program in Des Moines. Volunteers arrive at the Dubuque Rescue Mission on Sunday afternoons, prepare to-go meals of burritos or sandwiches, and then deliver them in groups via bikes to the homeless and homeless shelters in the community. The volunteers use child trailers or bags to deliver the food, usually burritos or sandwiches, a dessert and water bottle, to the recipients. No food is wasted.
How does she make this work? She gathers donations and writes grants to fund the project. Her work with the Homeless Advisory Coalition in Dubuque gave her tips on where to find the homeless. The Urban Bicycling Food Mission Dubuque Facebook page (UBFMDBQ) has event signup options for both the food prep and food delivery. Volunteers are always needed.
Vize views this project as a way for the biking community to give back to the larger community. Her efforts were reported in the Telegraph Herald and also picked up by U. S. News and World Report https://www.usnews.com/news/healthiest-communities/articles/2018-10-09/dubuque-cycling-group-takes-free-meals-to-people-in-need. Congratulations to Melinda Vize and her efforts to make a difference!
With the advent of new mountain bike trails in the Dubuque areas, numerous opportunities allow for riders to enjoy the trails, scenery, and challenges. However, the chronically wet conditions have caused concern. The Tri-State Mountain Bike Riders (TMBR) have Facebook group pages devoted to listing conditions for their trails. It is advised to check these sites out before venturing out. From the TMBR Facebook page, bikers can join Interstate Power Preserve Trail Conditions Facebook Group or the Cloie Creek Trail Conditions and Rides Facebook Group for updates.
Construction on the long-awaited Chavenelle Road Bike Trail may start this fall. It would connect the Northwest Arterial Trail to Sieppel Road. Eventually, plans are to connect to the newly constructed Southwest Arterial. City Engineer Jon Dienst reports that the western section between Seippel Road and Radford Road may be started this fall and will lay on the north side of Chavenelle Road. The Radford Road to Northwest Arterial segment will be finished in 2020. A multi-use trail, it will extend over 2 miles and be 10 feet wide. Designated for walkers, joggers, and bikers, this trail will be a welcome addition to Dubuque’s westside.
Graf to New Vienna – A Scenic Ride with Good Roads and Beautiful Churches
Newly paved county roads are always a cause for excitement for road bikers. My husband Kevin and I recently discovered that the New Vienna Road just west of Holy Cross Road was improved and was cause for a beautiful early evening ride.
In May, we loaded up the bikes and drove to the Graf town park. We took Graf Road south, took a left on Thielen Road, and then a right on Girl Scout Road. As we ascended the steep hill, we admired the Lattnerville Church Inn, now an AirB&B, which has been beautifully remodeled. We continued on Girl Scout Road in a fairly strong wind, heading northwest. After climbing a second hill, we rode the ridge past the Camp Little Cloud and scenic farms. After a quick right on Gun Club Road, we stopped at St. Clement’s Church in Bankston and marveled at the inside and outside architecture. The church was built in 1898 with detailed craftsmanship.
We headed west to find the New Vienna Road was freshly paved. How pleasant! We rode all the way to New Vienna. Since churches seemed to be the theme of the day, we walked around the outside of St. Boniface Church in New Vienna. The church was dedicated in 1887 and has a 200-foot tall spire overlooking the countryside. Unfortunately, it was closed for the day, so we could not tour the inside. We will catch the inside on our next ride through town.
On our return trip, we flew back to Graf as we had a strong tailwind and smooth roads. Beautiful scenery and countryside churches added to a perfect evening. Life is good!
Tri-State Trail Vision is participating in the Great Give Day tomorrow. Please consider giving a donation to TSTV’s Community Foundation Fund. Scroll down, find Tri-State Trail Vision, and fill out the needed information. Past donations have gone to bike racks on the Bee Branch Trail, bike lights for Bike Rodeos in conjunction with the Bike Coop, and a future bike storage shelter for Loras College.
Thanks so much!
Once again Bike to Work Week is coming up May 13-19th, 2019. In preparation for the week, the Bike Coop is holding two Bike Rodeos for students: one is on May 7th from 3:30-5 pm. at Audubon Elementary and the other is May 10th from 3:30-5 p.m. at Bryant Elementary. School students can ride their bikes to school, get a safety check-up, and receive front and rear lights for visibility. An obstacle course will be set up to build skills, and students can visit with Dubuque Police Officers on safe riding techniques.
Prepare for Bike to Work Week!
- May 10 Bryant School Bike Rodeo
Friday 3:30 p.m. Bryant Elementary
For the adults, during the week of May 13-19th, try to ride, walk, or do a combo Jule bus/bike ride (see the poster below) to your place of work as many days per week as possible.
by Dianne Koch
Spring is finally here after a brutal six weeks of winter from mid-January to the end of February. March was colder than normal but spring finally started showing itself by the middle of the month. I was back commuting to Senior High School where I work by March 18th.
This is the tenth year I’ve been commuting to school. My self-imposed rules are simple: 1) no wet, icy, or snowy streets; and 2) it has to be above 20 degrees including the windchill. I live 1.9 miles from school, so I scouted out the flattest route because my bookbag can easily add another 5-10 pounds of weight. I live south of Washington Middle School, so Grandview is easy. But since Grandview narrows after Allison-Henderson Park, I take Custer Street for a block, and then Auburn, Delaware, and Avoca. I come back to Grandview at the Avoca-Rosedale corner, go up to Clarke Drive, and ride over to the Nora Parking Lot bike racks.
I use my only bike, a Trek 2.1 Women’s Specific Design 2009 model. I wear my regular clothes but I do use ankle biter Velcro straps to keep my pants legs from getting greasy or eaten by the gears.
I lock my bike to the rack via a large U-clamp lock that I keep on the school rack. I carry in my helmet, bike straps, headband, front light, and bike computer to store in my classroom during the day.
In cold weather, defined as windchill below 35 degrees, I wear my winter coat and a headband under my helmet. To be honest, I am warmer biking than riding in my car where the heater takes forever to warm up. Between 35-50 degrees, I usually go with a spring jacket but keep the headband.
In addition, I invested in strong head and rear (USB rechargeable) lights to cut through the dark mornings and be visible to other motorists.
My pedals have a dual combination function where they clip on one side and are flat on the other side. Initially designed as trainer pedal for those transitioning to clip pedals, these work perfectly for commuting. I can wear regular shoes to work using the flat side and flip it around when I am using my clips for longer recreational rides.
Regarding weather, I check weather reports for 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. If either time has a 70% prediction of rain or higher, I drive. But with anything less than that, I’ve beaten the odds for the most part. Okay, I’ve gotten a bit wet a couple of times on my way home but not soaked. Not bad for ten years of bike commuting from March to December. The wind is really the most aggravating factor, but most days are joyful riding days.
As Bike-to-Work Week is coming May 13-19th, it is a good time to consider riding one, two, or maybe all five days. Making it a priority was easy for me, and it’s turned into a great healthy habit; it impresses the high school kids (so I literally have “street credibility”), it efficiently uses 17-18 minutes of time exercising every day that I would normally be sitting in the car, and it racks up the miles. I gain nearly 20 miles per week riding from mid-March to early December.
Consider biking or walking to work to create a new habit that can truly be rewarding. Feel free to contact me at email@example.com if you have any questions regarding bike commuting.