Bike to Work Week – September 2020

  by Candace Eudaley

         Bike to Work Week 2020 had 64 registrants biking, walking or hiking over 1,600 miles! With over 200 people following the Bike to Work Week Facebook page, we know there are more people interested in the idea. The winner of the bike commuter kit, sponsored by Dupaco Community Credit Union, was Ken Miller. We owe a big thank you to our sponsors and partners, Dubuque Bike Coop, Dupaco Community Credit Union and Tri-State Trail Vision. A special thanks goes out to Jim Saul for running the Facebook page and helping people plan their routes



City Engineer Jon Dienst Reports on 2020 Improvements

         City Engineer Jon Dienst attended the September 24th meeting of Tri-State Trail Vision to update us on city trail projects.

1. The new Chavenelle Trail segment from Seippel to Radford Road was completed this spring. The Radford to Northwest Arterial segment will be completed next spring. The ten-foot wide concrete trail sits on the north side of Chavenelle Drive.

2. Eventually the city hopes to create a trail on Seippel, south to the Southwest Arterial, which is have a trail in maybe five years with an expected cost of $5-6 million, and then loop up to the Key West Tech Park via some city-owned land along Granger Creek. Eventually this would connect to the Mines of Spain.

3. The Kerper Bike Trail is to be built during the summer of 2021 on the west side of the Bee Branch Detention Basin, behind the Alliant Solar Field, and connect to 16th Street. This is fully funded via an IDOT Transportation Alternatives Program.

4. The Public Works Pedestrian Access Ramps have been completed for the summer. Many ramps were installed with updated street construction.

5. The East-West Corridor project on University with roundabouts at Pennsylvania, Asbury, and Loras is at a standstill as state funding is not assured at this time. On-street bike lanes are expected with this project.

6. The Bee Branch tunneling project is expected to be finished in the summer of 2021. Six 8-foot diameter pipes are in, and the existing drain becomes the new trail.

7. Dienst explained some elements of the 2022 Budget Process. The city considers carbon reduction efforts and continuing Complete Streets planning, both of which are high on the City Council’s plans, as part of the budget process.

8. Wally Wernimont is the new Planning Services Manager, who replaced the newly-retired Laura Carstens.

Chavenelle Trail – Heading West

        More trails on Dubuque’s west side are falling into place after years of planning. Delayed a year, the Chavenelle Road trail project came to light this spring when the western portion from Seippel Road to Radford Road was completed. City Engineer Jon Dienst noted how this project stay on time with nearly perfect weather conditions and few construction setbacks. The eastern section from Radford Road to the Northwest Arterial will be completed next spring. Connecting with the Bergfeld Pond trail, the Middle Road spur, and the Northwest Arterial trail, the Chavenelle Trail will ensure a safe off-road trail for riders of all ages and abilities.

Bee Branch/S. John Deere Road Tunnel Sports a New Connector Trail

         For those who travel on the Bee Branch/Heritage Trail between 32nd Street and Heritage Pond, watch for oncoming bike and pedestrian traffic just north of the South John Deere Road tunnel. A new connector trail has been constructed between the Heritage Trail Lot on S. John Deere Road and the trail. No longer will riders who park in the lot have to cross the busy S. John Deere Road or park in the electric company’s driveway.

Fall Adventures at Swiss Valley

          Fall programming at Swiss Valley Nature Center include The Great Swiss Gnome Hunt on Friday, November 27th at 10:00 a.m. This Black Friday event is perfect for Thanksgiving Day weekend. The Swiss Valley staff explains: “Every year Swiss Valley staff report sightings of tiny men in red hats hiding out in nooks and crannies along the trails of the preserve. Gnomes are known to be highly skilled wood workers and deeply care for nature. That may be why they are found here. It’s been long said that garden gnomes are nocturnal creatures being timid and afraid of humans. They freeze during the day in hopes that no one can see them, much like rabbits do. Or perhaps they keep moseying around, it’s hard to say. You’ll have to come and discover for yourself. Keep a safe physical distance of six feet or more from all gnomes, as well as other humans who are not a part of your group. Don’t get discouraged if you can’t find every gnome in each setting. After all, they might scamper around and try to hide from you!” This program is sponsored by the Friends of Dubuque County Conservation Board.

          Last week the Nature Center held its annual Halloween Hike. This year’s theme was focused on Scooby Doo, who was fighting off invasive species.

           Good family fun can be found outdoors. Check out the Swiss Valley Event Calendar for opportunities to share with your family or to volunteer to be a part of this imaginative organization having fun outdoors!

Newly Paved Riverside Road to the John Deere Marsh

          Riverside Road behind John Deere recently received an upgrade with new asphalt. The road back to the John Deere Marsh is newly completed, and the road and marsh are perfect for biking, birding and, of course, hiking. Dubuque County Conservation maintains a parking lot, a small boat ramp, and the marsh area for the Upper Mississippi National Wildlife and Fish Refuge.


The MyDBQ app can be downloaded from the Apple Store and the GooglePlay Store. If you are riding or walking in the Dubuque area and see an area that needs attention, such as a dangerous pothole, download the MyDBQ app and report it. There is a GPS system built into the app, recording the location. There is also the ability to take a photo of the problem area. Once the city receives the information, the problem can be directed to the proper city department or county agency for a resolution.


Kayaking at Blanding’s Landing

                A beautiful fall day called to us to go kayaking somewhere. We choose Blanding’s Landing, south of Galena off of Blackjack Road. We paddled north from the landing, viewing the cottages along the shoreline, imagining what life would be like if we owned a cabin here. We noticed a couple of train tunnels that allowed side creeks to flow into the river. The warm fall day was so enticing that we wanted to see more fall foliage.

         We then traveled to the other side of the landing, and we caught a glimpse of Bellevue across the channel.

The explosive fall colors on the drive to Blanding’s Landing were muted here along the river, but nature gave us a show we didn’t expect. About 500 coots traveled in front of us on our way back to the dock. Hiding in dying lily and lotus plants, these birds floated out silently in great swarms. When they spotted us, they took to the sky, splashing and slapping the water as they don’t gain much height when they fly. Other coots continued paddling along, undisturbed by the commotion the others were making. What a cool sight! 

Bike to Work Week Ideas

You may have noticed that the month of May passed by without any fanfare about biking to work. It may have been because many of us were working from home, our kids were attempting to learn from home and many other aspects of our lives were (and probably still are) functioning a little differently; but the League of American Bicyclists opted to shift Bike to Work Week to September 21-27, 2020. Bike Month was still celebrated in May, but you didn’t miss Bike to Work Week! 

The purpose of Bike to Work Week has always been to promote the benefits of bicycling including physical and mental health and reduced air pollution from congestion and vehicle emissions.  Many of us are still working from home, balancing childcare, our day-jobs, and figuring out how to navigate when to wear masks, when to have items delivered vs going to the store, if and when to see family and friends, etc. Because of this, Bike to Work Week is a little bit the same and a little bit different this year. 

It is what it always was: a reminder to get outside and move our bodies. It is also a chance to do it with our families or friends outside of traditional commuting hours, utilizing the public infrastructure available for biking and walking that are available in our community. Click here for maps and details on Dubuque’s trails.

Here are a few ideas to get you moving for Bike to Work Week:  

Working from home? Create a commute!

If you’re working from home, take a walk or bike ride before you officially start your workday. Plus side: no need to transport your change of clothes and you get to shower in the comfort of your own home!

Working from home with kids? Take them along for the Ride!

If you’ve got kids at home while working from home, take them with you for that pre-work walk or ride. It’s a great chance to (a) introduce your kids to the idea of getting places without a car, (b) show them the places you like to walk or bike, and/or (c) practice their (hopeful) return to school “commute” by foot or bike. I’ve been doing this with my kids throughout the pandemic and it helps them fall asleep faster at the end of the day (BONUS)!

Running an errand? Go by bike or on foot!

Fun Fact: 40% of all trips taken in the US are less than 2 miles. That’s a very reasonable biking distance. Challenge yourself to get out during Bike to Work Week and go by bike or foot for one of those trips. 

Participate in Cycle September: Global Bike Challenge

For the month of September, Love to Ride, USA is hosting a Global Bike Challenge. Log miles, earn points and win prizes!