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Old 05-11-14, 08:15 AM   #1
BobbyG
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Can't See the Forest for the Trees

Article in the local paper how we lack a vibrant bike commuter culture because our trail system doesn't connect. Wrong! But whether you agree or disagree, the article will make you think about your own city, town or situation.
RAMBLIN' MAN: Colorado Springs bike culture doesn't include commuters
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Old 05-11-14, 08:36 AM   #2
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So what's your take on the matter, OP?
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Old 05-11-14, 08:51 AM   #3
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The article is trite and devoid of content. Is that what passes for reporting where you are?
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Old 05-11-14, 09:08 AM   #4
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I guess it depends on what part of town. I live on the West side and commute 20 miles round trip daily. About 16 of that 20 is on well maintained bike paths, a big chunk of that is packed gravel/dirt but that's fine with me. I am grateful for those paths. On the other hand when riding my road bike on the weekends I tend to stick to the West side of town because it does seem to be the most bike friendly area (plus it's the most scenic IMO, and has lots of climbing opportunity). I am semi new to the area though and if I explored more I might find other nice areas to ride.
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Old 05-11-14, 10:09 AM   #5
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Colorado springs? I was there in 2008 touring and was impressed in the bike culture. We were able to get around places fine, and so were lots of others, it appeared.
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Old 05-11-14, 01:17 PM   #6
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I think it's all in where you're from. I moved from Chicago to Longmont and I am so impressed with the bike culture. When I mountain bike on shared trails everyone is so nice. I have to yield to everyone but compared to the crappy trails in the Chicago area and all the whiny hikers giving out public scolds, it's heaven.

And for commuting, it amazes me how cagers go out of their way to be nice in Longmont. Late at night, riding back from Left Hand Brewery it's a six mile ride with bike lanes, almost every driver swings wide and gives me 10 feet clearance. In Chicago they come right past me as close as possible. And lots of foreign accents telling me to get on the sidewalk, I don't know their status but they're new, it's open season for cyclists in Chicago.
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Old 05-11-14, 01:55 PM   #7
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I pass by the Old Town Bike Shop on my downtown route. In fact in the story's photo that bike shop is two lights behind the bike commuter pictured. I don't understand how the bike shop owner equates bike trails to bike commuting. For my purposes, the bike trails aren't direct enough for me. I don't advocate riding on the busiest streets, but there are plenty of side streets and wide-shouldered secondary streets that do the job just fine. And many have new and resurrected bike lanes In the last 5 years Colorado Springs has dramatically expanded its network of cost effective painted bike lanes and sharrows, but also created trails and improved existing MUPs. In this town anyone with a mirror and an Airzound should do fine on secondary surface streets with painted bike lanes.And the homeless, who may not be riding between home and work count as commuters in my book. I'd rather see more miles of cost effective painted lanes than fewer more costly MUPs. I really don't get his beef. BTW I grew up in Chicago and second your assesment.
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Old 05-11-14, 02:08 PM   #8
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The article is trite and devoid of content. Is that what passes for reporting where you are?
Spoken from the home of Piers Morgan, glass houses and all that....
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Old 05-11-14, 02:21 PM   #9
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In this town anyone with a mirror and an Airzound should do fine on secondary surface streets with painted bike lanes.
Seriously? Is commuting that much of a struggle?
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Old 05-11-14, 02:27 PM   #10
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I'm inclined to agree with the article, it matches my experience of meeting many people here who ride for fun but never commute, and of course the stats show that the Springs is well behind the rest of the state. I'd bet that when some of the big gaps in the trail system are fixed that the number of bike commuters will increase considerably, because right now the north and east parts of town aren't connected very well, and I've had plenty of people tell me that they'd like to ride to go places but aren't willing to ride on roads with 50+ mph traffic.
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Old 05-12-14, 08:16 AM   #11
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The writer has a good point. A lot of riders don't like riding on the roads. If the separate paths were all connected, it would probably encourage a lot more bicycle riders to commute.
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Old 05-12-14, 02:53 PM   #12
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I only started commuting when I could do 3/4 on a trail.

but I'm scared of cars.
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Old 05-12-14, 06:37 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by BobbyG View Post
Article in the local paper how we lack a vibrant bike commuter culture because our trail system doesn't connect. Wrong! But whether you agree or disagree, the article will make you think about your own city, town or situation.
RAMBLIN' MAN: Colorado Springs bike culture doesn't include commuters
To be fair to the article, the fact that the trails don't connect is the last reason they mention. It's not the only one.

I don't live in Colorado Springs so take this with a grain of salt. I think the commuter culture we have in Minneapolis has a lot to do with the MUPs/Greenways and less to do with bike lanes and shared lanes. I think people for the most part are OK with riding on neighborhood streets with or without bike lanes but any kind of major thoroughfare makes people skittish.

If you have trails that can get you all the way across town, from North to South and East to West, that is a tremendous asset. Just because you or I might be comfortable mixing it up with traffic, doesn't mean that it doesn't make a lot of potential bike commuters nervous.

I should add too that here most painted bike lanes are pretty much useless from late December into March while the separate bike infrastructure is often plowed better than the streets.

An interesting study would be to determine the number of additional bike commuters for every $100,000 spent on trails add vs the same money spent on bike lanes. Frankly if it weren't for the fact that over 1/2 of my commute is on a trail, I wouldn't do it in the winter.

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