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  1. #1
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    Madison, WI - Bike path snow removal?

    I'm hopefully moving to Madison in the very near future and am hoping to commute or do other errands by bike - possibly be car-free. Obviously the streets that have the curb lane for bikes is cleaned off after snow but what about the bike paths?

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    Plowed. But not de-iced.

    The parks department, not streets, plows the bike paths. And some say they are in better shape and plowed more quickly.

    Don't know where you are now, but hope you have cold weather gear. It's often in the single fahrenheit digits in the morning in the winter.
    Last edited by Wiswell; 09-28-07 at 11:21 AM.

  3. #3
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    I'm in Eastern Iowa right now, so yeah, basically just as cold here. It might be wishful thinking but I would like to save as much money as I can just starting out in the working world and the company I interviewed at yesterday was uber bike friendly.

  4. #4
    Undrafted free-agent. jbmadtown's Avatar
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    They do a pretty good job of plowing most of the bike paths. The bike lanes on roads can be pretty dicey especially downtown- the snowplows tend to pile the snow right up into the bike lane...arghh. Oh well, you take the lane and hope for the best.

    There's a good number of people who commute through the winter and the bike path system is pretty extensive. I think you'll enjoy it. FYI- check out madisonbiking.com, madvelo.com, and bombaybicylcle.org. We like to bike here in Madison!

  5. #5
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    Ditto on jbmadtown's response. The paths are great. I live in Fitchburg and commute to downtown Madison on the Capital City Trail every day. I commute with deer, hawks and woolly-bear caterpillars. There are a few days when the snow piles up and doesn't get promptly removed, but normally, the paths are rideable.

    My recomendation is to get an old second-hand wheelset and put a set of studded knobbies on them. On icy, snowy days, pop the studs on and let 'er rip.

    I'm not sure if you're coming from out of state, but if so, here's a partial list of organizations you might be interested in:

    Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin: http://www.bfw.org The best $25 you'll ever spend on cycling.
    Wisconsin Off-Road Series: http://www.wors.org The biggest off-road racing series in the country.
    WiSport: http://www.wisport.org An outstanding citizen road-racing series.

    Good luck with the move!

  6. #6
    Senior Member John Wilke's Avatar
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    You wouldn't let a little snow stop 'ya ... aina?



    I always thought that I got more traction on a little snow than glare ice (the snow bonds to the ice giving some traction).

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    As a very wimpy bike commuter myself, may I suggest getting to know the bus routes and stops along your commute or near your home for the really crappy weather. Madison's buses have bike racks that can hold 2 or 3 bikes and are quite easy to use.

  8. #8
    Mountain goat Brigadier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jahona View Post
    I'm hopefully moving to Madison in the very near future and am hoping to commute or do other errands by bike - possibly be car-free. Obviously the streets that have the curb lane for bikes is cleaned off after snow but what about the bike paths?
    Actually the bike lane in winter is worse than taking the lane. It builds up that icy slush that is worse than glare ice. As for the bike paths, they are cleared but it tends to take a day or so. As a result most of the time people end up walking on the snow and it becomes a bit ... bumpy. However I've survived two winters so far without any problems so it is doable.

  9. #9
    Geosynchronous Falconeer recursive's Avatar
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    To echo the above:

    Bike lanes are not cleared. That is where they pile the other snow. Some of the paths are. Sometimes the middle the lane is the way to go. Sometimes the paths are. On the plus side for the paths, they don't get much traffic in the winter.
    Bring the pain.

  10. #10
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    Well, I looked at the Madison city bike map today and now I can be more specific as to the paths I'll be taking. It looks like most of my commuting route will be on the SW Commuter trail (or Capital City trail for a scenic route) and most of my errands will probably be in the isthmus/downtown area.

  11. #11
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    The SW bike path is cleared, but I am not sure it is cleared the entire length (perhaps only until Glenway St or Odana). The portion closer to campus down to W. Washington (one block off downtown) is cleared. You can still encounter snowy/icy spots. The city clears SW bike path and the county does most of the Capital City trail. The Capital City trail has quite a few shady spots that can harbor snow spots for more days than you would expect (I know from "spring" wipeout experiences), or create black ice from melting/refreezing.

  12. #12
    Geosynchronous Falconeer recursive's Avatar
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    The capital city trail is not cleared at all. At least the part on the south side.
    I think the SW trail is cleared at least to the belt line.
    Bring the pain.

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