The winter has come on strong and keeping active will require a little more work. If you’re a yearround bike rider, you already have pulled out your extreme weather gear and hopefully it is keeping you protected. If not, stop in at your favorite bike shop for what you need. Staying warm and dry is of utmost importance in cold weather. Every year there are improvements to active wear and other gear, so check it out. Winter riding is more enjoyable than you might expect, but riding cold is no fun.
If you just can’t get yourself out on your bike when the snow is on the ground, think about a trainer for your bike that will allow you to ride indoors. A good trainer will allow you to stay in shape through the winter and you’ll be ready to ride as soon and the snow melts. Riding your own bike makes it easier to keep riding. No need to try and adapt to some other bike geometry or hope what’s available at a gym will work for you.
Whichever way you choose to keep physically active this winter, don’t forget to keep active in the public arena and the political arena. There are numerous facilities and policy planning efforts going on throughout the year, but often, the winter is when plans are being developed and finalized for the next year. This is true for bike facilities, too. A case in point is the Southwest LRT. This corridor is currently a bike trail along most of the corridor, but planning for the construction of the rail line is moving ahead.
The intent is to develop the corridor to accommodate both rail and the bike trail, but federal transportation funds can’t be spent for the bike trail. Construction of the light rail will require re-alignment of the bike trail even if it is kept on the LRT property. Funding for the bike trail has not been identified yet, and this is the time for citizens to voice their support for the trail and to include it in both the planning and the funding of the project. There are also numerous smaller projects throughout the Twin Cities Metro area that need citizen support if they are to succeed.
Talk with your elected representatives at both the local and state level and let them know how you feel about the projects that will affect both motorized and non-motorized transportation.
Don’t wait until you see a newspaper article about a new construction project that doesn’t include non-motorized transportation services, because that’s too late.
Here are a few biking resources that can help you find out what is going on in your area:
Dan Breva is the manager of the Freewheel Midtown Bike Center at the Midtown Exchange.