Archive for July, 2011

Bikeverywhere is Looking for a Web Designer

Posted by Doug Shidell, July 27th , 2011.

Bikeverywhere is looking for a freelance web designer who can maintain the current site in WordPress and has extensive experience working with shopping carts. The current shopping cart is called SHOPP and works with PayPal. I’m open to trying a different cart. Interested designers can contact Doug Shidell via the contact page.


Filed under: Bikeverywhere News, Misc

Rock Island Swing Bridge

Posted by Doug Shidell, July 26th , 2011.

Older versions of the Twin Cities Bike Map showed a bridge crossing from Inver Grove Heights to Newport. It was the only bridge crossing the Mississippi River between  Downtown St. Paul and Hastings. The bridge was unique in that it was a privately owned toll bridge that carried cars on the first level and trains on the upper level.  It was in rough shape in the early days of the bike map and got progressively worse over the years. First the trains stopped running because the bridge structure couldn’t support them, then the roadway deck began crumbling and eventually the bridge was shut down.

The crossing wasn’t special in a truly functional way. It was narrow, potholed, rusty and it dropped you off at the gates of a large refinery, but there was a charm attached to crossing this relict and the toll, I think it was around 0.35 for bikes, added more than it subtracted from the experience. Equally important, when it closed down it made Newport, Grey Cloud Island and roads in that area less accessible.

Since then DOT has added a bike crossing to the Wacouta Bridge and in 2010 the old toll bridge rose from the ashes as the Inver Grove Heights Rock Island Swing Bridge Recreational Pier. The new pier juts halfway into the Mississippi River and offers great views of islands, back channels, marinas and river floodplain.

Bicyclists can access the Swing Bridge by taking the South.. St. Paul Regional Trail to 66th St, then heading toward the Mississippi River (East). The trail runs north/south along the Mississippi River from Concord St. in West St. Paul to Old Concord St. in Inver Grove Heights.

Filed under: Bikeverywhere News

Two Minnesota state trails turn 25

Posted by Doug Shidell, July 25th , 2011.

Now that Minnesota is back in operation, I’d like congratulate the folks at the Cannon Valley Trail and the Root River Trail for providing riders with two great trails for 25 years.

The Cannon Valley Trail, just 40 miles from the Twin Cities, draws a lot of visitors for day trips through its varied landscapes. From Cannon Falls in bluff country to Red Wing in the valley of the Mississippi River, the trail alternately hugs the Cannon River, passes under towering cliffs, runs through prairie grasslands and explores river floodplains. The center of the trail, near the town of Welch and the Welch Ski Hill, is also one of the most popular starting points. From there you can go upstream toward Cannon Falls or downstream to Red Wing.

One of my favorite activities is to ride the trail on a frosty, full moon night in October or November.

You can download the Cannon Valley Trail chapter of Bicycle Vacation Guide or pick up the book and get all of the major trails in Minnesota and Western Wisconsin.

The most popular town on the Root River Trail is Lanesboro with its entire downtown list on the Historic Register of Places. The trail follows the scenic Root River through the bluff country of southeastern Minnesota. It’s a beautiful trail with bluffs, deep woods, the river and rural landscapes sharing the corridor of the Root River.  The Harmony-Preston Valley Trail branches off the Root River Trail and follows a quiet creek upstream to bluffs, then climbs for nearly a mile to the small town of Harmony. Explore some of the unusual destinations in Harmony such as the wood carving museum and the toy museum, then fly back down the bluffs on your way back to the Root River Trail.

You can download the Root River chapter of Bicycle Vacation Guide or pick up the book and get all of the major trails in Minnesota and Western Wisconsin.

Filed under: Bikeverywhere News, Misc

Bicycling in 3D

Posted by Doug Shidell, July 25th , 2011.

Shortly after the bridge carrying the Ozaukee Interurban Trail over Interstate 43 opened, I decided to try it out. Looking down, I spotted a couple of bicyclists on the frontage road staring up at the bridge and obviously wondering how to get on the trail. Unfortunately for them, the bridge spanned the frontage road along with the interstate, with no connection.

As more bike paths are built, particularly on converted railroads, we are likely to see more situations where two bike routes cross without connecting. In my last post, I listed a number of such situations with the Hank Aaron State Trail. The HAST is an extreme case, both because it starts in a valley and then moves to a former railroad, but there are a number of similar cases in Milwaukee:

  • The new Beer Line Trail passes under North Ave without connecting to it.
  • The East Side Oak Leaf Trail passes under Prospect, Farwell, and Locust without direct connections. There is a trail connection mid-block between Farwell and Prospect and one about a block south of Locust.
  • A path starts at the east end of Brady St, descends the bluff to the Oak Leaf Trail. It then connects a bridge that passes over Lincoln Memorial Drive to connect to the bike path on the lake side of the drive. There is no connection, however, to the path on the west side of the drive.
  • The Marsupial bridge under the Holton St bridge skips over Commerce St.

Just being in the right horizontal location may not be enough if one is too high or too low.

Filed under: Bikeverywhere News

Devils Lake State Park

Posted by Doug Shidell, July 18th , 2011.

My first overnight bicycle tour went from Madison to Devil’s Lake State Park. It wasn’t a long ride- 45 miles one way, but it opened my eyes to the potential of the bicycle to explore distant places. Within a year I began riding the entire southern half of Wisconsin exploring bike routes for my first book “Bicycle Escape Routes.”

Devils’ Lake State Park turns 100 this year, and it has a number of celebrations planned for the summer, including Old Fashioned Day on July 23 and an ice cream social and string band on August 28. Click the link above for more information about the park and activities in the area.

You can ride your bike in and around the park, but if you want to get a taste for bicycle touring and have a great destination, try the Devil’s Lake Download from Bikeverywhere. The download includes great back roads from Middleton (a western suburb of Madison) to the free Merrimac Ferry across Lake Wisconsin. The ferry ride takes 7 minutes to cross and bikes get on right away. From there you take a couple of more scenic back roads that pass through rolling hills and marshlands to the park entrance.

Don’t be fooled by the road into the park. Because of the talus slopes along the road, it appears to be flat or even slightly downhill, but you’ll be working hard because the road actually climbs at a decent grade.

If you have the time and energy, continue north to Baraboo, home of Circus World Museum. The route is included in the download.

Filed under: Bikeverywhere News

Mississippi Market and Bikes

Posted by Doug Shidell, July 11th , 2011. One response

Mississippi Market, the food coop on W. 7th st in St. Paul, has always supported bicycling, but they seem to have taken that support to an extra level recently. This photo shows a public workstand, complete with tools and a floor pump for inflating tires. It’s not a bike shop mechanic’s stand, but for the DYI commuter bicyclistwho needs air in the tires or a quick tune-up, it’s a perfect set up. Obviously someone at Mississippi Market understands the needs of bicyclists beyond bike racks and lanes.

Mississippi Market has carried the Twin Cities Bike Map for years along with other guides to aid bicyclists. Thanks Mississippi Market.

Filed under: Bikeverywhere News