Bicycles are a great way to get where you want to go in Milwaukee. Whether you are going to work, the store, the movies or to visit a friend, getting around Milwaukee by bike can be more convenient and faster than driving a car. Each year more and more Milwaukeeans are choosing to bike to work every day, all year round, through rain, sleet snow storms and sub-zero temperatures. You may not be quite that single minded, but cycling down the Hank Aaron State Trail on a nice day can be a pretty pleasant way to get to work once in a while compared to the stressful freeway.
In our culture of working long hours and over scheduled lives, biking to work is like "free" time to ride. If it takes you 20 minutes to drive each way, park and walk to your workplace, you can probably bike that distance in 30 minutes or less. That means it is only taking you an extra 20 minutes per day, but you are getting a full hour or riding in. It's like someone just added 40 extra minutes to your day just to ride your bike.
But even if you can't or don't want to bike to work you can still get some "free" miles in by hopping on your bike to make that run to the video store or coffee shop. Here are a few tips to help you get started getting around Milwaukee by Bike for transportation.
1.) Have a bike that is ready for utilitarian trips. You don't want to have to waste time looking for your lock, light, pump, etc.every time you want to use your bike. Either keep one bike all set up as a utilitarian transportation bike or at least keep your light, lock, tools and spare tube in a backpack or messenger bag so you can grab it and go.
2.) Unless you are pretty good at estimating your time to bike somewhere and picking your route, try riding your route to work once or twice before you actually need to get to work on time. You may find the route you thought would take 15 minutes took 20 minutes, or you want to take a different route due to unexpected traffic or road conditions.
3.) You don't have to wear lycra bike clothes to ride your bike. Just wear whatever you wear to work. Men can bike in suits and ties and women can bike in dresses and high heals. In the US we have a culture of cycling in lycra, but in most countries people just ride in whatever they are wearing normally. Click here to see a great website to see how anyone can ride in any outfit: http://www.ski-epic.com/amsterdam_bicycles/
4.) Riding with someone can also make the commute by bike more fun. The Wisconsin Dept. of Transportation Ride Share program has an online "Bike Buddy" matching system. You input your start and destination and work hours and it finds other people in your area with similar situations. Find out more at www.rideshare.wi.gov