Ordinance could mean an end to organized rides in Iowa County

Will this ordinance end organized rides on the beautiful rural roads in Iowa County?

If a proposed ordinance regulating bicycle and motorcycle rides in Iowa County passes, it may mean the end of some of Wisconsin’s favorite organized rides in the Driftless region, including GRABAAWR and the Horribly Hilly Hundreds. You can read the proposed ordinance by clicking on the image below and to the right. The next Iowa County Transportation Committee meeting is MONDAY OCT., 28TH  6:00PM
Health and Human Services Building
Community Room
303 W. Chapel Street
Dodgeville, WI 53533
Enter through doors off back parking lot and immediately go up the stairs.

Please send your comments today to:

 craig.hardy@iowacounty.org  

or call his work number 608-935-3381 ext. 605

A number of attended cycling events in southwest Wisconsin would be challenged by this ordinance, including the USA Cycling Amateur Road National Championship, Bombay Bicycle Club’s Wright Stuff Century, BREW tour, the Dairyland Dare, GRABAAR, the Horribly Hilly Hundreds, and the weekly Wednesday Night Bikes Rides (http://www.wnbr.org/). Many of these rides will no longer happen if this ordinance  passes, since it places unworkable restrictions on all events traveling on country roads in Iowa County. Since so many rides bike through Iowa County, we feel that this will leave the area behind on the benefits of bike economies.

Click to open a PDF

In addition to the possibility of losing some of Wisconsin’s signature rides, our Share & Be Aware pedestrian/bicycle and motorist education along with a general celebration of multi-modal transportation will be set back tremendously in this part of our state if we do not act now. Thank you for your supportive comments for bicycling in this beautiful county.

The draft of the ordinance being drafted by the Transportation Committee of the Iowa County Board can be found on pages 9-18 here: http://tinyurl.com/l9xwbxr  Pages 19-27 contain meeting notes and recommendations arising from Town Hall meetings with residents of eastern Iowa County who deem cycling as a nuisance.

As drafted the ordinance erects substantial barriers to organized recreational use of public roads.

A number of well attended cycling events in southwest Wisconsin would be challenged by the ordinance including the USA Cycling Amateur Road National Championship, Bombay Bicycle Club’s Wright Stuff Century, BREW tour, the Dairyland Dare, GRABAAR, the Horribly Hilly Hundreds, and the weekly Wednesday Night Bikes Rides (http://www.wnbr.org/) which occur in Iowa County to name a few. Many such rides will no longer happen if this ordinance  passes, since it places unworkable restrictions on all events traveling on country roads in Iowa County. Since so many rides bike through Iowa County, we feel that this will leave the area behind on the benefits of bike economies.

Some call outs from the ordinance.

  • Events would need to carry a $4M insurance policy.
  • Special events must notify all residents and businesses along the route via U.S. Postal service. Notices must contain the full route of the event including all start and stop locations.
  • Detailed event signage plan required for Iowa County government approval.
  • Iowa County government reserves the right to cancel any event at their discretion.
  • Iowa County government reserves the right to deny permits for event at their discretion.
  • Lighting requirements more restrictive than WI DOT statutes.

Along with providing physical and social benefits to riders there is significant economic impact on a local level from biking events and tours.  Craig Hardy is soliciting feedback on the ordinance draft and he may be contacted at Craig.Hardy@iowacounty.org or via his work number 608-935-3381 x605.

 

Your letters, calls and emails are the most important thing you can do to help us fight this infringement on our right to the road, but your membership fees are our only source of funds for this sort of advocacy work. By joining or renewing today, you can fund our staff time to work with ride organizers and send staff to meetings to fight for your rights.

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33 thoughts on “Ordinance could mean an end to organized rides in Iowa County

  1. My email:
    ======================
    Dear Craig,

    This anti-cycling ordinance seems ill-conceived. It will end Iowa County as a destination for road cyclists. Maybe that is the aim. Have its proponents thought about the economic impact of shutting off this source of tourism & recreation/sports spending?

    I’m not an Iowa County resident. I live in Madison and bicycle several times a year in Iowa County, for social/training rides and organized events. So I would be one of the people some Iowa County residents consider a nuisance.

    I don’t know how much $ I spend in Iowa County on my cycling visits there – maybe a few hundred dollars a year on food, gas, lodging, event fees, etc. Multiply me by thousands, and … well it seems shortsighted to declare war on a cash cow, rather than look for constructive solutions. Such as education and enforcement initiatives to improve cyclist behavior, and road markings when roads get redone.

    Other Wisconsin counties are investing in attracting out-of-county cyclists and their dollars to their roads. Trempeleau and Buffalo Counties have gotten national press coverage as bicycle tourism destinations. Iowa County has similarly stellar assets for bicycle tourism. It seems short-sighted to pass an ordinance that would end that, rather than finding ways to embrace it, and profit from it.

    Thank you,
    Peter Gray
    Madison

  2. I’m not completely surprised that they’re looking to put some regulations and procedures into place given how many events take place in that area. I organize a small ride out of northern Dane Co and I need to get a permit for our ride with similar regulations. It’s intended to get everyone working together and establish some boundaries, is all. If the regulations are reasonable and well-intended… then it makes sense. I noticed tho that the drafted ordinance calls for route signage to be at least 6′ from the roadway. Who looks off the road 6′ or more for a route directional sign…? Not me! Hmmm….

  3. Simply a reason not to visit Iowa County, when there are so very many other areas in Wisconsin and throughout the Midwest that welcome visitors’ money.

  4. Let Iowa County officials go their misguided way, and let Iowa County businesses suffer the consequences. Wisconsin has no shortage of counties that recognize the economic and business diversity advantages that accompany bike riders and biking events. This is not rocket science … let Iowa County go its own, very lonely way by ignoring the cultural, social, economic and environmental advantages that accompany support for recreational biking.

  5. Again, a shortsighted reaction that will hurt their local economy. I agree with some of the other comments, organizers will have to move their events to counties that want the extra cash flow into their communities.

  6. Before we all choose to pick sides, we should all think about what is at stake. Certainly Iowa Co. representatives and proponents of this legislation have thought things through. As and event organizer, I do feel there are certain components of the proposed ordinance changes that are taken a bit too far. I sat through every town board meeting for Horribly Hilly Hundreds last year and actually re-visited a number of town boards to debrief them following this year’s event. I was appalled at the behavior representative of some of the other events and FULLY understand why changes are being pursued. Working with county authorities to draft smart legislation is in everyone’s best interest. Don’t just complain, get involved.

    • I agree fully, GET INVOLVED!

      As a Town Chairman (not in Iowa County ~ ((Jefferson)) We are asked by our constituents to act upon issues.
      As a former small business owner we loved the events that brought income to our store.
      As a Road Biker I love the Iowa County area, it has a great following and I hope that they will find a happy medium to still allow these events.

      That being said, of course there are knee jerk reactions to issues but your understanding and appearance to (voice / listen to) opinions and comments may just broaden your views.

      This may be the first shot at an ordinance with the County but you have a voice to interject your thoughts…those thoughts may broaden THEIR opinion as to what is needed to allow these types of programs. Your opinion may broaden the same ideas or create new ideas that may lesson the inconvenience to the citizens they have to answer to as elected board members.
      To repeat: Get INVOLVED! no wieners, they never get anything done!

  7. I am a resident of Iowa County and am very fortunate to participate in these events in my own back yard. It is very difficult to top the scenery in this part of the state. This ordinance will cause significant economic damage to the county, without a doubt. These events attract riders from all over the country. In addition to our own area, I have ridden with folks from Denver, Kansas City, Boston, NYC, Minneapolis, Chicago, and Indianapolis.

    The course markings section of this ordinance is overly restrictive. What is the harm in marking the road with paint that will wash away in a few months? I have volunteered many years marking routes and can attest to signage being vandalized and worse, turned the wrong way. Marking the road with paint is less prone to vandalism, keeps the riders eyes on the road, and reduces cleanup effort significantly.

    Certificate of Insurance: 4M!! Really!!? Each participant signs a waiver of liability. This is purely a tactic to prevent these rides and races from occurring.

    These events in Iowa County occur in only a handful of days in the entire summer. It is apparent the anti-cycling folks that want this ordinance are very intolerant.

  8. So what really is the county trying to accomplish here? Have they ever given reason for this nonsense?

    It sounds to me like some official(s) of Iowa County have a pretty big axe to grind. I hope this ordinance is reviewed and some of the more insane parts of it removed or modified. I have no problem with a county making sure riders and motorists are safe. I have no problem with regulating large events. It is when the events become restrictive to the point of absurdity where issue arises.

    I have never biked Iowa County myself, and honestly had no real plans to. However if this ordinance passes I urge every cycling event to pick up and move to an adjoining county! Or in the case of large rides, go right around Iowa County.

    And for you unfortunate business owners that count on cyclists dollars, for your sake, I hope you get involved and speak out too. You are the ones that are going to be kicked in the wallet. Let your county officials know that.

    As for any cyclists reading, if this passes, go ride somewhere else. Give Iowa County ZERO of your time and dollars.

    My thoughts anyway/….

  9. This is absolutely appalling and shortsighted. I am amazed buy the backwards thinking of the Town Boards in Iowa County. I would concur with some of the other comments here, in that, we should move our beloved events to other parts of the state that welcome cycling and choose to spend our money in their communities. Unfortunately, this is a wonderful part of the state to ride and it would be shameful to have to move the events. My hope is that reasonable compromises can be made and we can continue to ride/race in Iowa County.

  10. I’ve read the draft ordinance in its entirety. Wow! It would be a lot easier and less expensive to just pay for a $25 violation.

    I think one avenue of political pressure is to advise the merchants (grocery and convenience stores, restaurants, hotels) who are the beneficiaries of bicycle spending that if this ordinance passes, those dollars go away. For example, I’ll tell Lands’ End my online ordering and purchases at Sears goes to zero. With a population of only 23,000 in the county, I suppose there’s not much commerce in Iowa county.

    There’s has to be something going on for a county reaction to be this strong. It’s beyond reasonable,and on that basis, would probably be in court for a ruling of validity of the ordinance. I.e., signs at a minimum six feet from the edge of the paved roadway. I expect there are many miles of county roads that do not have six feet of room. Equal enforcement would call for every yard sale and garage sale sign to have the same restriction.

    The Iowa County board of supervisors ought to go work for Eli Lilly Pharmaceuticals selling Cialis. After all, they have conquered the slogan “Can we make this any harder?”

  11. I think I can safely speak for many cyclists when I say how fortunate I feel to be able to ride my bike in this beautiful and challenging area with its many lightly traveled roads, great sites like Blue Mound State Park and Taliesin, and great scenery. Like many others, I come from a considerable distance away just for the enjoyment of riding my bike in this area, and while there I stay in local hotels, eat at local restaurants, and have on occasion even done a bit of shopping in Mt. Horeb. and Madison. I realize how polarizing this issue is to cyclists wanting access to the roads, and to promoters of cycling events including races, but also to local residents who either simply dislike cyclists or feel that their presence is at times a nuisance. I know this to be the case because of this proposal by Iowa County, but also from personal experience while riding there when a silver Chrysler minivan deliberately tried to run me over, and when another motorist told a family member that “you know, a lot of people around here just wish all you bikers would die”- in both instances we were riding completely legally. I’m not in the loop, so I’m not sure if the proposed ordinance is in fact trying to prevent events from happening at all, or just trying to gain a bit of control over how they are run and organized, and in doing so limit their legal liability exposure and appease those local residents that want to see fewer cycling events and fewer cyclists on their roads. From a very brief search it doesn’t appear that such requests or ordinances are without precedent; http://www.ncdot.gov/bikeped/bicycle/racing/ ( from the state of North Carolina)
    What we have is a cyclists legal right to use the roads and to ride in groups if they desire, and a second group of local residents angry about having to interact with cyclists on local roads, and a third group including the county or counties involved- including elected officials and law enforcement wanting to make sure event participants and organizers obey traffic laws and run their events in a way that minimizes impact on local residents and motorists who ‘don’t want to be bothered’. They also understandably want to protect themselves from lawsuits related to injuries sustained by anyone participating in, working at, or interacting with the event. To the citizen who spoke at the meeting and stated that the bike rides were ‘an invasion of his privacy’- I’m sorry, your right to privacy ends at your lot line and doesn’t extend onto public roads. Have any event organizers spoken out yet to state what they feel the full impact of this ordinance will be on organized rides in the area; does it simply make it impossible for the rides to exist under the proposed ordinance, or simply mean more work and expense to comply with the conditions of the ordinance? It will certainly be interesting to see the outcome, lets hope that cooler heads prevail and solutions acceptable to all can be arrived at. I do know that, to paraphrase a term more often used by those who own guns, that I will stop riding on the wonderful roads of this area “when they pry my bicycle from my cold dead fingers”.

  12. My family and I have lived in Dodgeville since 2005. During this time, my wife, children, and I have participated in a number of charitable running and cycling events including the Humane Society and Nurses’ Runs and the Dairyland Dare. I am particularly concerned about the effects this ordinance will have on cycling events hosted in the county or others that use county roads. With that said, most of my thoughts and comments come from a cyclist’s point of view.

    A few thoughts regarding the Special Events Ordinance:

    The drafting of this ordinance and its complexity due to the complaints of a very small part of the county’s entire population seems a bit absurd.

    Some of the points within the ordinance make complete sense. Requiring some sort of permitting and making a concerted effort to inform the public of an upcoming event are probably something most can agree on. Doing these things would help with planning on the part of organizers, law enforcement, participants, and non participating residents. Ultimately, this planning would result in smoothly run, safe events.

    On the other hand, parts of the ordinance are completely overreaching and restrictive. The requirement of $4 million dollars in insurance. Where did that number come from? Most events have participants sign a waiver of liability to make this a non issue. This insurance requirement would likely be the most restrictive part of the ordinance and the hardest for event organizers to compensate for. I’m confident that most small community-run events (charitable runs/walks and parades) in the county could not shoulder the cost. The guidelines for signage seem the
    quintessential example of government overreach.

    I read through the meeting minutes and the complaints logged by county residents. Most, if not all, were directed at cyclists. Some were reasonable. Residents wanting to be alerted to event dates and routes. Encouraging organizers to educate/remind participants of safe riding practices and to be respectful of residents and their property along routes. Other comments were made by ignorant and self absorbed residents. They ranged from: no cyclists on roads at all to single file riding only to implying that cyclists were invading their privacy by riding past their houses. To say that cyclists are an irresponsible and disrespectful group is simply not true. The vast majority of residents have a positive or indifferent view of cyclists. Craig, I am glad you were able to dismiss some of these complaints as trivial and felt your thoughts on some of the other complaints were well thought out and reasonable.

    I would hope the board makes a decision based upon the positives these events bring and not on the worries of a disgruntled few. Regardless of your own opinion, you must make the best ruling for 1000′s, not 10′s.

    Thank you,
    Pete K.

  13. Dear Mr. Hardy,

    I wanted to express my concerns regarding the proposed ordinace regarding bicycle and motorcycle events. I live in Madison but ride all over southwestern Wisconsin in big rides and small. I am surprised that Iowa County businesses would really want to turn away thousands of hungry and thirsty riders in the interest of a few town residents who feel they own the roads. So the bars, restaurants, gas stations, hotels and bike stores of Dodgeville, Barneveld, Mineral Point and Hollandale really want me and my fellow riders to take our money to another county?

    I can understand wanting to work with the larger rides to coordinate the use of the roads to benefit everyone’s safety, but parts of the ordinance really go too far. $4 M in insurance is a lot to ask of the rides, as is the signage requirements and sign plan review and approval.

    There are 71 other counties in the state that I and my fellow riders can ride in, but does Iowa Co really want to turn away the economic benefits of tourism by bike and motorcycle? Many communities around the state and the country have realized the economic benefits of being bike friendly, is Iowa County really so far behind?

    Please reconsider some of the more restrictive elements of this ordinance, work with the ride organizers, I am sure a compromise is possible.

  14. I am from Chicago, and have ridden the organized rides in Iowa County for the past three years. In those years, with my wife in attendance, we have spent THOUSANDS of dollars in the county during ride weekends. I have met people from all over the midwest during these rides and presumably, these people have spent a similar amount in the county.

    I have found all the ride volunteers, all locals, to be kind, courteous and helpful to the cyclists. Likewise, I have observed all the riders I have interacted with reciprocating that kindness and courtesy to the locals. Of course there are exceptions on both sides of the issue, but I simply cannot imagine how an entire county could be so short-sighted in realizing the tremendous economic and cultural benefit these rides have on your little corner of the world.

    To enact these ride restrictions would be the equivalent of throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Yes, the suggestions on better notification of rides for the locals seems reasonable, and certainly, in addition to the liability waiver, a strict code of conduct could also be included as part of the rider’s signup process. But as one of the above writers commented, don’t short-change or penalize the 1000′s for the cries of the 10′s.

    Michael
    Horribly Hilly 2011
    Horribly Hilly 2012
    Dairyland Dare 2013

  15. I have been bicycling through and around Dodgeville for more than 20 years. Some of the best cycling roads in the US are in Iowa County. The Dairyland Dare is a wonderful challenging event.
    It is not a perfect place to ride. I have been run off the road, and pulled off of my bike by drunken motorists. In Rock County a driver hit me head on after losing control of his car at 60 mph and the police refused to give him a ticket.
    This year a group of us rode through, spent the night at the Don Q hotel and ate dinner there. I hope we have the opportunity to revisit the area.
    Communication about large events, coordination with local officials and businesses make perfect sense. Signage regulations that are misguided and insurance requirements that are silly do not serve the greater good.

  16. We’ve been laboring in La Crosse (city) as well as La Crosse (county) under similar restrictions for the past fifteen-twenty years, although those in La Crosse deal only with a “parade permit” requirement.  These are far and away more restrictive than anything I’ve seen before.

    I also wonder if this would hold for something like a Big Bikes for Little Tykes run to raise money for Toys for Tots, or for a gathering of classic/antique car enthusiasts, or for Dodgeville’s own “Farmer’s Appreciation Day” celebration, its on again/off again Blues Fest, or even their local high school’s homecoming celebration.

    I suspect some Tea-bagger has gone off his meds and, emboldened by Reichsführer Walker’s antics over the past three years, is pushing this crap for all it’s worth.

  17. I wrote a letter to Mr Hardy. It may have been a bit pointed in some parts. Following is his response. I thought I would just share it just because.

    Craig Hardy
    7:01 AM (14 minutes ago)

    to me
    In reading your email, I believe you may not be fully aware of the number of complaints or the timeframe. This is not an issue which happened over night. The County has been working /or trying to with event organizers for 5 years. It is the event organizers and organizations themselves which are the problem, and not all of them. The DRAFT ordinance was crafted from the various issues of the residents, participants, law enforcement, and organizers themselves to craft regulation for the event(s). It is a SPECIAL EVENTS ordinance not a bike regulation. The distribution to the event organizers was for obtaining feedback of how the ordinance may limit or restrict their event planning as it currently occurs, in an effort to receive further feedback from stakeholders of the issues and how best to resolve them. It is obvious you are very passionate about the activities you partake in. As a matter of fact the county has experienced fatalities related to some of these events, namely in 2010 when a biker was killed participating in an event of which the county had no knowledge of occurring until the 911 call. No economic impact from an organized event can replace the life of the lost individual. It is the event organizers who own the responsibility in policing and controlling their events, as well as informing the public, creating a chain of command for resolving issues, having a plan for emergency response, etc.. The focus of an ordinance/regulation is for all of the organizers to perform that to the same level = increased education, awareness, and safety of all parties involved. Thanks for your comments, we will compile them and distribute to the county board.

    Craig E Hardy, PE/RLS
    Iowa County Highway Commissioner
    608-935-3381 X605

  18. Hi Craig,

    I recently read the proposed special events ordinance and related testimony. While I agree that some aspects of the special events ordinance may be beneficial (ex: notifying law enforcement of an event) I think the ordinance as written is burdensome and lacks specificity. I do not live in Iowa County but I have participated in number of the events whose organizers provided testimony on this ordinance as well as smaller, less organized events that may be impacted. I agree with the testimony I read and hope that this ordinance is dropped or rewritten to remove the burden and clarify the requirements. In particular, I think there is a need to ensure that this ordinance only applies to very large events and cannot be easily applied to every event or gathering by the busybodies and complainers that always come out of the woodwork when they see others having fun.

  19. In 2005, while serving on the board of a local cycling club, I had to go before the Iowa County board to get permission for our route. The county board had many of the same safety concerns back then. There was a lot of concern because of the amount of competitive rides (HHH, Badger State Games, and Iron Man) and the constant stream of cyclists training for their upcoming event. Despite their concerns I found them to be reasonable and they did grant our permit.

    I was, however, unsuccessful in convincing our own club board that we should not advertise our event with pictures of cyclists behaving badly. Nearly every club I know of cannot resist using pictures of cyclists riding two or more abreast, usually taking up an entire lane of traffic. Even the picture in this article is guilty of this offense! We all know the law and most rides have some rule or at least an encouragement to not impede traffic, but few enforce it. When the ride brochure shows cyclists spread out across the road cresting a hill, it does little to discourage the practice.

  20. I work for a small bicycling touring company and agree with some of the above comments that Iowa County would lose tourist dollars in a large, large amount. Not only resturaunts, hotels, convience stores, and lgas stations. Add local cheese stores, winery’s and craft beers to the mix. Which as an emloyee, cary for my customers after their purchases. I can only express my dismay at the few numbers of locals who have complained loud enough to get the county’s attention. Craig are these few complaints over the last five years; or is this just from last year? I know that my boss calls the local chamber of commerce for each town we go through and asks for attractions that might interest our bikers. Would this qualify as notifying the city of a bike tour? She ( the boss) also notifies the county sheriff of the back roads we use.

    I truly believe Iowa county wants to stop all quiet sports, and may suffer drastic consequences should this ordinance pass.

    Peggy

  21. For 25+ years I’ve been a ride director for DCC and Routemeister (and arrow painter).

    As a matter of business and professional courtesy, I always alert police of the days, time and expected riders. When a county or city starts this (even asking for a permit) I move the event as fast as possible or re-route around the area (Farmersville, Oh is one)…. Let them feel the economic pain. Plus I get to show off new routes for the riders.

    Many, many cities and surround area will support your event if you care to ask.

    Remember even a small ride of 200 can generate $2000 – $4000 boost to the economy. Not counting bike repairs and parts. Just ask the participating LBS.

    My opinion,
    Dwaine

  22. I had a really interesting conversation at the Saris Gala on Friday night about this. I was told that the problem in the view of Iowa County residents and officials is not “good” cycling events and organizers who communicate and work well with communities (DLD, HHH, Wright Stuff Century, Ironman, etc.)

    The problem is that there are non-local event organizers (based in Illinois, I was told) who hold races on Iowa County roads and bus in participants with zero local notice or communication – they just show up. This is the equivalent of holding an alleycat on busy city streets, in terms of, it’s inherently inconsiderate and unnecessarily dangerous.

    Anyone else heard anything like this?

    If so, it seems Iowa County’s goal should be to craft a solution that restricts/penalizes the bad behavior of “bad actors” but not the “good actors.”

  23. I am a resident of Iowa County and feel this ordinance is one more thing to hurt what visitors we do have. Hopefully the County Board will look at the economic impact and come to the right choice.
    I believe the Dairy Land Dare group does contact the city councils.

  24. Longtime event promoter here.

    I don’t want to add fuel to the fire, but these are all pretty standard permitting requirements dictated by municipalities all over the country. Having these ducks in a row guarantees not only the longterm viability of the event, but protects its organizers from significant liability issues.

    Talk with your elected officials to negotiate specific points and see if your event can be granted some leeway (4MM is excessive, but not unreasonable or unattainable for example, and I’d push for acceptance of email or documented phone contact in lieu of snail mail). Other than that? This looks a lot like how special event permits are administered everywhere.

    My guess is that the communities are fully cognizant of the economic benefits of the events, but wish for greater oversight and legal protection.

    Good luck –
    Mike

  25. I put on cycling events for a living in NY state and we are currently right in the middle of a similar situation in more than one town.

    Challenges:

    o $4M worth of insurance would be VERY difficult for ANYONE to come up with, even if they wanted to. It’s not just a matter of paying for it (which would be huge…) it’s also a matter of finding anyone even willing to write a policy in that amount.

    o I live in a tourist town. (Our attraction is hunting/fishing/hiking, not cycling…) Basically if you’re in the tourism business, well, the more the merrier — come on down! But if you’re NOT in the tourism business you don’t care one bit about the dollars that roll in. All you know is that when tourism season hits, suddenly all the parking spots are taken in front of your favorite coffee shop and the line at the supermarket is a lot longer. Yes, it’s your friends and neighbors who DO earn a living from tourism who get hurt when these events are cancelled, but those not in the tourism biz still care not a whit.

    There was an article in the local paper in the town where one of our rides is in trouble and a woman who owned the local gourmet cheese shop complained that the cyclists never spend any money there. Well of course not! That’s like the local accountant complaining that we don’t spend with him. But the people we DO spend with (local lodging, farmers, bakeries, restaurants, charities…) THOSE folks might come in and buy some gourmet cheese after they deposit our big checks.

    Our other problem is that some of the towns we pass through are VERY wealthy, and they are completely unimpressed with the $80,000 we spend there in one day. For them $80,000 is the budget for a catered lunch.

    o Don’t know about you guys in Wisconsin, but here in NY cyclists are hated… REALLY hated (and I fear that a very small minority of riders may give the non-cycling crowd good reason to hate us, based on their on-road behavior!)

    You always see letters in the paper about all the little things in life that can annoy us — people who don’t pick up after their dog, people who smoke in the no-smoking section, whatever… but it’s only when there is ANY mention of cycling in the press that we always see letters to the editor that state, “THEY SHOULD ALL BE HIT BY CARS AND DIE!” Yikes!

    o For the first time we are starting to examine our legal options. In NY bikes and cars are both considered “vehicles” under the law and they (supposedly) have the same rights and responsibilities. Having said that, I always TRY to remember the wise words of my attorney: “Are you really ready to spend $10,000 to $20,000 JUST TO GET STARTED with a legal case that you COULD lose. Wouldn’t it be better to spend your time and money trying to make friends with the locals?”

    All FYI.

    G

    • I can’t speak to most of your points because each community presents its own opportunities as well as challenges, but USAC (along with many independent agencies) offer a 4MM “upgrade” in coverage for a very modest fee in most cases.

      As far as your hypothetical cheese retailer? Yes – that person lives in every community.

      Mike

  26. Does the county receive any state or federal money to help build or maintain these roads? Not sure if there are any restrictions on placing onerous restrictions on roads that are there because of other people’s money but it’s worth taking a look.

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