Time for a break

This will be my last post on Over the Bars for a while.  I’m going to take a bit of a break.  I will probably come back and post again, but right now, I’m not sure when I will return or if I do, with what frequency I will post. 

There are a few reasons for the hiatus, first among them is the time, or lack of time.  Between the photography, photo editing, a bit of research and writing, I spend two to three of hours putting together these posts. I take the weekends off, but with 5 plus posts a week, I am spending 10-20 hours each week on this. That is a bit more time than I anticipated.  It has become an unpaid part-time job. 

I enjoy “blogging” quite a bit, but is taking too much time away from family.  I don’t sleep a lot, so I have tried to write posts and do the photo-editing later in the evening, but it still interferes with spending time with my wife and daughter.  Like most families, we have busy schedules. Between work, school and extra-curricular stuff, we don’t have a lot of unstructured down time just to be together.  I feel like writing for Over the Bars has taken away from that precious time.

I was born unable to see some shades of red and green.

Another big reason I am taking a break is more philosophical.  I am a bit red-green color blind, not totally, just a little.  So I have trouble seeing some shades of red and green.  That is a biological problem I was born with that cannot be corrected.

Lately some people have suggested to me that I actually see things in black and white. They have pointed out that not only do most people see a full spectrum of colors, but they also see shades of grey.  The world is not all black and white, instead it is mostly shades of grey. In the past I accepted this monochromatic assessment of me as generally true and even embraced it in the way I live my life according to principles I believe in.

While I accept this criticism and admit to living my life according to what some have called “extreme” principles, I have tried not to judge others by my principles. For instance, while I don’t drive much (on purpose), I don’t think people who drive are bad, or even that driving is inherently bad.  I don’t ever speed when I drive or run red lights when I bike, but I don’t think people who speed or run reds are inherently bad.  Heck, some of my best friends are lead-foots.

So I do what I do for my own reasons, but I have tried not to judge others by my principles. Maybe the SUV driving commuter who rides his race bike through red lights while wearing full lycra works for doctors without borders, adopted a bunch of orphans, just gave blood, and is simply a really nice guy.  I can’t judge him by my narrow world view alone.

Most people see shades of grey.

Even though I try not to judge others, I must be tiresome to be around sometimes. I admit I am not the easiest person to get along with, work with or live with given my fairly strict principles on everything from: biking instead of driving, biking in regular clothes, biking is safer than driving, obeying all laws, plastic bags, recycling, composting, organics, locally produced, harm-free, etc., etc., etc. You get the picture.  These are just principles by which I live my own life, I have been told that they make me a difficult person to deal with on a lot of levels. 

Although this blog is just one manifestation of those principles, it has caused a number of people in the cycling world to disagree with me and question my position as bicycle and pedestrian coordinator for the City of Milwaukee.  I understand that not everyone is going to agree with me on all things at all times.  Disagreement is part of life, and compromise is something we all have to do, even when we feel strongly about issues.  But other cyclists questioning my “fitness for duty” is a whole different thing. Let me be clear, my job is not in jeopardy in any way because of this blog, but if it alienates me from other cyclists, I view it as a problem.

Even more impactful have been some recent comments other cyclists have said to me personally as well as some published comments I have read elsewhere. These comments by fellow “cyclists” have made me question whether I truly represent the interests of the majority of people who ride bicycles in Milwaukee. I am talking specifically about recent comments by other cyclists who believe that investments in bicycle trails and other facilities are a nice luxury, but a luxury that we simply cannot afford until we fix our roads and bridges and expand our freeways for cars.

Perhaps this is not the way to see the world or even live your life.

If this is how most cyclists feel in the Milwaukee area, I am not sure I have represented them well.  Is it how most cyclists feel?  I don’t know, but I do know that I only get between 300 and 600 page views a day and very few comments, even though about 49% of people ride bicycles.  Perhaps I represent a very narrow extreme viewpoint, even among people who ride bikes. If I do, it may still be a worthwhile perspective, but I think I need to reconsider my goals and vision.

I have even had some philosophical disagreements with bicycle advocates.  These have not been angry arguments or anything of the sort, but fundamental philosophical disagreements with other thoughtful individuals about what needs doing and how best to get there.  It is the job of advocates to represent their membership, which includes the full spectrum of people.  That is certainly no easy thing to do, and extremists on my end of the spectrum or the other end probably make their job more difficult. Maybe it is best to leave bicycle advocacy to those who work better in the grey areas.

All of these disagreements have led me to question my beliefs a bit.  I don’t plan on changing the principles by which I live my life too much, but I am going to try to live a bit more in the grey areas while I rethink who I am and if my beliefs are worth alienating people I respect and care about.  I must admit I’ve lost a bit of my self-assurance. I am rethinking the value if living so strictly by principles so few people seem to share.

Until I figure that bit out, I am climbing off my soap box for a while.  To all the loyal readers and wonderful supporters I have had since I started this little blog last Memorial Day, I thank you for reading.  Thanks for the compliments. Thanks for letting me pontificate.  Thanks for looking at my photographs. Thanks for sharing your own. Thanks for allowing me to express many of the thoughts I have had while looking over the handlebars of my bicycle.  Before Over the Bars in Milwaukee, I didn’t really have a place to discuss most of those thoughts and ideas.  This has been a great outlet for me, and I hope I have educated and entertained you at least a little. 

I also hope to be back sometime in the future.  It may not be with the same frequency, but if I find my voice again, and I am able to speak with confidence, I’ll be back.

About Dave Schlabowske, Deputy Director

Dave was the first full-time staff member hired to open the Bike Fed's Milwaukee office 15 years ago. A former professional photographer and life-long Milwaukee resident, Dave likes wool, long rides, sour beer, and a good polar vortex once in a while.

57 thoughts on “Time for a break

  1. @Dave Well that’s a bummer, I really enjoyed your posts and was glad you were leading the charge for those of us who ride bikes. But trust me I know how much time it can eat up trying to publish regularly, as we struggle with it at UrbanMilwaukee.com all the time so I can definitely understand…

    PS I’m all for more bike infrastructure, and riding in regular clothing!

  2. I’m sorry to see you go, but you have explained it all beautifully. That said, I am a very casual cyclist, and I appreciated you blog very much. It never seemed extreme in its viewpoints, biased against cars and car-owners, or anything other that what it was: A blog by a guy who really loves bicycles and wants to see more people sharing even a little of that passion. A guy who also like to take photos, and really good ones at that. It was also a great peek behind the curtain of city planning.

    I’d like to suggest turning “over the bars” into a community site. Unless you are wary of giving away editorial control, you could still post when you want and keep interest in the things you advocate for moving forward. Heck, maybe let the voices in your comments flower more fully instead of lurking behind your opinions.

    I’m keeping this in my RSS feed until you make up your mind. Thanks Dave!

  3. Sad to see the blog go Dave – it’s been a regular stop on my morning ‘surf’ through the cycling world for the past few months. I empathize with the awkward position you are put in having to negotiate your ‘official capacity’ with your core principles. At any rate, I’m proud to have you working on my behalf as a cyclist and citizen…particularly after enjoying these snippets of the ‘real world’ you’ve shared.

  4. Say it ain’t so! Just wanted to let you know that prior to your blog, I had a lot of respect for what you did. It isn’t easy swimming against the car culture stream and Milwaukee isn’t quite as progressive as it once was.

    After faithfully reading your blog, I have even more respect for you and what you do. Maybe I don’t always agree, but you have gray-ed up a few of my personal black and white boundaries. For example, your article helmets and fire suits was an eye opener. While I will never go anywhere without my helmet, I completely agree with your points. We do raise the bar too high for cycling and we do make it look unsafe.

    OK, so I am 90% of the time a lycra-clad cyclist, but deep-down inside I would much rather be a commuter/utility cyclist. Heck, I replaced Saturday joy rides with trips to the farmer’s market and I’m starting to find that inner voice that says, “bet you could get rid of the car, you know?”

    And reading blogs like yours have helped that voice. Let it be that yours comes back soon. It will be missed.

  5. I echo Dave’s sentiments – a bummer indeed. I really enjoyed reading this blog. Thoughtful, well-written and (in my humble opinion) spot-on. That said, ENJOY your time off.

    If Milwaukee is to double it’s cycling modal-share ever two years from .25% to .5% to 1% to 2%, than a strong voice is needed. I can think of no better voice than yours.

  6. Too bad. Keep the old posts archived. You had some good facts in them. Facts are facts, and they are nice to know. It wasn’t just your opinions some people disagreed with, because opinions don’t always get people that upset. Facts can really make people angry.

  7. Thank you, Dave, for being you. While I have publicly voiced the opinion that some of the direction of bicycle advocacy may be misdirected, I can say without reservation that bicycling is better because of your involvement. If you have to take some time away, take it, but don’t stop being you. It is the individuals who live by their principles that provide the example for others to follow. We may not all end up biking in every situation, or buying locally grown organic produce, but we can all look to you for inspiration when we want to try to be better. So keep advocating for cycling. Just because cycling isn’t the same to each of us doesn’t mean it isn’t important to all of us and just because we take a different route doesn’t mean we don’t have the same destination.

    Safe Journey.

  8. Well, thanks for what you have done and what you have written. It has encouraged me as a Madison cyclist and as a cyclechic ambassador to the world.

  9. Dave,

    I’ve always enjoyed your posts and agree with many of your views.

    I believe that investing in trails does more than just help bikers, walkers and other users get around. It helps the collective psyche. The amount of good feeling and uplifted spirits that regular trail users receive, either as a direct result of recreational use or as an indirect result of a want of, or need for, non-motorized transportation, helps the whole community by fostering happier people.

    Keep up the good work and I hope we hear from you on the blog again even if less frequently.

  10. every cyclist needs a bit of an ‘off season’ to give the legs, lungs, heart and mind a rest. you have more than earned yours dave.

  11. Dave,

    As a recent reader, this announcement seems all too sudden. Your blog is as informative as it is entertaining and I hope you chime back in, if only on occasion. I understand your circumstances and hope you enjoy the time with your family. You’ve been an inspiration for others and for that we Thank You!

  12. Brother, Let’s have a beer and reconsider this! Your black and white approach is rarely an issue from what I’ve seen professionally, rather consensus building seems to be your M.O. And from the personal side of things, while it can be frustrating, it is also easily chalked up to “Dave being Dave” and is one of the things that endears you to so many people.

  13. As a MKE expat and now car free commuter, I would like to assure you that your advocacy is much needed in MKE. In the ten years that I lived in MKE (in your ‘hood), I saw quite a few changes occur related to bipedial travel. It can get discouraging with the car culture surrounding the city and within the city. I believe that advocates in that town have to be close to raving to counteract the pressure that they recieve from their opposition. I am sure that the election had no small part in the future frequency of this blog diminishing. I, sir, have and will continue to enjoy your insight. How about teaming with another author with the same advocycle goals in MKE?

  14. I concur with Russell – I hope after your hiatus you’ll move to weekly. It would be a shame for the blog to disappear entirely.

    The whole black-and-white discussion threw me off. I don’t think it’s the job of a personal blogger to do journalism; it’s to talk about your perspective and experience. I don’t always agree with you, but it never came across that you were insulting or hostile to people who differed.

    As for page views, they do not tell the whole story. A certain Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reporter consults your blog regularly, as does a certain statewide bicycle advocacy organization. Ideas spread all sorts of ways.

  15. Well that’s a major bummer Dave. Good luck with looking at the greys, but I think your black and white views are pretty good!

  16. thanks for this thoughtful piece.
    I have enjoyed reading your work, albeit only since my recent “find” of it (from the wild western suburbs of Madison.)

    and I disagree with you, the you of today.
    I think you, the old you, are right.
    and I hope you return to writing, perhaps less often, with more time spent with your family.

    just because “everyone else” speeds when they drive their internal-combustion engine vehicles doesn’t mean that it is “right” to speed (or ALWAYS drive.) and by choosing to drive the speed limit you not only show respect for the law you also consume less gas, drive down demand for and the price of gas, have more (reaction) time to avoid pedestrians, cyclists, and other animals that might cross your path. the list goes on and on to the positive benefits of driving the speed limit. and this is just one example of how I think “the old” you is right and “the current you” is wrong.
    but I also understand how it can be hard to live that way. people will make fun of you for driving slow. they may make catchy schoolyard bully comments, esp. if they are Republicans. Republicans seem especially inclined to name calling. they’re good at it. and while “sticks and stones may break your bones”, when they have the loudness of Fox (it’s not) News Corporation blasting away at everything from trains to bike lanes to health care for the sick, it can become overwhelming. but just because they are loud does not mean they are right. or Christian. which is really the ultimate irony.
    the long term view of what would be best for Milwaukee (or Madison, etc.), Wisconsin, and America would indicate that bike lanes and trains would make excellent investments for our future. does that mean that the road building lobby is not going to spend millions of dollars on “free speech” arguing/advertising against them? does that mean that the Republicans are not going to exagerate and obfuscate in their efforts to get elected, even if it means “doing the wrong thing” and/or appealing to people’s worst instincts? does that mean that “news” corporations like Fox are going to “report” instead of electioneer and parrot Republican talking points?
    not even close.

    when “support our troops” becomes “no bike lanes or trains, but lots of war ships and trucks” then we have run off the rails, as a somewhat democratic nation. the troops now need to start putting “support our democracy” bumper stickers on their Strykers, unfortunately.

    enjoy your break.
    and I’m looking forward to your return.

  17. Kathryn is right! Page views don’t tell the whole story. I have been sharing your articles, links and information with friends and our members ever since I found your blog. They have taught and informed me for many months and knowing your thoughts and what you are doing in Milwaukee have inspired us out here in the Driftless Region. I sincerely hope that you do not completely quit blogging.

  18. Regarding “cyclists” who contend that trails and bike lanes should wait till after all the roads are fixed and highways widened, it occurs to me that they might better off looking to the DOT, AAA and the trucking and automotive lobbies for the bicycling advocacy they desire.

    Thanks for the work you do for Milwaukee, Dave.

  19. I can totally relate with blog burnout. My career as a blogger on a national urban planning website was short lived, mainly because doing it was so incredibly time consuming. You’re posting your views under your own name, and as such you want to take the time necessary to do your research, put your thoughts together and write sharp, concise prose that people will actually want to read. It’s hard work, and, as a citizen blogger, not a journalist, you’re not getting paid and you’re doing it mainly in your spare time.

    And I can relate with how difficult it can be when you put your views out there for the world to see. Again, you’re not a journalist, so the words you write are not taken by most readers as “the story.” They’re taken as some guy’s opinion, and, as we see on the JSOnline.com talkback feature (which I have abstained from reading in the interest of my mental health) people’s critiques can be downright brutal. It takes an exceptionally thick skin and an extreme amount of determination to put yourself out there day after day, putting your reputation on the line, sustaining not-so-nice critiques of your opinions, when you’re not getting paid for it and you could just as well be drinking a beer and watching “Dancing With The Stars” with your family on a Monday night.

    Maybe that’s why the cyberworld is full of such extreme opinions. Only extremists, the people with an axe to grind, have the desire to subject themselves to blogging. Your blog is one of the few blogs that I check daily, precisely because it’s not a rant. You’ve taken the time necessary to do research, and offer a reasoned opinion that encourages reasonable comments. One usually doesn’t see that out there in blogland.

    Perhaps there could be some kind of Milwaukee by Bike blog with multiple authors, each one responsible for their own editorial voice, each one representing the many different facets of the cycling community in the metro area. Of course someone would have to set up and maintain it, decide who gets to write, etc. These things are never as simple as they seem.

  20. Since my near fatal accident in June where the doctors at Froedert said my helmet absolutely saved my life, I’ve been reading your blog while I healed as a chance to smell and feel the road again. Now I’ve finally started tentatively riding and I hope to see you on the road or bike path and give you a big thumbs up!

    You’ve done a great service to the community and not just the bicycling kind, we need more bike advocates and bikes to make us all better and aware citizens. Hope you start it again next spring or sooner.

  21. 🙁 big bummer. but after reading your thoughts as to why, i totally get why and can appreciate you taking time to reflect and getting back to your life! i will really miss your blog , as stated so well by others comments. see ya on the roads! stef

  22. Thanks for all of the time and effort you have put in. I have enjoyed the blog, and hope that you find a way to keep it going in the future.

  23. What? Say it isn’t so! Your blog is good, contains nothing offensive and is extremely entertaining. Please consider posting at a less obsessive/compulsive level someday soon. Maybe that will help you avoid burnout. To anyone who has objected to Dave’s blog, you have a choice: DON’T READ IT! The rest of us sane people will miss it terribly.

  24. Your position within Milwaukee’s cycling advocacy community carries great importance. I read this blog because your positions on cycling issues are well thought out and informed, something that is usually lacking in the discussion of what to build and where. In the long run, I hope you don’t let the haters win, too often issues are decided by who talks the loudest, not who has the best plan. You da man Dave

  25. Others have said far better what I wanted to say, so I won’t even try to say how much I appreciated your blogs. I don’t even live in Wisconsin — not even in the midwest! — and I found it incredibly informative and, dare I say, balanced, and faithfully checked in to see the latest.

    Very sorry to see you give it up. Hope it might only be a sabbatical, and that you might decide to post again, even if on a less frequent basis.

  26. Dave:
    I am not someone who leaves comments but your recent post encouraged me to make a couple observations. I came across your blog after participating in your social media bike site.

    I love cycling but have yet to embrace it as a more primary transportation mode. Your blog continues to encourage me to to keep considering it as more of transportation alternative instead of simply a recreational lifestyle. I have never agreed with everything you have written but I do not want to read or hear about my beliefs – I want to hear things that challenge them. Although I will admit that I do not know that much about your day job I have never felt like there was a direct connection between that and your blog. Certainly your job allows you to bring us all important bike information but I hope we all understand opinion vs policy statements.

    Please spend the time with your family – I am sure that is the most important thing in your life, as it should be. The one thing I ask is that you not worry so much about the chronic complainers – they will always be with us. The silent majority appreciates what you do (as evidenced by these comments). I hope that you can find a balance in your life that can include “over the bars”

    Thanks for time you have committed to promoting something important to all of us.


  27. I’m sad to hear about the hiatus – although I definitely can see how putting out such a high-quality, frequently updated blog can be a huge drain on personal time resources.

    Don’t feel so bad about being the sort of person who stands firm in their beliefs, even if while feeling like a minority of one at times! (I think every city cyclist feels like that some times!) I don’t think this blog ever was overly opinionated in any offensive fashion at all – mostly it shared your enthusiasm for citizen-cycling, and was very educational.

    Thank you for all the hard work you’ve put in over the life of this blog – I will miss it!

  28. Really sad to read this. Just discovered this blog (and bike commuting for that matter) in last couple of months. As others have stated hope you return in a weekly or whatever works best for you basis. You have great views, great insights. Keep sharing the word.

  29. Dave —

    Very sorry to see you stop this. I have thoroughly enjoyed your musings and pics. While I will miss them, I do appreciate your heartfelt explanation for why you are taking a break. I, for one, have felt regularly inspired by your ‘extreme’ positions. Eg.,I think of you whenever I see my speedometer needle inch over the limit. 😉

    I look forward to your return to the blogosphere – on a more occasional basis? But do come back to ‘Over the Bars’!


  30. ah well. I will just have to look forward to your posts to the APBP list. Thanks for the work you have put into your blog and everything else.

  31. Dave, I hope you will return after a well deserved break. I enjoy reading your blog, I find it entertaining, informative and thoughtful. I would welcome your return even on a less frequent schedule.

  32. Dave,

    I’ve enjoyed the ride and hope that you come back soon. We greatly appreciate everything that you do for bicycling in Milwaukee.

  33. Damn Dave, we’ve been working on a whole mini-portfolio series of cycling shots. We had big plans to sweep the Friday Photo contest! Rats.

    Everyone has said it all so well in the comments- in a nutshell, the world needs more activists like you. When I moved here 12 years ago, I told you that I didn’t think Milwaukee was a very bike-friendly city. You have been proving me wrong ever since. Your “extreme” (not) point of view gets people out of their comfort zones, even if only for a minute, a thought, a conversation-in-passing. People (like me) who live more in the grey zones need a little push now and then. For example, your ideas about riding helmet-free have placed me beyond my levels of comfort. However, the idea has generated many new conversations with various people about cycling with and without helmets, a new perspective, a different vision for riding… it creates more dialog. Then it creates more awareness and inspiration and hopefully more cycling.

    I get it about needing more family time, but down the road I hope you can continue your blog in a less time-intensive way. Take care!

  34. There’s not much I can say that hasn’t already been said accurately and eloquently. I would just add that even if you quit today — which I really hope isn’t the case — you’ve already amassed an index of topics that will continue to be incredibly helpful in conversations about bikes and urban living. That’s why I asked you to put a search button on your blog, a request that you graciously accommodated almost instantly.

    Thanks again, Dave. I hope to see you back here, maybe on a more humane blogging schedule.

  35. I dunno Dave.

    What is a man without his principles? Who you are is who you are. Do not change that nor cave in to a few when you have the many to consider. But you cannot give up you as a way to live in the gray area.

    There is black and white, there is color and in many places there is gray. The problem today is far too many people cry for all to live totally in the gray yet the themselves are as black and white as can possibly be. And how dare anyone be allowed to live with a dissenting thought!

    That all being said, you do what you must and obviously family is most important, second only to ones core principles. I took a break from moderating a message board some years back and have not gone back since. The internet is full of paper tigers and angry voices. But do not lose who you are in all of this.

    Fight the good fight, you will be missed while you take a break…and do come back soon.

  36. Dave – the blog you’ve laid down this summer and fall has been a wonderful site. Like the best blogs, it’s been a place for the reader to get a glimpse of a life that is well-lived and inspiring. The fact that you can back up your thoughts with numbers and analysis of the numbers is all bonus material. The discussion about black/white/gray is interesting, but what really makes your blog interesting overall is that you *do* have strong opinions and you are able to express them beautifully in words, pictures and data. You have a unique set of credentials that supports your voice – history in the bike racing and touring worlds, along with a professional role in the field, all supported by finding real joy on a bicycle. Posts like your series based on your trip to New York (including the research and decision-making about optimizing your choice of bike for both the trip to/from the airport and getting around NYC) are gold for readers interested in building a biking lifestyle. You inspire individuals and you create community with your posts. Thanks for the opportunity to have read your blog, and personal thanks for letting me contribute a couple of posts. I hope you decide to come back and post on schedule that is more balanced with the rest of your life, and, if you decide to do that, I hope that you are able to deflect, ignore or otherwise put in perspective the fact that being out there in the public eye will attract detractors. It always has, and the world of blogs and website comment boxes only makes it easier to for that kind of thing to be posted and easier for you to find it. Until then, I wish you happy biking. Best, d’Andre

  37. Your concern about the lack of comments being an indicator of interest is a false metric. The website I work with gets FAR more readers than you and often far fewer comments. Unless you’re saying something highly controversial (say quitting blogging for instance) or idiotic you’ll never achieve the amount of comments you think you deserve. Readers just tire of leaving comments that say “Right on,” and “Speak the truth,” and “I agree” all the time. As for the 300-600 page views a day that you’re getting, that’s pretty damn good for an independent blog.

    I don’t think you need to blog every day, but you have the greatest insight on what is happening in the city in regards to bicycling. Try knocking it back a bit. One day do a recap of the weeks events. Another day do a couple cycle chic photos. I don’t think anybody expects you to have new content every day, but yours is a voice that we need on a regular basis, whether every couple or days or every couple of weeks.

  38. I think we all grow a little tired when we begin to feel our vision is getting railroaded by ignorance. I know I am. You have one of the best cycling blogs, and also one of the brightest personalities when I see you out for a ride. We feel beaten sometimes, but we must renew our perspectives and continue to go forward; even if our state majority has elected to go “Backward”.

  39. Hey Dave,

    For what it’s worth I’ve always considered your posts to be very fair minded and absent a lot of the pro-bike vitriol I often hear (and I say that as a year-round bike commuter in Madison). I’m very pro-bike, but not knee-jerk anti-car, and I think you did a great job of capturing this spirit and promoting bikes as a fun, freeing alternative to cars, along with touching on other bits of urban cycling culture.

    I’m gonna miss the blog and I hope it comes back sometime, but if not, best of luck in whatever comes next!

  40. Dave,
    You aren’t difficult for me to be around. I admire your knowledge of self, conscientious ethics, and your strong opinions. Blog, no blog, either way.

  41. I’m sorry you won’t be carrying on with the blog. I’ve always enjoyed the daily posts and quite honestly value your opinions. It’s too bad some folks have to let it get to them. I’ve always learned that if you want to make enemies, implement change. I’m not saying you’re implementing change, but it’s your altnernate views that are causing these individuals to get upset. It’s too bad that they can’t be open to it.

  42. Dave:

    Your blog is excellent, but nothing can replace family time at night. Lay low for awhile, recharge your batteries and ride.
    Cyclists are an incredibly diverse group, from the Cervello riding hard core lycra clad to the Riverwest hipsters and the east side fixie riders. Then you have guys like me on 45lb steel bikes just loping back and forth to the office at 10mph. But we all have one common denominator, we want safe lanes, paths and streets. So keep up the good work (at the office).

  43. Dave! No! Don’t leave me! You are my people! I commute 15 miles round trip in my work clothes on my 1967 Raleigh Sports. I have NEVER owned a helmet. And I believe spandex should only be seen in a wikipedia entry.

    I wish your post was 1 sentence, “I’m tired and I need a break.” But to hear that a few jerks have taken the air out of your tires makes me furious. How can any car driver not be satisfied with the tremendous number improvements being made to our roads?

    Your work in creating a bike friendly Milwaukee is critical. Please consider a once a week revival of this amazing blog. Besides, I need a place to post my amazing fisheye tour of my commute!


    P.S. The reason I rarely leave comments is that I read this blog on my phone. My thumb is really tired!

  44. Dave,
    One of the first things I’ve done most mornings in the last few months is check your blog; I always look forward to reading it. I’ve learned a lot through it and it makes me excited about biking and about Milwaukee. While I agree with nearly all of your principles, it’s not just agreeing with you that makes it such a good read, it’s how well rounded, informative, and though-provoking it is. I almost never post on blogs, but I often talk about your blog, have good conversations about ideas you’ve posed, and find myself thinking about questions you’ve raised. And I was kind of counting on your posts to keep me inspired to keep biking through the worst of winter!

    I’ll miss it. I do hope you’ll come back in some form in the near future.

  45. Thanks Dave for what you have been doing, and I hope that you come back to it on an occasional basis….whatever works best for you. As another MKE expat who still misses the east side, I really enjoyed keeping up with the bike scene in Milwaukee via your writing and photos.

  46. Dave,

    I have been meaning to add my voice to those who say this is sad news. I particularly enjoyed your report on the innovations in New York and the discussion of ideas for a big idea in Milwaukee.

    I can also understand that the need to be constantly posting can get exhausting. Your report that some bicyclists claim that investment in bicycling is a luxury is depressing and shows, I think, a complete misunderstanding of the dynamics that make cities successful.

    That said, I find I do not read any blogs on a consistent basis and would join those who have encouraged you to consider alternative formats, that would help alleviate the need for a continuous stream of new material. Blogs are just way too time-based for my taste, rather than focused are topics.


  47. The internet is a horrible, horrible place. I’ve learned that I can’t state my thoughts, feeling, or reflections on the internet without being attacked 100 ways. Unfortunately, people who are thoughtful are affected when questioned or attacked. I’m sorry that you have had to experience that…though I’m sure you’ll find a way to become an even richer person internally because of it. Me…I just gave up on most of the world and went and played rock and roll.

  48. bro-
    just got back from vaca. hope you find your voice again, even if it’s only once a week or so. i will miss this blog.

  49. Dave,
    You’re entirely right to spend the time with your family.

    You do important work for all Milwaukeeans in your job. That work is bound to become more difficult with recent changes in State government. Concentrate on preserving what has already been accomplished and, when possible, on improving bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, and you will be doing us a great favor. It’s crystal clear that you are doing the best you can humanly do, and we appreciate that. We don’t expect to always agree with you.

    I do like Dave Steele’s idea of a blog with multiple authors, though it would entail a significant amount of work on somebody’s part.

  50. Your blog was amazing. The photography was awesome and your thoughts were always valuable and inspiring.
    I know how much time these things take and couldn’t believe the pace you were keeping. Hope you’ll consider coming back on a monthly or quarterly basis. We miss it!

  51. Just checked your blog for the first time in a couple weeks. I want to chime in with those who have pointed out that your posts have always been well-reasoned and thoughtfully written. I completely disagree with the notion that you see things in black and white. You live by your principles, but your voice was never overly-strident or completely anti-car.

    Your blog is a great resource on bike transportation, planning in Milwaukee, and cyclechic. Please leave it up during your hiatus for people like me to use as a resource.

    Enjoy your break and your family time.

  52. I just want to add that, like so many readers above, I enjoy your blog immensely. You are a great writer and understand the value of good photos, a clean site. We’re going to miss you, but family comes first.

    Based on the responses that we’ve seen here, I think there’s a ton of interest in the topic. Maybe you’ve inspired others to carry on and take some responsibility in this arena!

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