When you ride a bike to work, you have a lot of choices facing you when you walk out the door in the morning. Most people who drive cars take the same route to work every day. But when you ride a bike you can choose the shortest route if you are running late, the most scenic route if you have lots of time, a route the shelters you from the wind, or just a different route just because. But after you have been biking to the same place for a number of years, you begin to run out of reasonable alternative routes (unless you have a lot of free time that is). I look for very short detours that have a lot to offer.
If I know there is a really wacky house on a particular street I will go that way. Or I might go by the river if the salmon or trout are running. One little interesting interaction on a bicycle ride can turn a commute into a story worthy odyssey. But the particular detour I am about to describe is more than that. In fact, it is pretty hard to beat no matter where you commute.
In Milwaukee, one of my all-time favorite commute detours is the Art Trail constructed by local legend Bicycle John. He bench cut the entire trail himself, including adding all the support blocks, benches and making all the art. The trail is not truly “legal” so I won’t identify John or exactly where the trail is. The pictures speak for themselves as testimony to John’s trail building skill, artistic sensibility and intelligence.
Although more of a mountain bike trail, I have ridden this on all manner of skinny tired bikes, from carbon racers to fixies to my Dutch style conversion.
This trail is such fun ride, it seems wrong to say it is a commute.
There is a lot more to this trail, but I just don’t have the space to inlcude it all. I guess you will have to find the private party on your own.