Tracking cultural change

Too late for first tracks

I have been working for the City of Milwaukee for six years.  When I first started, I was the only person in my building who biked to work in the winter.  Today when I pulled up to the door of our lower parking garage, I could see tire tracks from two others who had also ridden to work.

When I got around the corner to our bike parking area, I was greeted by the sight of a 7 other bicycles. Bureaucrats changing their behavior is a surprising, but definite indicator that transportation related bicycle culture is growing in Milwaukee. 

When I first started biking to work in the winter about 16 years ago, if I saw anyone else on a bicycle in January, I either knew them or I called the five other people I knew who also biked to work in the winter and told them excitedly “I saw somebody biking to work!”  Now I see a handful of people every day, and I ride in at 6:30 in the morning when the roads are mostly free of any traffic.

At least one of these bikes is just being stored over the winter by a fair weather commuter, but the rest come and go all winter.

Have you seen similar changes at your workplace or are you still “that crazy person” who bikes in the winter?


About daveschlabowske

Cyclechic advocate from Milwaukee
This entry was posted in bike winter, commuting and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Tracking cultural change

  1. Dan boehm says:

    This winter is my first for biking. . . and I also rank more or less as a bureaucrat. I am the one and only “crazy person” at my place of work, but I clearly also represent the change that you speak of. It has been a terrific, enjoyable, eye-opening experience to bike in the winter. Thanks go to you as inspiration, and to the Bike Fed. Please keep up the good work.

  2. Ronsta says:

    Still the “crazy person”, and I work at a bike shop!

    There’s a lot less liability in handling a bicycle in these conditions than an automobile and it doesn’t take much longer. Plus it’s fun!

  3. Dave Steele says:

    I work in a small office in a large office building. There are other people in the building who ride in the winter months, but apparently I have become known as a “legend” among people throughout the building, according to the building’s maintenance man, who probably has finger on the pulse of the building as much as anyone.

    I suppose this “legendary” status comes from the fact that even on the worst winter days, I have been known to show up on a bike. When it’s five below and people see you get off a bike and walk into the elevator, you are instantly branded as “that crazy guy.”

    I’ve been off the bike and on the bus since December because of a bad case of bronchitis and related asthma. I’ve had two separate random people ask me in the common areas of my office building what’s going on with my bike, since they haven’t seen it locked up in the front of the building for awhile.

  4. d'Andre says:

    Winter time has the HGA crowd down to around 2.5 FTEs in the bike room…crazy me, crazy Irish Nic and one more crazy biker who can walk to work nearly as easily as ride. That’s out of +/-135 people. Probably still over the average for Milwaukee winter ridership, but much much lower than our numbers for the other three seasons. No matter, it’s still a treat to ride.

    • daveschlabowske says:

      You lost one when Kurt left. It is great that you actually have such nice indoor facilities at HGA. It is also nice that your bike is not the only one hanging in the parking room. But it is a bit sad to think about the percentages. My building has a over a thousand people working in it and there are rarely more than a handful of bikes here during the winter. Still, as I said, even 2.5 is better than one, which is after all, the loniest number…

  5. Still Rollin says:

    I have officially made it through January,and it just wasn’t that bad. No new bike commuters in the office yet though, but I see bikes parked around the office park on nicer winter days. The Hank Aaron has been pretty good throughout. I gotta say McKinley needs better snow removal. (Maybe throw some love to DPW?)

  6. Casey Foltz says:

    I work in the US Bank building, and while numbers are small, we’re definitely up from last year. I think that we’ve been averaging 7-10 bikes a day over the last few weeks. This past summer we definitely had a jump over the previous summers. There were many days over the summer that I counted 40+ bikes. Overall it seems like I’ve seen more riders out on the streets this winter as well.

    Dave, when is Milwaukee installing a couple of those bike counters that can be seen in the Copenhagen videos?

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