Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

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Madison named one of best cycling cities

Park that car and hop on your two-wheeler.

According to Bicycling magazine, Madison is among the top three mid-size cities in the country for cycling. Whether biking on the Isthmus Trail on the southeast side or leisurely riding down State Street, bikers are guaranteed excellent, scenic rides.

“Madison is ranked so high as a strong cycling community because it has been ‘pedaled’ in front of the ranks of cities prone to cycling,” said Ryan Mulcahy, assistant to Mayor Sue Bauman.

Cycling has become a viable alternative to taking a car in Madison. Biking to work is often easier than driving through the city and finding parking.

Madison has one of the highest bicycles-per-capita ratios in the country. Mulcahy said the city views cycling as an excellent way to create a balance between bikers and those who use other modes of transportation, including walking, driving and busing.

The Department of Transportation cited the Isthmus Trail and the trail around Lake Monona as the most popular cycling areas. Mulcahy, however, said the new southwest bike trail is also one of Madison’s prized possessions.

“[The trail] opens up the South and West Sides for commuting and connects to the Capital City Trails, which lead to Illinois,” Mulcahy said.

The city of Madison has also made bicycling in the city easier and more convenient through trail maps that are either free or very inexpensive and can be found at bicycle stores and at various Dane County buildings. The maps also highlight trails that set Madison apart from other cycling cities.

A Madison Bicycling Resource Guide and Route Map, as big as a road guide, identifies all street and bike routes. The guide also includes cycling etiquette, hints for parents, cyclist organizations, and information about city bike registration.

Another reason Bicycling chose Madison as a top bicycling city is the number of winter riders. Mulcahy said blizzards, speedy winds, and frigid cold weather are daily occurrences, but they do not deter cyclists from going about their daily business and commuting on their bicycles. Even during blizzards, some riders brave the elements.

“There’s a bunch of diehards out there,” Mulcahy said.

The future of cycling in Madison looks promising. Recently, buses have installed bike racks as a public benefit for commuters. These racks allow people to ride their bikes to the bus station and still have another means of transportation to get to faraway destinations.

City employees are also able to sign out bikes parked outside the Madison Municipal Building. Access to bikes allows city officials to ride downtown and, if desired, take the bicycles home overnight.

Mulcahy said the city has significantly increased its budget to account for the number of bicyclists. They allocated $1 million for cycling in the city.

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