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TRIA Orthopaedic Center Your Cycling Blog

The Rest Will Follow

May 9, 2009

Bill Metz, from OptumHealth, will be a frequent contributor to the blog. This is the third of many posts that Bill will be making, dealing with a variety of topics within the life of a recreational cyclist.

If our city, county, state and national politicians want to get a firm understanding and a true appreciation of the current state of our transportation infrastructure, they should all start riding a bike. Cyclists get up close and personal with our roads and bridges and not only see the current state of affairs, but often experience it first hand.

It wouldn’t take very long. Every county commissioner should be required to ride the county roads, state reps and senators should ride some of our state roads and our city administrators and engineers should be required to take a spin around town. They would be appalled and change would happen.

Take State Highway 246 from Northfield to Kenyon for instance. My group, The Northfield Bicycle Club, tries to avoid this road but we have to take it to get to some of our other favorite routes. It is riddled with holes, and ruts and the pavement will soon be worse than the cobbles of Paris-Roubaix. A few days ago, we left Nerstrand with a group of 12 riders heading for “dog hill”, a route that takes us for about 6 miles on the 246 mess. When we stopped to regroup at the intersection of CR 9 and 246 we found that we only had 10 riders remaining. We all turned back to collect the other two, figuring they had punctured (I love saying that) or, worse yet, bent a rim or come off the bike in a crash. It was even worse than expected. They had totally disappeared in one of the crevasses in the tarmac. Seriously! We had to ask a nearby farmer for a log chain and a tractor just to get them out.

Maybe the Rice County commissioners should ride CR 1 from Montgomery to Dundas, another “beauty.” The last time we rode that route the guy next to me dropped into a rut so deep his pedals started scraping the pavement. If I wouldn’t have reached over and grabbed his helmet (he’s 6’2”) and given him a huge tug, we might have lost another one.

We ride most of the paved roads in Rice and Goodhue counties and can’t figure out why the neighboring state to the east is not only able to maintain their paved roads better, but somehow they have managed to BLACKTOP ALMOST ALL OF THE ROADS. We often travel to Wisconsin to ride the bluff and coulee areas of Buffalo and Trempealeau counties. Not only are the hills challenging, but the roads are in great shape. (They also have way cooler names for their roads like Alligator Slide, Hammer Lane, Pretzel Pass Road, and my favorite, Bill’s Valley Road.) The only difference that I can figure out is that the Wisconsin politicians must all ride bikes.

So, when you write to your congress people, commissioners, mayors and senators, don’t demand that they spend money on our crumbling infrastructure, demand that they start riding a bike. The rest will follow.

“Bill’s Valley” Metz