Winter and its conditions are sometimes cited as a reason bike infrastructure would be a waste of time for certain cities. "Who's going to use these bike lanes in the snow?" skeptics ask, assuming that commuters let their cycles languish for whole swaths of the year. The organizers of the Winter Cycling Congress 2016, scheduled for February in Minneapolis-St. Paul, are turning that theory on itself and arguing that winter is a reason to build more protected bike lanes, not fewer.
The target of this argument is mainly large cities like Minneapolis and St. Paul, where 20 percent of cyclists continue riding through winter, but it could just as well apply to ski towns and how they grow their own bike infrastructure.
Ski resorts and towns taking pains to recast themselves as year-round destinations with plenty of summer biking opportunities is a standard narrative at this point. Resorts are throwing money at downhill courses. Expansive, interconnected cross-country trail systems have spurred new hot spots and are seen as the hope of others. What could be lost when the dollars are allocated are plans that take into account year-round riders who need practical routes and access.
Even in ski towns that enjoy a surfeit of powder, bike commuters don't go away. Often, these are active communities with residents who relish bike commuting. And if you've never seen a ski bum riding toward the hill with his skis somehow strapped to the frame, you need to find a new home mountain.
Anyone who wants to bring the ski town view to the Winter Cycling Congress has until Sept. 30 to submit a proposal to present.
· Protected Bike Lanes Even More Useful in Snowy Cities Than in Warm Ones [Streetsblog USA]
· Where to Try Fat Biking, From Tahoe to Crested Butte [Curbed Ski]
· 11 Hotels Perfect For Your Next Mountain Biking Adventure [Curbed Ski]
· The Best Ski Town Bike Paths [Curbed Ski]