The weather in Madison over the weekend was a delightful 50°F this weekend. Everywhere you looked, people were breaking out their bicycles. Bikes that hadn’t been outside for months (generally, really nice bikes or bikes owned by fair weather bicyclists) were on the streets again.

On Sunday, Sarah and I decided to hit the trail ourselves. Our original thought was to head out on the Military Ridge Trail. However, word came back through the grapevine that the trail was all but unridable muck, so we turned our attention to the (paved)Capital City Trail. We rode the Southwest bike trail in Madison to where it joins with the Capital City trail just outside of town. Fifty yards later, we discovered that the Cap City trail was still very much snowy and icy in all the forested areas. Of course, the state doesn’t plow the Capital City Trail, even though bicyclists must pay a user fee to ride the trail. And, of course, that fee was ramrodded through as a disguised maintenance fee, for things like mowing the sides of the trail (which they don’t do either).

Since the trail is never plowed, commuters can’t use it in the winter (even though the state supposedly believes strongly in alternative transportation). And, because the trail is not plowed, the snow and ice sticks around on it longer than on the streets and sidewalks.

Right now, biking is one of the few good outside activities to engage in around Madison. The lawns and gardens are not ready to be worked, and even if they were, we’ll get at least one more snow storm. The lakes are still covered in ice which prevents people from boating, but the ice is too thin to support people walking on it. Most of the hiking trails are mud pits with another name. So, here’s this wonderful paved trail, and no one can use it because the money we’re spending on it:- can’t be traced;

  • isn’t used to benefit trail users;
  • is most assuredly going to fund something else.