In another life I was the training director for a software company. I used to fly around the country installing our company’s software and teaching our customers how to use it.
One brisk January day I was scheduled to fly from Columbus to Madison, WI. It was an early flight, so I was up before the sun. I’d walked out to my front porch and looked at the streets. It appeared it’d had rained.
I stepped onto the first step off the porch and discovered that, no, actually, it hadn’t rained. We’d had an ice storm and everything was coated with a shiny coat of ice. As soon as my foot hit that step, I slipped, my legs flew out from under me, and I crashed onto my back onto the concrete porch. I hit so hard it knocked the breath from me and I swear I felt something crack.
I didn’t blame Madison, or the state of Wisconsin, or our clients, or anything other than my own stupidity for lying on freezing cold concrete, in pain, barely able to take a breath. But I did associate the city of Madison with all of that.
The next time I paid any attention to Madison, Wisconsin was in 2011:
That little event didn’t do a lot to make me think warmly of Madison.
No, what was required for me to think better of Madison was for me to ride a bicycle through the city. (Oh, the place is still full of loons, but, what place isn’t?)
Madison is one of the bicycle-friendliest towns I’ve had the good fortune to ride through. Got a kick out of this sign:
They are so serious about bicyclists, they devote entire boulevards to them:
The Capitol building was a little less crowded than I’d last seen:
With a lot more playfulness among the crowd:
Madison had one of the prettiest bicycle trails I’ve ever ridden:
You couldn’t have asked for a prettier / more perfect day to ride. Temperature in the mid-80s, low humidity, bright beautiful sunshine. A terrific riding day to claim Wisconsin.