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2015-05-28 11.13.33

Wisconsin

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:

Gov_Walker_Protests1_JR

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:

You people driving them car-like things. Get the hell out of the way. There’s a bicycle coming through!

They are so serious about bicyclists, they devote entire boulevards to them:

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The Capitol building was a little less crowded than I’d last seen:

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With a lot more playfulness among the crowd:

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Madison had one of the prettiest bicycle trails I’ve ever ridden:

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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.