By Jason McDowell Creative Director Published Nov 19, 2008 at 10:57 AM

There have been more than a few times when my bike has failed me. Admitting a bicycle is not perfect may come as a surprise to some who know me, but it's true; these machines are not infallible.

And, as an even harder kick to the teeth, my bike failures have often occurred miles away from where I need to be. Two instances include:

a) When I biked to a formal event only to get a flat, forcing me to walk several miles in boots that were not made for walking (nor biking, for that matter; lesson learned).


b) After I had made adjustments to my bottom bracket and crank I set out on the road where, almost precisely halfway to my destination, my crank arm fell off, leaving me with a lopsided bike (my bolts weren't tight enough; lesson learned again).

On Monday, Nov. 10 the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors passed a budget that included money to implement a Bike Racks on Buses program in Milwaukee. This was the third time since September 2007 that the resolution authorizing the implementation of a Bike Racks on Buses program has been supported by the County Board and it will hopefully not be the last.

There will be a final vote today at 1:30 this afternoon, so it's recommended that you call your county supervisor NOW if you're want to see a budget for bike racks. Your county supervisor can easily be found here.

It's not just my stupidity or, as I like to think of it, hard luck that is reason enough to put bike racks on buses. People who live at one end of the city and work at the other could benefit by splitting their commute between bike and bus. Poor weather and visibility might make a bus trip necessary. Drinking and cycling can be just as tragic as drinking and driving. And of course there are always the pothole-ridden streets that are likely to cause unexpected wheel damage.

If the final vote passes we could expect bike racks on the buses as early as next spring. Check back on this blog later in the afternoon for an update on the expected final outcome.

UPDATE: After a two and a half year campaign and three vetos by the County Executive, Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors includes a Bike Racks on Buses program in County Budget in a vote of 16-3. As a result, Milwaukee County Transit System expects to have bike racks on buses this spring. 

But enough of the politics, let's get to the fun. Just because the temperature is dropping and the sunlight is fading fast doesn't mean it's time to chuck your two-wheeled transportation into the basement for a long season of hibernation and rust.

There are still plenty of events to keep the blood flowing from your fingers to your toes. There is something gratifying about seeing your breath dissipate in the crisp air while you're burning up inside a few layers of clothes. was started in Chicago to encourage cycling all year round, but has since seen expansion in the Midwest to Milwaukee and St. Louis. Tonight marks the first Bike Winter event of the season. To encourage visibility in these dark evenings and the snowy conditions that are soon to follow the group will be holding Sew to be Seen at the River Horse from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. tonight, Nov. 19. Five dollars gets you all the beer and reflective material your heart could desire. Sew it on your bag, your pants, your hat, gloves ... anywhere that'll accept a needle.

Bike polo is scheduled for Thursday at 8 p.m. at the O'Donnell Park parking structure and provides action for both experienced and inexperienced players. All you need is a bike, some warm clothes and a couple of beers to start. Don't expect anything to stay in mint condition, but while the action may be heated, the attitudes are always friendly.

Later in the week, on Saturday, Nov. 22 at 3 p.m., we celebrate Cranksgiving, an Alleycat race from store to store to buy food for the Hunger Task Force. The event will be held at the Humboldt and Locust parking lot.

There is no entry fee, but you'll need about $10 to purchase the food. It's about helping people, having fun and even includes the possibility of winning over $2,000 in prizes from local bike shops, clothing stores, and coffeeshops.

As an avid cyclist, I encourage everybody to continue to put the pedal to the streets. With the proper gear biking in the winter can still be an enjoyable experience and these events are sure to provide ample answers for any questions or concerns you might have.

Jason McDowell Creative Director

Jason McDowell grew up in central Iowa and moved to Milwaukee in 2000 to attend the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design.

In 2006 he began working with OnMilwaukee as an advertising designer, but has since taken on a variety of rolls as the Creative Director, tackling all kinds of design problems, from digital to print, advertising to branding, icons to programming.

In 2016 he picked up the 414 Digital Star of the Year award.

Most other times he can be found racing bicycles, playing board games, or petting dogs.