A Great Ride
photo of JB

As the president of Trek Bicycle, I’d like to share my stories about interesting people, places, and the bicycle with hope of inspiring you to find your great ride.


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Mark Wyatt

I recently attended a trails conference in Iowa. The snowmobile association explained how their license fee pays for their trails and equipment. They suggested rather pointedly that bicycle user groups should support a similar tax (my word not his, but let's call it a tax).

I pay for three annual trail permits $30. I register my bike in two communities $5, but technically, I need to pay more. I attend fundraisers for two different trail associations $300. And another silent auction $500.

Another $15 won't break me and it will make the snowmobilers happy - However, they are using the same trails. They actually don't own or lease the rights of way or ditches they call trails. A bike trail has to be purchased and infrastructure developed.

Our society needs to embrace trails as they do parks. There isn't a user fee for a teeter totter. And pay-as-you-go will never develop new trails.

And there are people who cannot afford to pay for a permit. It isn't like a $10,000 snowmobile with expendable income.

Even your example of automobile tax - that isn't working very well either. We need a dependable model for funding.

Larry Meadows

I think a nominal fee for yearly use of the trail is a good idea, provided the money is set aside specifically for trail maintenance and upkeep. I know my taxes pay for services, but I also know all areas are hurting for tax dollars. In the current economic environment, a small fee for a trail pass may keep funding in place for the yearly upkeep of the trail. Give me a safe place to ride and keep it in good condition. As a hopeful future employee of Trek Bikes and a full-time bike commuter, perhaps I can come up and ride the trail with you some time! I will pay the $20 :-)


Spencer M

That picture is classic. Dude doesn't have a clue he just ticketed JB.

I'm OK with "A"-as long as the trail system is expansive and well-maintained, as the Wisconsin fee-based trail system appears in my experience.

Also, a modest fee keeps those who generally oppose spending on bicycle-related infrastructure from being overly concerned with cyclists not directly contributing to infrastructure specific to their use. A political play, I suppose.

That said, I often find myself on farm roads in that area, regardless of the trail system, and I can see your points under part "B" as well.

Valerie Campbell

I feel like it is pretty reasonable for the fee. It isn't free to maintain these trails! I am not sure if there are different fees in different places or if the state trail pass will let you ride all of the trails.

Bradley Ziegler

I agree with you that bike trails should be available to anyone free of charge.

Dana Kalina

I've been paying for an annual trail pass for years and will continue to do so. It's just like the annual state park pass I get for my vehicle. In my opinion it helps the parks operate, perform maintenance and expand their service and increase quality. At the trails I visit regularly I can clearly see improvements happening so like I said, I have no problem with continuing to pay to us the trails.

B.J. Ondo

IF, the FEE, is for trail maintenance then Yes but I don't like the "ticket" idea at all!!!
They should have manned booth or machines you can purchase the permit from. I think the $5.00 fee for not having a permit is pure B.S., sorry!

If the money is going to fill county treasuries then, "NO", jmho, ymmv

Tyler Bowden

I'm fine with the fee as long as the money is going directly to maintaining and improving the bike trails. Wisconsin has some of the best trails around and I am happy to help support that. And yes, it is pretty clear by the picture that this young man has no idea that this is JB. :)

Jim Statz

I think I was out the same weekend and got the same ticket. I was happy to pay the fine as well but had the same thoughts. I have concluded the I will use the trails some this year but in the future I will likely stay off the trails because they are just too crowded around Madison.

Mike Meholic

good question John. I would want to know how much money is actually collected in fees and if it is truly significant with respect to off setting the costs of building and maintaining the bike paths. If it is a significant amount of money I am fine with charging fees but would like a process in place so that less fortunate people could apply for a free pass and still be able to use the paths. If the amount collected in fees is not significant I would say don't charge--the ill will generated with petty fees isn't worth it--especially if it stops some people from using the paths and biking. Just my 2 cents.

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