We have a cyclelogical fan (Josh) in Milwuakee who lives in a “community house” where everything is shared from meals to cars. Josh is an avid commuter and talks about his commuting and community lifestyle.
Tell us about the community house?
I live within an intentional community called an urban Eco-village in the
Bayview area of Milwaukee, WI. There are 9 individuals (3 children, and 6
adults) living within the community spanning from 3 years old to people
into their 50’s. This community is a way for a group of like minded people to
come together and pool resources to live in an environmentally conscious
and sustainable way while cutting down on costs. It has evolved into a
family-unit atmosphere where the members care for one another and support
each other through our life adventures.
What do you guys share?
Within our community a working slogan has developed, “access not
ownership”. The principle of this is that as individuals we don’t need to own
everything that we use on a regular basis. There is an open door policy within the
community, if I need to borrow something from another member and they are
not home, I am free to walk in and use the item. In addition to this we
have designated common areas for frequently used items to reduce the need to
enter personal spaces. My favorite application of this is the number of
tools that are available to me, especially for working on bikes. The 60″
TV and Wii are a bonus too.
How many in the house commute with a bike? Everybody within the community uses a bicycle for commuting at varying levels and distances. In fact during the dryer months there is a single
father that will bike his 2 girls to school and other locations using a
tandem bike with an attached one-wheeler on the back, it’s quite a site to
see. When the weather gets harsher there are about 3-4 of us who will
brave the frozen tundra of Wisconsin.
What are some of the challenges?
Some of the challenges of living within an intentional community are the
commitments (time, relational, monetary) needed to have an active role,
differences in personality, and the logistics of structuring the community
What are some of the positives?
Positives include the aforementioned access to items that I no longer need
to purchase for myself, a support group, friendship, great meals (we do a
potluck-style dinner 3 times a week), and the satisfaction of making a
difference and living in a way that gives examples on how to live more
How much do you commute with your bike in the winter months?
I live relatively close to my work, so on the really scary winter days I
end up walking to work to save the wear on my bike and to avoid the crashes.
That being said, I prefer to bike because it seriously cuts down on the
amount of time in the cold.
What are some things you have learned over the years commuting in the cold
that have been beneficial…i.e. gear you use, routes you take, time of
As far as biking in the cold, the best advice I can give is to layer. Make
sure that you wear warm shoes or boots, and change at work if you need to.
My favorite jacket for commuting is a Columbia jacket that has a water
resistant outer shield and an inner fleece. That way if the weather drastically changes I’m ready for a variety of situations. In addition I
always carry my bike lights with me, because of the shorter days its
always good to have the ability to increase my visible presence on the road.
What are some obstacles you face commuting in Milwaukee?
I’ve only been here in Milwaukee for a year and a half, and most of my
commuting is in the Bayview area, which is really great for cyclists. In
fact there is a certain intersection on my commute that every time I
encounter a vehicle I’m waved on ahead! Probably the greatest obstacle
that can identify is the lack of a cyclist friendly route from the Bayview
area into downtown Milwaukee. Try getting to Summerfest and back on a bike and
you’ll see what I mean.
why do you think it’s important to be “Cyclelogical?”
I love the term Cyclelogical, it implies that the commuting lifestyle is a
state of mind as much as it is a choice. It’s easy to think that you
should use the bicycle more than a car, especially when gas prices go up, it’s
much harder to sustain that choice through bad weather, or cargo runs to the
hardware store, library or grocery store. I consider being “Cyclelogical”
both a state of mind as well as being prepared equipment wise in order to
make it easier to support the decision to live a responsible sustainable
What products from cyclelogcial do you have?
I currently have 2 shirts (love the reflective ink), backpack, gaiter, and
Where did you get it?
One of the shirts and the backpack I bought at Wheel and Sprocket here in
MKE. The others I got directly from Cyclelogical
And how do you use it?
I use the backpack for anything and everything, whether commuting, going
on a grocery run, walking, or even an overnight bag on a road trip. The
compartments inside are great for organizing, and I am consistently
getting compliments on the backpack when I refuse bags at the grocery store and
proceed to pack $70 worth of groceries into the bag and then hop on my
bike.The gaiter is great for colder weather so that I don’t have to roll up my
cuffs and expose my ankle to the elements.
Favorite bike trail in Wisconsin and why?
“Goat dance” at Levis mound near Neillsville, WI. (Mountain Biking)
It’s an amazing ride on a WORS level course that’s rocky, rooty, twisty
and oh so much fun.