Biking on South Winooski Avenue through the heart of Burlington is like doing battle with an enemy 20 times your size. Approaching the four-block minefield that runs past Rite Aid, City Market and Burlington Fire Station 1, bicyclists gird themselves for a fight.
On the northern approach to downtown, between North and Grant streets, the bike lane on North Winooski is wide enough that a rider can avoid getting “doored” by cars and still stay within the white striping. South of Grant, the bike lane — here just a single white line — becomes less obvious. Many motorists don’t recognize it as a bike lane. And then, inexplicably, the line just stops.
Near the end of the block before Pearl Street, if you’re on a bike, you’re on your own. Gone is the symbolic barrier separating you from the hundreds of tons of steel hurtling down the street. You hold your handlebars in a death grip as you pedal furiously across the intersection, trying to get some distance from the vehicles charging behind you.
Then, as soon as you cross Pearl, you’re stymied by mounds of raised pavement. One bump, two bumps, three bumps, followed by a crater that’s eager to destroy bike wheels. It’s all you can do not to get bucked off your mount.
The pockmarked block between Bank and College streets has fewer pavement chasms but is no less dangerous. Passing the Burlington Free Pressbuilding, you need to steel yourself as you funnel into one of the three lanes ahead.
Read the full article on the Seven Days website.