A few years ago, while living in Cleveland, I was talking to a friend in the parking lot of an apartment complex. This happens to be a place where a lot of elderly (and cranky) people reside. My friend was in her car, and I was talking to her through her window. Out of nowhere, a senior citizen with a horrible sounding, whiny voice starts yelling at my friend, "Wait a Minute! Before you drive off! My husband nearly knocked out his eye with that contraption you have on the back of your car! That thing could kill someone!" The thing she was referring to was a bike rack. My friend replied, "You mean my bike rack? I suggest your husband have his eyes examined. I could recommend an optometrist, if you would like."
In Madison, Wisconsin, this woman's husband would be knocking his eyes out every day. Bike racks on the back of cars are a dime a dozen here.
Here is another story. I was running to the Green Road Rapid (Cleveland's "lovely" public transportation that nobody I know uses...), and I was honked at because this lady in her Saab didn't want to go around me. There was no sidewalk. Where was I supposed to go? I believe pedestrians have the right of way, lady. So, I gave her the finger. I even had a lady roll down her window once, yelling, "Use the sidewalk!" If she wants to get her fat a%% out of her luxury vehicle and create one for me, I would have used it. I am saving gas, the environment, and burning calories!
Again, in Madison, I feel that runners, and ESPECIALLY bikers rule the road here. There are even flags for pedestrians to hold to go from one end of the crosswalk to the other. I am so impressed.
One more story -
A former client of mine, not knowing that I moved to Madison recently called me about a real estate related issue. When I told him I moved here, he responded, "Madison? They don't have a Saks or a Nordstrom, there, do they?" I replied, "I don't know, and frankly, I don't care. I am literally on my way out the door to run to the farmer's market without being honked at by drivers who want me to get out of their way, that's one of the reasons I moved here." Case closed. You get my point.
Here is what I have noticed about Madison:
I think there is a rule that says men over fifty must have gray beards
I am pretty sure you are required to drive a Subaru or a Hybrid of some sort (I better get rid of my car - stat)
If you don't own a bike, get out of town
There are as many gays as straights
Make-up and Coach bags are a "no no" (again, I better get rid of those things...)
You cannot use your cell phone in public (unless texting)
Everyone reads the "New York Times" (and they use the bags to pick up after their dogs)
Recycling & composting are everywhere (as my dog has discovered.... she loves to go through the neighbor's composts...)
And on a more serious note, I made an observation about a month ago. There is no litter here. I always noticed trash while running, but here, there is virtually none.
Talk about politically correct. Have a great day, and go recycle, or something.