Madison Bike Week is from June 1 through June 8, 2024!
Bike News

Best of 2016 Blog Posts

Year One for Madison Bikes is coming to a close (don’t forget about our fundraising drive!). Here is our top ten of blog posts from 2016, in chronological order.

1. Madison Bikes Launches

Our organization officially launched during Bike Week in May! This was a big moment for us.

2. Biking with Out-of-Towners

We met Elysha at a Cap Times talk on biking in Madison. She told us how she loved her family’s car-light life in Madison and how she spread that love when they had friends visiting from out of town.

See the rest of the list after the break.

3. Ride the Drive

Ride the Drive is a highlight on Madison’s bike calendar. See the many pictures of happy people on bike that we took during the event.

4. Bike commuting in Madison: More stagnation

A less happy post: According to the annual Census numbers, the stagnation in bike commuting in Madison continues.

5. Little Victories: Improving Bike Parking, Two Racks at a Time

There are many ways in which citizens can make a difference and improve biking conditions in Madison. This posts showcases one such way.

6. Biking in Middleton – Turning Something Bad Into Something Good

Here’s another example of one person organizing the community and making a difference for people riding bikes in Middleton.

7. Urban Bike Adventures with Kids

Our board member Emily takes her family on urban (and sometimes rural) bike adventures year round. Read her tips and suggestions.

8. Winter Bike Photo Submissions

Leading up to the Winter Bike Fashion Show, we asked you to submit your favorite winter biking pictures. See some of the highlights in this post.

9. How to dress for winter

Jacob shares his tips for how to stay comfortable riding your bike during the cold season.

10. Winter Bike Fashion Show

The Fashion Show itself was a great success! Between Rob’s photos and Emily’s write-up, this blog post does a terrific job of documenting the event.

Special Category: Grant’s Calendar Round-ups

PBMVC, LRTPC, Open House, Master Plan, …. Keeping track of what’s going on with bike advocacy in any given week is hard. But thanks to Grant’s tireless efforts, every Monday since August we have published a concise digest of important events. The Calendar Review is on winter break but will return to the blog in January.

Bike News

Madison Bikes Calendar Highlights (12/19/2016)

Last Week

Members of the Long Range Transportation Planning and Transit & Parking Commissions received presentations and provided feedback on the UW Campus Master Plan and the Madison Comprehensive Plan updates last week. These are both long range plans that offer a look into what city and university staff are thinking in relation to our transportation future. You can watch a recording of the presentations and discussion here thanks to the City Channel.

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This Week

On Monday, the Madison Bikes Events Committee meets at Barriques on Atwood to continue planning for Winter Bike Week. Everyone is welcome to attend!

On Wednesday, celebrate winter solstice and the longest night of the year by joining Madison Bike Winter for their annual Fantasy in Lights ride including a stop at the Olbrich Park solstice bonfire.

I’ll be taking the following week off and back with weekly updates after the new year. See you in 2017!

2017 Fundraising Drive: We match your donations!

From now until December 31st you have a great opportunity to double the impact of your gift by supporting Madison Bikes!

We as members of the Madison Bikes board have agreed to match any donation received during the rest of the year, up to a total of $500! Your support helps us to work for improved biking in Madison and will help lay the groundwork for our advocacy and education projects in 2017.

By making a contribution today, your gift will go twice as far as we fight for better conditions for people on bikes in Madison. Please consider making a tax deductible donation now to support our cause.

For details on any of these events, head to the Madison Bikes calendar. If you have an event that you’d like added, send the details to

Bike News

Madison Bikes Calendar Highlights (12/12/16)

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Last Week

The Bicycle Facility Maintenance Workgroup continued its work on drafting a bikeway maintenance policy for the Public Works departments; Bike Fitchburg hosted its Holiday Shindig; the city held two public engagement sessions to kick off its Imagine Madison campaign (Madison’s Comprehensive Plan update); and on Saturday, the Santa Cycle Rampage rolled through town.

This Week

On Monday, the Madison Bikes Board will hold its annual meeting to approve the 2017 budget and elect officers. At the same time, the UW will hold another Neighborhood Open House on its Campus Master Plan Update (which includes a controversial proposal to take away space from bike facilities on University Avenue).

Tuesday, Madison Bikes Advocacy Committee will hold its monthly meeting at the newly reopened Rathskeller and will look to start narrowing down its priorities for 2017.

And on Wednesday there will be a joint Long Range Transportation Planning Committee/Transit and Parking Commission meeting to review the transportation elements of the UW Campus Master Plan Update.

For details on any of these events, head to the Madison Bikes calendar. If you have an event that you’d like added, send the details to

Bike News

Madison Bikes Calendar Highlights (12/05/16)
Santa Cycle Rampage 2015 (Photo credit: Peter Gray)

Last Week

Last week the Pedestrian, Bicycle, Motor Vehicle Commission voted not to approve the proposed cross section geometry for Monroe Street that repeats the existing, car-centric cross section with no improved access for people on bikes and very limited treatments for people on foot. The proposal will move on to the Board of Public Works in two weeks and the Council will vote on it in January. PBMVC also received an update on the E. Johnson Street /First Street project which has shifted from the unbuffered 4′ bike lanes on Johnson to a 2-way segregated path from Baldwin to First. You can watch the meeting online here.

The first public meeting of the John Nolen Drive and Blair Street corridor study was well attended with an overwhelming ask to improve conditions for people on bike and people on foot. The city plans to reconstruct the sections of Wilson/Williamson closest to Blair in 2018. The plan is to do that work in a way that will support a later reconstruction of Blair Street, including the intersection itself (that work is not currently scheduled). The presentation is available on the project web page here.

This Week

On Monday, the Bicycle Facility Maintenance Workgroup meets to continue review of a draft bikeway maintenance policy for the Public Works departments and Bike Fitchburg hosts a Holiday Shindig at Roman Candle.

Imagine Madison is the name for Madison’s Comprehensive Plan update. The first public meeting will be on Monday at the Central Library with a second chance for the same content on Wednesday at the Villager Mall

If you’re interested in helping support the work of Madison Bikes, consider heading over to Cafe Hollander at Hilldale on Tuesday for the Madison Bikes Communication Committee meeting. Email if you’d like to attend.

And on Saturday, it’s Madison’s turn for the Santa Cycle Rampage.

For details on any of these events, head to the Madison Bikes calendar. If you have an event that you’d like added, send the details to

Bike News

Winter Bike Fashion Show 2016: Photos! Advice! Fun!

Thanks to everyone who came out to enjoy the Madison Bikes Winter Fashion Show! For those of you in attendance you know a good time was had by all. And for those who missed out on the fun, here’s a recap of the afternoon.

At the High Noon Saloon a great crowd gathered to mingle, share stories and tips for winter riding, and to chat with the hosts of the winter bike stations. At the winter bikes stations, folks had an a opportunity to chat with the bike owners about how they have winterized their bikes, what gear they wear to stay warm, and about their favorite winter rides. Winter bike stations were hosted by

Tim Staton from the Cargo Bike Shop. He had his Urban Arrow Family cargo bike with electric assist on display

Elysha Jones (remember her guest post on our blog?) also brought her bakfiets (Dutch for “box bike”)

Harald Kliems rides a “heavily evolved,” as he calls it, Surly Cross-Check year round

Matt DeBlass, our show’s MC from Revolution Cycles, arrived at the High Noon on his Surly Ogre–just one of many bikes he rides during winter.

Finnley Sonnemann showed off his 20-inch tired Specialized fat bike

The runway show itself started with Matt summarizing the varying conditions to expect when winter riding. Our volunteer models showed a variety of gear, ranging from more technical wear to things just about everyone has in their Wisconsin winter collection (or can find at the thrift store).

Our 2016 Madison Bikes Winter Fashion Show Models:

Tom Pearce

Tom is a graduate student in urban and regional planning at the UW. He commutes daily, two miles from the near west side to Park Street. Tom rides a Giant Yukon mountain with a studded tire on the front wheel. Why only in the front? Crashes where the front wheel loses traction are the most dangerous. And not also having a studded tire in the back helps to keep the cost and additional resistance of studded tires in check.

Tom was wearing casual work clothes with the following winter layers: short boots, wool socks, fleece, winter jacket, triple mittens, scarf, and a ski helmet with old goggles. On extra cold below zero days he also wears rain pants, balaclava and petroleum jelly to protect his skin.

Michael Jones

Over this past summer Michael bought a home in the Dudgeon-Monroe neighborhood. He chose the area in part because of its proximity to both bike paths and mountain biking trails. Through participating in a number of Madison group rides and events like Bike the Barns he is coming to be a part of the local cycling community. He sees this fashion show as yet another opportunity to meet people who share his passion for cycling.

Michael was wearing a Castelli Podium Jacket worn over a Pearl Izumi long sleeve jersey and a Craft Wind-stopper Base layer. Over his legs he typically wears a pair of Castelli fleece-lined bib tights under Fox Mountain bike shorts. On his feet he finds that Smartwool socks inside a pair of Lake MXZ 303 cycling boots works great. Hand protection varies depending on the temperature and wind conditions.

Nicole Nelson

Nicole Nelson is a professor at UW-Madison who commutes by bike year round. When her old car had her going to the shop repeatedly for expensive repairs, she sold it to her mechanic for $600 and bought a bike with that money. She has been a bike commuter ever since. When she’s not at work, Nicole loves to sew clothes, quilts, and occasionally outdoor gear for herself and her partner.

Nicole was wearing a North Face down jacket; neck gaiter, hat, and mitts all made of Merino wool; and Merrell boots. For those extra windy days, she has her ski goggles at the ready. And underneath it all, she’s ready for work with dress pants and a blouse that she designed and sewed herself.

Elysha Jones

Elysha Jones has been living in Madison for 5 years with husband, Scott, and their two little girls, Abby and Clementine. Originally from St. Louis, MO, they came to Madison because they wanted to live somewhere bike friendly. Since living here they went from being a two-car family to a one-car family, and for about 4 months they even didn’t have a car at all! They have totally embraced the bicycling life in Madison.

Elysha is wearing leggings, hand-knit knee-high socks, snow boots, a skirt, a thermal shirt under her sweater, a coat, gloves, a cowl, and helmet with a liner. Her little girl, Clementine, wears her normal clothes with snow pants and coat mittens over them. Clementine rides in the family bakfiets with the “bubble” (their name for the cover) and a blanket.

Jim Lorman

Jim Lorman has been riding bikes in Madison winters for 43 years! First to and from UW as a graduate student, and then to Edgewood College as a faculty member and now as Community Partnership Specialist for the Social Innovation and Sustainability Leadership Program. Not too many years ago, he realized that it he was really tired of the sore body parts that came from slipping and falling while riding on snow and ice, and has since relied on studded tires on a dedicated winter bike, a heavy-duty Schwinn cruiser. Jim is hoping that the Medicare benefits he just acquired this month won’t disappear during the next four years. But even if they don’t, he would prefer not to have to use them as a result of his dedication to biking in the first place.

Having been at this for over forty years, his outfit emphasizes an “old school” philosophy of dressing for winter biking. “Nothing too high tech for this old man,” is Jim’s philosophy. Simply long underwear (usually lightweight, and often silk for its comfort), jeans, waterproof boots, wool socks (with silk liners in colder weather), and three to four layers of various thicknesses on top, usually including a wool sweater and always a thin waterproof shell. He has maybe six different pairs of gloves and mittens of various degrees of waterproofness and insulation. But today he’s wearing his favorite pair for the coldest weather – wool liners with leather mitten shells. Jim’s special winter tip: A good warm scarf wound tightly around his hat and face and tucked into his coat to keep warmth in and cold out.

Lyllie Sonnemann

Lyllie is 8 years old. She enjoys riding all year and has been riding her bike about a mile to school every day of her school career! For winter riding, she enjoys riding her green fat bike.

To keep warm, Lyllie wears her regular school clothes underneath snow pants, a down winter jacket, warm home-made mittens, hat, neck warmer and, on the coldest days, ski goggles.

Finnley Sonnemann

Finn is 6 years old and also enjoys riding his bike no matter the season. Like his sister he rides about a mile to get to school each day, on his blue and orange fat bike.

To keep warm, Finn wears snow pants, winter jacket, hat, home-made mittens, and neck warmer. On super cold days he adds ski goggles to his outfit.

The Foster Family

Winter biking has become a family affair for the Fosters. This will be the third winter of the whole family riding daily.


Kai wears a good thick coat, warm and waterproof mittens, winter boots, and a balaclava. Sometimes Kai takes a quick walk outside in the morning to gauge the weather and calibrate his outfit.


Sage wears a winter coat, mittens, hat, boots, and a balaclava. When it’s very cold, he sometimes adds snow pants and ski goggles. A sweatshirt underneath provides extra warmth.


Jenifer demonstrates that pants are optional for cycling in the winter — she doesn’t own a single pair of pants. Her winter biking wear consists of Smartwool tights and wool socks with wool-lined waterproof winter boots. She has her usual skirt and layered top, with a base layer Smartwool top, turtleneck and wool sweater. On extra cold days she’ll add wool arm warmers, a hand knit cowl and wool vest. To keep in the heat she tops it off with a merino balaclava and ear warmers. When it’s extra chilly, she’ll wear her ski goggles as well.


Grant has a longish commute at 8 miles and often travels to offsite meetings throughout the day. He lacks the patience to change between ‘bike’ clothes and ‘work’ clothes, and has found success wearing ‘regular’ clothes on the bike.

For his feet, it’s extra-thick wool socks and lightly insulated boots on normal days. When it drops below zero, he’ll add extra liner socks and heavier Sorel boots. He likes a thin merino liner glove under big mittens for his hands. A pair of wool leggings under his favorite Swrve pants is enough to keep his legs warm, with a second pair of leggings for below zero conditions. Most days he wears a merino shirt with a wool sweater on top–no coat necessary–and layers an extra shirt when it gets really cold. He doesn’t use ski goggles until the temperature gets into the single digits. When he does add goggles, he finds a ski helmet to be much more comfortable with its goggle strap. The Smartwool balaclava and headband are his favorite pieces, and he wears them from 40 degrees down to the coldest temps.

Impromptu addition to the model roster

Bike station host Harald discussing his recipe for winter riding during the intermission

After a short intermission our models returned to the stage for a Q&A session. Audience members had a chance to ask questions about gear, winter riding tips, or the best parts of winter riding. A big cheer came from the crowd when our model Jim Lorman described his favorite part of winter biking: To zoom past cars that are inching along on the snowy roads or even plain stuck

Some of the winter riding tips:

  • Try studded tires! Even just one studded tire on the front of your bike can add a lot of stability in icy conditions. Keep in mind that studs don’t help in the snow.
  • Riding gets easier as the season goes on. Cold and rainy conditions can often be worse than snow or dry cold. So don’t stop riding too soon!
  • Ski goggles can make a big difference in reducing the wind and cold in your eyes. For people wearing prescription glasses, there are goggles specifically made to fit over glasses. A cheap alternative to ski goggles are protective goggles from the hardware store.
  • Don’t overdress! Leave the house feeling a bit chilly, you’ll warm up as you ride and will avoid over heating. This is especially important when you go for a longer ride.
  • Not everyone needs special winter cycling gear. Many of our models ride in their regular winter coats, boots, and mittens.
  • Some models like a light wool layer. It provides warmth, some air ventilation, and is something that can be worn off the bike throughout the day.
  • Give your bike a thorough tune up at the end of the riding season. Road salt is hard on components.
  • Wipe water and salt off your bike when you can.
  • Avoid bringing your bike in and out of cold weather for short periods of time. The melting water and salt can be worse than leaving the bike frozen. 
  • Hang your lock key-hole side down to avoid a frozen lock.
  • Often the bike paths are plowed earlier and better than the streets.
  • Riding in the quiet winter snow is a treat!
  • Jacob’s guest post on how to dress in winter has some additional info
  • Give winter biking a try! You don’t need any special equipment or gear. It’s a lot of fun! And there is no shame in occasionally taking the bus, walking, or cross-country skiing to do your errands!

A huge thank you goes out to all the volunteers who helped to make the show a success. Let’s also give kudos to Aaron Crandall for keeping Madison Bike Winter and previous editions of the Fashion Show over many years. A special thanks goes to Matt D for doing a great job as our MC and to our models and bike station hosts for sharing their winter biking tips. And thank you very much, Rob Streiffer, for taking great pictures of the show! Big kudos go to Aaron Crandall, who has kept Madison Bike Winter and the Winter Bike Fashion Show going for many years. Finally, we are so appreciative of the great support of our sponsors who generously donated to our door prize contest.

  • EVP Coffee for coffee cards
  • Revolution Cycles for fun ear muffs, a water bottle filled with bike tools, and lots of packets of Revolution Roast coffee
  • REI for a sport backpack filled with a water bottle and a neck warmer
  • Planet Bike for a great collection of winter biking gloves, shoe covers, bike pumps and a variety of lights!

If you missed the Madison Bikes Winter Fashion Show, be sure to look for it again next year! Happy Winter Riding! See you during Winter Bike Week in February!

Madison Bikes winter t-shirts. We still have some left!