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

Biking with Steph: My First Set of Wheels

Hi Madison Bikes Community, I’m Steph! I am a new member of the Madison Bikes Board, an avid cyclist and coffee drinker. I will be contributing to the Madison Bikes blog on a weekly basis to provide a voice of bike-related encouragement, insight, and amusement. While I am not a bike expert by any means, I am obsessed with all things bike-related and look forward to sharing my thoughts on a new topic with you each week!

A couple of weeks ago, I was asked: “What is your favorite bike?”. I spent a moment considering this question. Naturally, my initial thought was to say that I love all of my bikes equally. My second thought was that I am not a parent and the question was about bikes, not children, therefore I was free to tell the truth. My answer was that my favorite bike was the one I grew up riding as a child—my Trek Singletrack 820.

Image: BicycleBlueBook

I remember going to the local bike shop in Racine as a child and test riding it in tight circles around the store’s small parking lot. I remember thinking that the price of $325 was exorbitant and that my bike was going to make the neighbor kids so jealous. Don’t even get me started on the color! Swoon!

This bike became more than a form of transportation for me. It was freedom. It fostered my independence and took me on endless adventures with friends. I developed a passion for biking as a child that I have (obviously) carried into adulthood. More now than ever, I realize that if I didn’t have such a privileged childhood, I would not have fostered such a love of biking.

Over the weekend, I volunteered at an annual bike giveaway organized by Free Bikes 4 Kidz. It was as heart-warming as it was a well-organized event. FB4K was able to give away 1,400 free, refurbished bikes to Madison-area children who had been pre-registered for a bicycle. If you have noticed a recent influx of children biking around with BIG grins on their faces, that’s why. I’m hopeful these children will have the opportunity to foster a passion for biking the way that I did. However, a lot of the children at the FB4K events are less privileged than I was as a child. I lived in a quiet, suburban cul-de-sac with bike paths nearby. I never felt unsafe biking around my neighborhood.

In Madison, streets and bike paths our children are biking on need to be designed and maintained in a way that will enable them feel comfortable enough to foster such a passion. If these children (or their parents/guardians) do not feel comfortable biking in their neighborhoods, they may be less likely to carry a joy for biking into adulthood. As a child, one scary experience while learning how to be a regular biker is all it takes to put the kibosh on positive perceptions of biking.

On a related note, Bike Fitchburg, Wisconsin Bike Fed, Wisconsin Department of Transportation, and the NHTSA are organizing a free ‘Teach the Trainer’ bike safety workshop in Madison on April 27th. Please consider signing up!

Happy biking and tailwinds!

PS: If you have a spare eight minutes on your hands, I highly recommend watching this video of a dad and daughter going bikepacking together. It made me almost want to have a child of my own, for like five minutes.

Bike News

Bcycle is back, and Transportation Commission talks Vision Zero

What happened last week?

Free Bikes 4 Kidz gave away 1,400 Bikes

Over the weekend, Free Bikes for Kidz gave away 1,400 bikes with the help of partner organizations.

Bcycle Bikes are back!

Bcycle is slowly adding bikes back to their bike share system here in Madison. Keep an eye on their map to see if your favorite stations are back online and stocked with bikes.

What’s up this week?


The Madison Bikes Development committee will meet at the Barriques on W Washington (just off the square) at 6:00 pm. Everyone is always welcome. We will continue setting our goals and talk about what membership to Madison Bikes should look like. We will also be discussing how we can foster relationships with other organizations and businesses. We would love for you to join us.


Vilas Park drive will be closed to make emergency repairs to failing culverts. The closure will be from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The closure will be within the “one-way” portion of Vilas Park Drive. Bikes and pedestrians will be detoured through the park.

The Transportation Commission will be meeting at 5 pm in room 207 of the Madison Municipal Building. On the agenda is an introduction of Vision Zero. You can find slides about Vision Zero here.


Capital Off Road Pathfinders will be holding a fundraiser at Machinery Row Bicycles from 6 to 9 pm. $20 gets you in, refreshments, and one door prize ticket. More information can be found on the event’s Facebook page.

Bike News

Biking with Steph: Hello, Sunshine!

Hi Madison Bikes Community, I’m Steph! I am a new member of the Madison Bikes Board, an avid cyclist and coffee drinker. I will be contributing to the Madison Bikes blog on a weekly basis to provide a voice of bike-related encouragement, insight, and amusement. While I am not a bike expert by any means, I am obsessed with all things bike-related and look forward to sharing my thoughts on a new topic with you each week!

If you are reading this, it means you have survived another Wisconsin winter. Congratulations, you did it! The grey snow mounds have receded, abandoned gloves are re-emerging alongside sidewalks, and the long hygge is over.

If you have followed my other blog, you will have read about some of the joys and struggles that come from winter biking. I honesty feel like I became a better biker by learning how to safely commute to work by bike in the winter. Last week, I took my bike into Revolution Cycles for a complete tune-up of my commuter bike. Even with the City of Madison doing a nice job with plowing and sanding bike paths on the near east side, my bike did not endure the winter with grace. One quick lookover by Rev Cycle’s Matt DeBlass confirmed that most of the components on my bike were shot and needed to be completely replaced.

After my bike underwent an extreme makeover, I also swapped out my studded tires and have felt as if I am flying down Madison’s bike lanes. It has been great to see other Madisonians out on their bikes too! I know that commuting to work through the isthmus can be a pain, but bike-commuting in this weather can be a delight. In fact, according to CityLab, biking to work has been shown to lead to more happiness than driving or using the bus.

For those just getting back on their bikes, some may be discouraged by the amount of sediment found on bike path and lanes. I have heard from seasoned riders that this sediment has made them feel uneasy. It’s true that there are parts of my commute to work that remind my of riding along Lakeshore path on UW Madison’s campus. I believe that street cleaning will be performed in the next few days or weeks, so I hope bikers don’t get too discouraged!

Bike Lane on Gorham St.

Of course, if you feel like there is a segment of bike path or street that needs attention, do not hesitate to use the City of Madison’s “Report a Problem” site.

Here’s to hoping that you all can get out and RIDE!

P.S.: If you haven’t gotten enough bike content yet or you’re bored at work, Reddit has a Daily Cyclist Thread that is just wonderful.

Bike News

We’re creeping into spring

Photo credit: Linda Larsen

If you were out over the weekend, you saw lots more bicyclists out and about. Not everyone ventures out by bike in the winter, but it seems that everyone is eager to get back on as the weather warms and the snow melts. And that also means that there will probably be more events on our calendar as we get into later spring and the summer. Remember, you can find all the events and meetings that we know about by checking out our Community Calendar. You can also drop us a line if you have something to add.

What happened last week?

Freewheel is starting a fundraising drive for their new bike center

On Saturday, Freewheel Bike Collective hosted a community meeting. Freewheel has been around in Madison for over 15 years, giving away free bikes to the community and teaching people how to build and repair bikes. Now a big expansion is on the horizon. As we have reported earlier, Freewheel was chosen by the city as the operator for the Judge Doyle Bicycle Center. The center, slated to open late this year, will provide secure bike parking, showers, a bike wash station, and space to repair bikes and teach bike repair classes. To make this expansion happen and raise money, Freewheel has started a big membership drive. You can check out the different membership options here. Stay tuned for a separate blog post about Freewheel and the Bicycle Center in the next few weeks.

Madison Bikes board and volunteers help out FB4K

Hard to believe, but not all the board members are good mechanics. Some of us just love bikes and want to help others get a bike and enoy the freedom we feel when we ride. So while some more experienced board and volunteers helped fix up bikes at Free Bikes for Kidz, the rest of us either cleaned the bikes or put training wheels on the smaller ones. We had a great time, and FB4K is a fantastic program. They always need help, so if you’d like to help, contact them. No experience needed!

Bike counter on John Nolen Path is working again!

Despite not displaying the numbers for passing bicyclists, the bike counter has been working all along. But some people worried that their cold-weather rides weren’t being recorded. Now you can once again see each and every rider be counted on the path. And if you are interested in seeing weather, day of week, or monthly trends, you can also see the statistics for the counters at both the John Nolen Dr Path and the Southwest Path — as well as some pedestrian counters on State St that you probably didn’t know existed — on this page.

What’s up this week?


The Madison Bikes board will meet at the Central Library at 6:00 pm. Everyone is always welcome. We’ll be talking about plans for Bike Week in early June as well as updates from all our committees.

Just upstairs from our board meeting at the Central will be a mayoral debate starting at 7:00 pm. Satya Rhodes-Conway will face Paul Soglin on April 2 to determine who will be our mayor for the next four years. Your vote is very important, so please make sure to make your voice heard. You can vote absentee—aka early vote—at any public library starting March 18. City offices and locations on the UW campus, Madison College, and Edgewood are also available. You can find all the locations and hours here.


Women’s “Get to know your bike clinic” will be held at the Trek store on the east side— 1706 Eagan Rd–from 6:00-7:00 pm. Join Trek Bicycle Madison East for a clinic led by our women’s advocate, Kelsey Walsh. We will discuss the anatomy of your bike and how to keep it well, clean and happy. Please bring your questions and your willingness to learn. This is FREE and open to the public. All attendees will receive 10% off maintenance supplies!


The Madison Bikes Advocacy Committee will meet at 6:00 pm at Bendyworks, 106 E Doty St #200. This is the committee that helps push for better conditions in the city. So if you want to help our, we’d love to have you.


Neff Cycle Service is having a grand reopening after moving locations. (But not too far, just to a different space in the same building.) Enjoy food, drink, door prizes and lots of cool bikes and people! If the weather permits we will have a group ride in the morning before opening up the shop. 1:00-5:00 pm at 1490 Martin St, Madison.

Capital Goldsprints Series #1 GoldSprint Series returns for a THIRD season of BIKES, BEER, MUSIC and FUN! Hosted at Motorless Motion Bikes by MoMo Riders Club. Spin your fastest for great prizes or glory against your friends or fiercest rivals. This is a come-as-you-are event and all equipment is provided. No experience necessary, just come prepared to have fun. 7:00pm –⁠ 11:55pm at Motorless Motion Bicycles, 640 W Washington Ave.

What have we been talking about?

Over on the recently-renamed Madison Bikes Community Facebook group, here are a few posts from the last week that generated some discussion:

What paths are still icy? Or are they flooded now?

A student is compiling a list of all the bike-only traffic signals in the city.

Streetsblog had a little film about the craziest excuses against bike lanes, and local commenters added their own stories.

And people are talking about the mayoral election.

Bike News

Monday Update: Events Committee, Freewheel Meeting, FB4K Ride

Photo credit: Michael Lemberger

What’s happening in Madison this week? Hopefully nicer weather for biking, but it may be more like what you see in the picture above…

Tonight, on Monday, the Madison Bikes Events Committee has their monthly meeting. We will go over our plans for this year and see how we can best use our events to further the Madison Bikes mission. If you want to get involved or have ideas, you’re very welcome to attend. 6pm at Rockhound Brewing on Park St.

The Transportation Commission is meeting on Wednesday. Looking at the agenda, there aren’t any bike-related issues mentioned. The meeting is at the Madison Municipal Building, Room 207, starting at 5pm.

On Saturday, Freewheel Bike Collective is hosting a community meeting. After being selected to be the operators of the new Judge Doyle Square Bike Center, changes are coming to Freewheel, including a new membership model. “Come and join an informal presentation about what’s changing and what’s staying the same at Freewheel Bicycle Co, with food and drink provided.” 1-4pm at Freewheel, 1804 S Park St, Ste 5.

On Sunday, you can join a fundraising bike ride for Free Bikes for Kidz Madison (FB4K). FB4K Executive Director Andy Quandt and Board Chair Peter Gray are celebrating their birthdays by going on a bike ride of various lengths. You can join them and/or support FB4K with a donation. More info on the Facebook event page.

As always, you can find an overview of all bike events on our Community Bike Calendar. Email us at to add your events. And if you value our newsletter and other work, consider donating to Madison Bikes.

Bike News

Monday Update: Spring is here (meteorologically speaking)

View from the Lower Yahara River Trail along Lake Waubesa last Thursday.

As of March 1st, we have entered a period known as “Meteorological spring”. It’s the period of the year that starts on March 1st, and ends on May 31st. Most of us are more familiar with the celestial definition of spring which starts on the vernal equinox (March 20th this year) and ends on the June solstice in the northern hemisphere. So even though the weather this week will still feel like winter, warmer weather is officially around the corner.

This Week

Monday, March 4,

The MEAThead Ride will be meeting at Ford’s Gym on Winnebago St. at its usual time of 7 PM.With Daylight Savings Time around the corner, this is actually the last official ride of the season.

At 5 PM, Madison’s Transportation Policy and Planning Board will meet to approve an amendment to the city’s Street Use Permits law, to discuss the Bassett Street Corridor Plan, and more. Read the full agenda here.

Tuesday, March 5

Madison Bikes Communications Committee meets at 6 PM instead of the usual 5:30, and will be meeting in the Sunset Lounge of the Memorial Union. The Communications Committee oversees Madison Bikes public communications, including the Facebook Discussion page, the weekly update blogs, and other communication efforts. The agenda can be found here.

The Madison Common Council will also be meeting at 6:30 in the Common Council Chambers at the City County Building. One of the agenda items will be approving the geometry for the Gammon Road project which will include an extension of the West Towne Path, currently ending at the Struck Street underpass west to just past Gammon Road, including a new underpass of Gammon. You can read the full agenda here.

Wednesday, February 6

The Madison Area Transportation Planning Board (MATPB) will be meeting at 6:30 PM in Rooms A-B of the Madison Water Utility building at 119 E. Olin Ave. Read the full agenda here.

Thursday, February 7

The County Board is meeting at 7 PM in the Council Chambers at the City County Building. Among other agenda items, the Board will be approving a land purchase that will help get the Lower Yahara River Trail built along the north end of Lake Kegonsa. Read the full agenda here.

Friday to Saturday

If you’re in the market for a new bike, you can head to the annual Bike-O-Rama show at the Alliant Center, starting at noon on Friday and going until Sunday afternoon.

As always, you can find an overview of all bike events on our Community Bike Calendar. Email us at to add your events. And if you value our newsletter and other work, consider donating to Madison Bikes.