Madison Bike Week is from June 1 through June 8, 2024!
E-Mail Newsletter Weekly Update

Car-Free Holiday Fantasy in Lights

Join us on Monday January 2nd for a CAR-FREE night at the Holiday Fantasy in Lights exhibit at Olin Park! We were able to coordinate this special car-free night to offer a holiday lights experience without the traffic jam! Learn more and signup to receive updates by following our facebook event.

Family participating in 2020 car-free holiday lights ride.

Pre-Lights Party @ 3pm

Big thanks to the Sheraton Madison (706 John Nolen Drive) for hosting a “Pre-Lights” Party from 3-5pm! There will be hot chocolate and snacks to help fuel you for the ride to Olin Park. This is also a great time for kido’s to warm up and adjust their winter gear before the ride.

Car-Free Lights Ride @ 5pm

Group Ride starting from the Sheraton at 5pm will follow the bike path and loop through Olin Park. The round trip distance is about 2 miles for one loop through the lights. Walkers, bikers, joggers, etc. are welcome to join!  

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. For construction updates, check out the city’s Bike Madison page.

Newsletter Weekly Update

We’re getting a white Christmas!

New wayfinding sign of SW Path

If you are a fan of biking in the snow, or you want to see if the city really does clear the paths promptly, the last few days have been for you. Watch out for slippery spots, because even when streets are plowed, things can get dicey. (One of our Madison Bikes friends found that out the hard way, and now she’s off her bike for a few months.) Salt won’t work below 15 degrees F, so the next few days may be a challenge. Studded tires will definitely help. Or just take the bus and/or be very cautious.

Harald Kliems posted that the new wayfinding signs are showing up. (See above) The signs give direction and distance to common destinations. Those of us who are local may already know how far the Capitol or Kohl Center is from Camp Randall, but for new residents and visitors, it’s going to really be nice. Right now there are only three up on the SW Path, but eventually there will be signs from Brittingham Boats out to the Velo Underround in Fitchburg.

I’m sort of assuming that other paths will also be getting signs at some point.

Bike Fitchburg posted that the Cap City Trail has a new signal and crossing at McCoy Rd and Hwy MM. Unfortunately, it looks like drivers are paying no attention at all to the “No Turn on Red” sign. The accompanying video shows they aren’t even stopping.

The week ahead

Needless to say, there aren’t many meetings this week, although there is one of interest.

The Transportation Planning and Policy Board meets on Monday at 5:00 pm. If you missed the discussion of the Complete and Green Streets at the Transportation Commission last week, you can watch the TBBP talk about it. This new policy manual will govern how streets are built or reconstructed, including how the public right of way is allocated to different modes and uses. Besides moving people via cars, transit, bikes, and foot, the public right of way is used for parking, sidewalk cafes, benches and other street furniture/amenities, street trees, and deliveries/pickups/loading. It’s a pretty interesting document, so scroll through the final document

Upcoming event reminders

Don’t forget that the car-free Holiday Fantasy in Lights is coming up Jan 2 in Olin Park. There will be a family-friendly happy hour at the Sheraton from 3;00-5:00 pm, but you can go through anytime after dark until 8:00. 

We could use some help both promoting it and on the day of the event.

In advance of the event, please share it with your social networks, friends, and neighborhood lists. We’d love to show that there are a lot of people that want to experience the lights outside a car. The more the merrier, whether by foot, bike, skateboard, or skis, the lights will be open for one evening only with no cars. You don’t have to wait for us, just take your time and enjoy it with friends or family.

On the day of the event, we need volunteers to staff the entrance, just to remind drivers that it’s car-free on that evening. We also need people before and after the event for putting out and taking down signs. We’d like to get two people for each ½ hour shift from 3:30 – 9:00 pm, just in case the weather is cold and folks need a break.  If you can help, please email your availability to 

Thanks and happy holidays!

And whatever holiday(s) you celebrate, may it be happy, fun, and joyous. And we hope you get all the bike stuff you wanted from Santa. Madison Bikes wouldn’t be able to do what we do without your support!

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. For construction updates, check out the city’s Bike Madison page.

E-Mail Newsletter Weekly Update

FB4K volunteer appreciation; Bcycle season ends; Transportation Commission; UW winter biking

A person riding their bicycle through heavy snow on North Allen Street.

That was quite the snow event on Friday! If you were out riding: Awesome! And if you chose to ride the bus or hide at home: That’s cool too. As a reminder, you can find a recording of our winter biking Q&A on YouTube. And there is another opportunity to learn about riding through winter: The UW Bicycle Resource Center is hosting a 1-hour class on Wednesday at noon. Free and no registration required.

I unfortunately wasn’t able to make it, but by all account, the Bike Fed organized another great Santa Rampage ride on Saturday! The Wisconsin State Journal has some coverage.

BCycle season is ending. Starting on the 14th, BCycle will collect their bikes for the winter and return on March 15.

Last week’s update called out the new Transportation Demand Management (TDM) program. The Common Council approved the new program unanimously. Thanks to everyone who spoke at the meeting or submitted written comments. The Council also approved the Metro Network Redesign, which is aimed to make Metro service less complex and more frequent (with the tradeoff that some areas will see reduced service and longer walks). The network redesign will be implemented next summer.

Speaking of the Common Council: Election season is rapidly approaching and there has been a flurry of news about who is and isn’t going to run for council. It’s hard to overemphasize how important it is to have alders who are supportive of biking, walking, and transit. With a lot of incumbents not running for re-election (and redistricting changing things up), have you considered running in your district? You have until January 3 to file your paperwork.

Free Bikes 4 Kids‘s 2022/23 season is in full swing. The first stage, i.e. collecting used bikes, is done, and now it’s time to fix up those bikes for the big give-away in the spring. This takes a lot of volunteer effort, and to honor that effort, FB4K are hosting a volunteer appreciation party at the Main Depot on Wednesday from 4 to 6:30pm. “If you helped us in any way in 2022, you are invited to celebrate with us! And, if you haven’t yet had a chance to help but want to in 2023, please feel free to attend and meet our crew. We’ll have some snacks and beverages and great conversation.”

Also on Wednesday: The Transportation Commission has their final meeting of the year. Some relevant items on the agenda:

  • Annual Review of Winter Bike Maintenance
  • There is a proposal for unprotected bike lanes on E Washington Ave between Pinckney and Blair. The layout of the lanes changes between buffered lanes, unbuffered lanes at the curb, and unbuffered lanes in the door zone.
  • Some changes to the design of bike facilities of the Bassett/W Wilson Street project. As far as I can tell from the drawings, it replaces buffered bike lanes on the 400 block of W Wilson with a sidepath; and the cycletrack up W Wilson gets a raised crossing at Hamilton/Henry.
  • Complete Green Streets: The policy that will guide how we allocate the public right-of-way to different uses is up for review and approval. There is a lot to digest in the report.

One more event on Wednesday: It’s time for the monthly Madison Queer Bike Ride. I haven’t seen any details yet, and so check their Instagram account before heading to the start.

On Saturday, Slow Roll, Black Saddle, and Revolution Cycles are hosting a Holiday Lights Extravaganza: “We’ll leave Garver Feed Mill close to 6:30pm and pedal around lake Monona to the lights display at Olin. This ride tends to move slowly with a few stops to enjoy each other’s company. It gets pretty magical.”

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. For construction updates, check out the city’s Bike Madison page.

Newsletter Weekly Update

Vote for TDM, Passenger Rail, Santa Rampage Returns

Photo: Wisconsin Bike Fed

This Week

Tuesday: City Council will vote on the Transportation Demand Management program that has been in the works on for a number of years. Its passage would be a big push for better biking, walking, and transit services for developments in the city. Your emails or testimony in support are strongly encouraged to help it pass!

Simply put, this program supports infrastructure for modes of transportation that reduce congestion (biking, walking, transit, etc.) when new developments are being approved, or when the use of an existing development changes.

Things the program could require include secure bicycle parking and showers/changing rooms, allowing those who don’t use a car parking space in a development to have the value of that space in other ways (reduced rent, extra storage, etc.), free or reduced transit passes, free BCycle memberships, and car sharing programs.

Plan Commission already requires TDM for some developments, but there are no guidelines or consistency to what is required. The plan up for approval on Tuesday would help implement TDM near networks of pedestrian, bicycle, and transit travel, rather than encouraging single occupancy vehicle use in these locations.

You can access all the documents that the Council will consider here. And you can view Robbie Webber’s more extensive comments to the Council here. Emails can be sent to the entire Council by using the following email:

Wednesday: Madison’s Passenger Rail Station Study kickoff meeting is happening in person at 4:30 pm in room 215 of the Madison Municipal Building, 215 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, and virtually at 6:30pm. This study came from a recent influx of available rail funding from the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, combined with recent US DOT guidance that passenger rail service to Madison should be “included on any mainline route alignment.” and is “critical to operational viability of the Core Express corridor between Chicago and Minneapolis-St. Paul.”

Saturday: Celebrate the seasons in your favorite festive costume with the Santa Cycle Rampage. Groups will ride in from all over town, and converge on Library Mall at 11am for a 5 mile slow roll, ending back at Library Mall by noon. Registrations will help fund the Bike Fed’s Safe Routes to Schools programming in Dane County. New and lightly used winter clothing for MMSD schools can be donated at the event. For more info, click here.

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. For construction updates, check out the city’s Bike Madison page.