In The News

2 Wisconsin bicyclists share tips for riding in cold, snowy winter months

Robbie Webber of Madison and Laura Hrubes of Viroqua offer guidance on clothing, equipment and more

By Joel Patenaude


  • Friday, January 27, 2023, 8:15am
Newsletter Weekly Update

How do you bike in the snow?

Lone winter bicyclist on the SW Path Credit: Harald Kliems

How are you handling the snow?

In the last couple of days we all got to test our dedication to winter biking, and specifically biking in the snow. While some were thrilled to see how their skills on fat bikes, studded tires, or even the “skinny tires cut through the snow” theory played with the snow, others opted for jumping on the bus or walking through the white stuff. 

Whichever strategy you chose – and there is no right answer – be careful out there. With the temperatures dropping and plowing only partially down to bare pavement, it is both slippery and a mixed bag of surfaces. Even some of the main roads were snow-covered on Sunday afternoon (when I was forced to drive across town to a location with no bus service and no good bike route option.) Remember that salt doesn’t really work below about 15 degrees, so the streets are going to remain dicey for a few days.

Weigh in on the Lake Monona Waterfront Design Challenge
One vision for a new Monona waterfront. Credit: James Corner Field Operations

This past Thursday the three finalist teams for the Lake Monona Waterfront Design Challenge presented their ideas for what the lakefront could become from Machinery Row to Olin Park. All three designs featured improved and expanded bicycling paths and separation of pedestrians from through bicyclists. Traffic calming and/or reducing the size of John Nolen Drive was also a prominent theme. 

I would say that all the designs were ambitious, and whether the designs will be implemented, or which portions we will see in the future, is still very much up in the air. Our Facebook Community had a lot to say about the designs. But remember that commenting on the official project website is the only way that your opinions will be recorded. 

If you missed the presentations, you can view the recordings and check out the slides on the city website linked above. That’s also where you submit comments, questions, and concerns. 

The week ahead

It’s a pretty sleepy week for city meetings, but one that stands out as important is a public meeting on Tuesday, Jan 31, to discuss the reconstruction of Dempsey Rd and Davies St between Cottage Grove Rd and Buckeye. As this is part of the Lake Monona Loop, the city plans to make it more friendly to all ages and abilities.

 “After previous public meetings and receiving significant public input, City Staff recommends a proposed design that includes a 26-ft wide street (two, 11-ft lanes with 2-ft gutters), a 10-ft wide shared-use path on the westerly-side of the road, and a 5-ft sidewalk on the easterly-side. The shared-use path will continue the path on the northerly-side of Cottage Grove and provide an all ages & abilities bike route along the popular Lake (Monona) Loop Route.”

More information on the project and a link to register for the Zoom meeting can be found here.

Mark your calendars or submit comments

Winter Bike Day

Winter Bike Day is February 10. We will have more details soon, but expect to see AM coffee stops and happy hour gatherings after work. 

Name the snow plows

You still have time to name the snow plows used on Madison streets, including the little guy that plows the paths we all love. 

West Area Plan

The city is starting to hold meetings on the West Area plan that will determine land use, transportation, parks and open space, and basically how the area will look and operate in the future. This covers from Midvale in the east and Lake Mendota in the north to the Beltline on the west and south. There will be in-person meetings on Feb. 6, 9, and 13 to start the discussion. All three meetings will have the same content, and they will also be virtual options on the same dates. Registration for the virtual meetings and details of the times and locations for in-person at the above link.

West Area planning boundaries

What would you like to see for this area? Where are there missing links? What should change or stay the same? You can also submit comments at the link above. 

Sycamore Park

If mountain biking is your thing, you may be interested in this posting from the Capital Off-Road Pathfinders regarding plans for Sycamore Park

“As many of you know, CORP helped install temporary trails at Madison’s Sycamore Park last fall.  Parks is now working on a new master plan for Sycamore Park; if you believe permanent trails should be a part of the park, please make a point to attend one of the upcoming virtual public meetings [on Feb 27 and March 30.]”

Details on how to attend the meetings can be found at the link above.

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.

In The News

Channel 3000: Holiday Festival in Lights offers special experience for pedestrians, bicyclists

Cars made way for cyclists at the Holiday Fantasy in Lights at Olin Park on Monday, giving those on foot or two wheels one last chance to see the display for the season. […] Everyone loves (the) Holiday Fantasy in Lights, but if you’re not in a car it’s kind of like, you can go through on your bike, you can walk through, but you have to weave through the cars,” Kliems said, “so we thought it’d be great to have one day to take your time walk through, take your stroller, bike through.”
In The News

WPR: Bike Riding through Wisconsin Winters

Our board member Robbie Webber shares insights on how to keep riding year round on the WPR Morning Show.

Newsletter Weekly Update

Safe Streets; Waterfront Designs; Save the Date for Winter Bike Day

Cyclists of Madison has a new virtual home on Mastodon. Follow us there:

Safe Streets Madison

The Transportation Commission will meet on Wednesday, and the Safe Streets Madison program is on the agenda. As a reminder: Safe Streets Madison was created last year to combine a number of smaller funding pots and use them more effectively. With a data-driven approach, projects are prioritized based on their safety benefits and to close gaps in the biking and walking network, as well as their cost. City staff twice a year create a list of top-scoring projects and then bring that to the Transportation Commission for approval. You can find the first batch of proposed projects, totaling over $600,000, here.

Bike Fitchburg meeting

Bike Fitchburg switched up their monthly meeting format. Each month they will meet at a different bike-friendly business in the city on the 4th Monday. Tonight it is at Race Day Events/Griessmeyer Law on Sub-Zero Parkway. Meeting starts at 7 pm.

Lake Monona Waterfront Design Challenge

Screenshot of our board member Aaron Levine’s presentation to the ad hoc committee

The process to create a new master plan for the Lake Monona waterfront between Machinery Row and Olin Park is moving along: The three design teams will present their final proposals at the Central Library on Thursday. The meeting is in person, but it will also be streamed live on City Channel. After the public has provided input on the proposals, an ad-hoc committee will pick one proposal and send it to the Board of Parks Commissioners and the Common Council for approval. Back in December, Madison Bikes presented our priorities and concerns to the ad-hoc committee. You can watch a recording of our presentation here.

International Winter Bike Day: February 10

Save the date: Like every year, Madison Bikes will celebrate International Winter Bike Anywhere Day in early February. This year the day falls on a Friday, and we’re exploring some after-work celebration options. More details to come, here and on Facebook.

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

MLK Day, Advocacy Wins, Bike Swap

Photo: Winter rider in the city (Cyclists of Madison Twitter)

Last Week

A member of our Madison Bikes Community Facebook group notched a win against the hairball intersection, and we are all grateful. She noticed the John Nolen Dr. crossing connecting the new E. Wilson path to the Cap City (along Willy) forced her to pause on an island in the new intersection, instead of smoothly crossing in one green light. She reached out to her alder and city staff explaining why crossing in one light cycle is much preferred to waiting for two lights, and the city realigned the timing to allow the quick crossing! Of course, the city is used to doing this kind of update in response to feedback. All of us users of bike infrastructure can be great resources for identifying and fixing problems. If you’re having a similar issue with light timing, snow, potholes, or other hazards impacting your bike route, you can use the city report a problem tool to let the city know. Reaching out to your alder and any elected officials representing you with your bike safety and access concerns is a great way to ensure your needs remain visible. Consistent local advocacy is essential to advancing our mission at Madison Bikes, and we commend anyone who gets involved. We plan on hosting a bike advocacy training event this year, details will be shared with you on this blog and on our social media.

This Week

Monday: It’s looking like cold rain on MLK Day. Don your rain gear and head to the Capitol Rotunda at noon for Wisconsin’s 42nd annual Tribute and Ceremony. At 5:45pm, you can also ride to the Overture Center for Madison and Dane County’s 38th annual MLK Day Observance.

Saturday: The annual Brazen Dropouts Bike Swap will be at the Alliant Energy Center from 9am-1pm. See link for details.

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

Winter Biking

Madison Bikes President Harald Kliems rides his bike at the Car-Free Holiday Fantasy in Lights in Olin Park on Monday. Credit: Ilana Bar-av for The Cap Times.

Last Week

Monday was the Car-Free Holiday Fantasy in Lights event. The event drew a fairly strong crowd of over 330 people. Given that the event was 3.5 hours long, that averages to about 100 people per hour. The event even drew media attention with this article in The Cap Times. A few videos were also posted to the Madison Bikes Community page by MB Board Member Robbie Webber and our YouTube channel

On Friday, Wisconsin Public Radio had a segment of The Morning Show dedicated to the topic of biking in the winter. Robbie Webber joined to share the perspective of a winter commuter, and Viroqua-area adventure cyclist Laura Hrubes joined to share the perspective of someone who rides more recreationally. You can listen to the segment here.

The WI DNR also had a feature on Winter Biking in their online newsletter, Out WI Go. There’s some advice on what to wear and where to ride, pointing out that Wisconsin State Trails are open for winter biking activities. Read the newsletter here.

This Week

Madison’s Transportation Commission meets at 5:00 PM Wednesday. There are not really any bike-specific items on the agenda, but for people interested in non-car transportation, there are items related to Madison Metro and taxi services in Madison.

At 6:00 PM Wednesday, there’s the monthly Madison Queer Bike Ride. It’s a group ride that occurs the second Wednesday of every month at 6:00 PM. Find more information on their Instagram @madisonqueerbikeride

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

Autumn Ridge Path; Holiday Lights Event

From the Archives: Cyclists enjoying Holiday Fantasy in Lights 2019 (image: Mark Renner)

This Week

On Monday between 4:30pm and 8pm join us to experience the Holiday Fantasy in Lights at Olin Park without cars! The weather’s looking pretty nice, all things considered, and we’ll have volunteers around helping guide your experience.

If you’re feeling social, drop by the Sheraton from 4pm-5pm for a pre-lights party (hot chocolate, snacks, swag) and then enjoy a nice, relaxed group ride through the lights at around 5pm.

On Wednesday at 6:30pm, the Greater Madison MPO Policy Board meets virtually. Check out the meeting agenda and other details.

Last Week

The city announced that it received federal funding for the Autumn Ridge Path, which amongst other things, provides a crucial connection across Highway 30 on the east side. Expect the final planning work to be completed this year (which, incidentally is 2023, Happy New Year to all) with construction in 2024.

Autumn Ridge Path Plan (image: City of Madison)

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.