Monday Update: Transpo Board, and a Happy July 4!

Midwestern summer is here in all its glory: Festivals, heat, humidity, mosquitoes, thunderstorms.

Let's start this newsletter with -- a plug for another newsletter: For the latest information on construction and detours that affect people on bikes in Madison straight from the source, check out the city's Bike Madison newsletter. The newsletter has been around for a long time, but since Renee Callaway was hired as Pedestrian and Bike Administrator, the newsletter has become much more active again. So if you want to know what's happening with the construction at First St, the Blair/Nolen/Williamson/Wilson intersection, or elsewhere, consider subscribing to Bike Madison: https://www.cityofmadison.com/bikeMadison/getInvolved/newsletter.cfm

A few quick reminders:

If you haven't done so, please help us make Madison Bike Week better by taking our short survey. We already have over 100 respondents, but it'd be great to get some more. Link to the survey: https://forms.gle/fgcXi6Rwh8NVCs1e8

And it's also not too late to support our Pinney Library Rack Raising campaign. Show your support for biking and our public libraries by contributing to our fundraiser. Our goal is to raise $1000 for the new Pinney Library, and we are over halfway there, with $505 raised. You can donate on Facebook or on our website. Thanks to everyone who has already made a contribution.

This (short) week

Mondays Around Monona are back! Join this social ride around Lake Monona with our former board member India. All genders welcome. Ride starts at 5:30pm at the intersection of the Cap City Trail and S. Fair Oaks Ave. Ride ends at Tex Tubb's Taco Palace (2009 Atwood Ave) Gather for food and/or drinks after the ride.

What a two-way protected bike lane may look like on Broom/Wilson

On Monday, the Transportation Policy and Planning Board (TPPB) is meeting. On their agenda:

The TPPB meeting is taking place at the City-County Building, Council Chambers, starting at 5 pm.

On Tuesday, the Madison Bikes Communications Committee has their regular meeting. Please email heather@madisonbikes.org if you're interested in attending.

Another edition of the weekly bike repair clinic at the Latino Workforce Academy is happening on Wednesday.Wheels for Winners, the Latino Academy, and the Bridge-Lakepoint-Waunona Neighborhood Center are offering free bike checks from 5-6:30pm

Clínicas de reparaciones básicas de bicicletas: Tienes una bicicleta que necesita reparacion basica? La Academia Latina y Wheels for Winners te pueden ayudar con la reparacion. Trae tu bicicleta los miercoles de mayo, junio, julio y agosto. Lugar: Academia Latina, 1917 Lake Point Dr.

And on Saturday, ride around Lake Monona with Cafe Domestique -- over and over and over again.

The Lake Monona 100 started as a joke. What’s the most ridiculous way we could spend the day riding our bikes? Where could we ride, for a hundred or so miles, but also have lots of stops for coffee, beer, snacks, swimming, parks, more beer, maybe stop at home for a nap, etc.? How about a bike ride where you’re never more than like 6 miles from a bike shop, and could take a taxi to said shop in case you got a flat tire?

Enter the Lake Monona 100. One hundred miles of bike riding on Madison’s most popular bike route. Or not a hundred miles. You choose how far you ride, where to stop, who to ride with.

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


Madison BCycle E-Bike – First Impressions

With fanfare, food and fun, MADISON BCycle, in cooperation with the City and Trek Bicycles, rolled out a brand-new fleet of about 300 electric-assist rental bikes on June 18. With this milestone, Madison became the first city in the U.S. to convert to a fully electric bike share system.

Billed by MADISON BCycle as “...taking you farther, faster,” the upgraded e-fleet is now operational. As someone who participated in the roll-out (and full disclosure, I received a free helmet and pizza as a bonus), it was exciting to be part of the ride around Capitol Square and initial delivery to the bike stations. Since then, I have had a chance to give the bikes and the system more of a work-out. Here are my impressions after a few days, more than 20 miles, and about half-a dozen rides.

Why You Should Trust Me

I have owned three different types of E-bikes over 10 years. In addition, I ride a regular road bike about a thousand miles annually. I was a light user of the old MADISON BCycle system. However, people of different sizes and expectations might feel differently about their own riding experience so don’t hesitate to climb aboard and discover for yourself what you like and don’t like about the new system.

Rental and Membership Costs

While a single use bike pass can be expensive, $5 for 30 minutes (more than a bus ride!), MADISON BCycle offers a $20 monthly pass and a $100 annual pass, both offering unlimited 60-minute rides. If you are part of the University or select other organizations, annual passes are as low as $30.

Finding an E-Bike

The new E-bike system is based entirely on the old system. If you were familiar with the old system everything remains in place. But these are not the same bikes. They can go further and faster and thus, ideally, the new system would be more spread out. While the Campus and the Isthmus are well covered, gaps that existed outside the core are even more obvious now that increased range and higher speeds make more extensive geographic coverage desirable.

It’s best to view the system as a work in progress. Hopefully, induced demand initiated by the new bikes will promote the establishment of more strategically located stations (park-and-ride anyone?) in more parts of the City and County. More and more people are going to find out that an eight-mile E-bike is a no-sweat pleasure and will wonder why so few stations and rentals are available to and from where they live, work and want to go. If these bikes prove popular, and I expect they will, adequate availability at peak times will be a challenge to initially achieve. Also, E-Bikes can currently be rented only by adults with a credit card. The lack of access for youth remains an issue. I also expect the bikes to go into hibernation in the fall.

Unlocking a Bike

Although payment and unlocking can be done via each station’s kiosk, the preferred method for pass members is the BCycle card, or even better, the BCycle app. The app is super easy to use, tells you where the stations and bikes are and unlocks your choice of bikes within a couple of seconds of your selection.

I did experience one glitch at Memorial Union, whereby one remaining E-bike wouldn’t release from the dock. A call to the help line (answered by a live person!) verified the glitch but could not successfully be unlocked. Hopefully this is an infrequent occurrence because it was frustrating to know a bike in good working order was there in front of me but unavailable. Fortunately, an alternative station a couple of blocks away, had several bikes. I also found the app would not display GPS routes of previous trips listed in the My Trips section. It is not a necessity to have trip history but for some it’s a nice perk. I assume that functionality will be fixed before long.

Another issue if you use the kiosk LCD screens to purchase a pass is the poor quality of the screens on at least some of the stations. They have not aged well and have become opaque. In bright sunlight they can be quite hard to read. It may be as simple a fix as changing covers, I am not sure, but it’s disappointing the rollout of the spanking new E-bikes was not accompanied by better maintenance of the old docking stations. Clearly, the app is the way to go. It makes finding and checking out a bike a snap. But for curious new users the kiosk display issues are a barrier.

[Madison BCycle sent the following note: "We are in the process of replacing the kiosk LCD screens and will be working on that this week. Unfortunately, all were not replaced by the launch."]

Speaking of old docking stations, the bikes are not currently charged while at the docking stations. I was told by BCycle support they can tell when a docked bike is out of power and dispatch a service visit to swap in a fresh battery, but I do not believe they know when a battery is merely low. Clearly, there are station costs and bike design issues preventing charging while docked. But the tradeoff is that bikes are often at partial charge levels and may need persistent attention if they are heavily used.

This brings up the range and assist level issues. The actual range of a fully charged E-bike depends on many factors such as battery size and age, ambient temperatures, terrain, weight of the rider, bike and cargo, speeds, and the level of electric assist (you have to pedal to get the assist in this so called “pedelec” system, there is no throttle). The system in use in Madison sets a fixed assist level at the highest level, called Turbo; maxing out at 17 MPH while most Bosch control systems I have used offer four modes of increasing assist levels. The system choice to fix the assist at the highest level offers the easiest and perhaps the simplest riding experience, but not the most flexible nor the most efficient as mileage per charge decreases greatly at the higher assist setting. The result is that all the bikes in the system will have less range and will need charging/battery swapping more often than bikes allowing user selection of assist level.

It also means that people who might like to get the greater exercise benefit from moderately lower assist levels are unable to do so unless they power off completely (which remains an option). Personally, I think users would be capable of quickly figuring out how best to use variable assist for different situations and I am disappointed at this “dumbing down”. Some inexperienced users, for example, may find the Turbo mode too powerful at lower gears and prefer a more gradual introduction. Experienced users might choose a lower assist level to extend range on a partially charged battery or to more easily stay even with a slower non-E-bike user. The point is choice and control have been taken away for the sake of ease of use with little evidence that people won’t quickly figure out the benefits of variable assist levels, if it were available.

Bike Design and Fit

These bikes are “one size fits all” and so they must accommodate people of all shapes and sizes. This presents design challenges and invariably some compromises. In general, I think the designers have done a very good job as they reportedly can fit riders from 5’ to 6’ 5”. The bikes are easy to mount and dismount. The seat posts have a great range of travel and are easily adjustable and lockable.

However, as a 5’10” male, I experienced two nagging issues that I think might be problems for many others as well. The first of these is the kickstand placement. For my US size 10 shoes (average for men), I found the clearance from my heel to the kickstand mount to be inadequate. Comfortable placement on the pedal would often result in my heel striking the kickstand mount with each pedal revolution. For those with even bigger feet this could be problematic.

The second nagging comfort issue was the rotational bell control on the left side of the handlebar. Close inspection reveals the bell control is slightly different in shape and materials than the shift control on the right as the former causes the thumb and pointer finger to rest heavily against a hard-plastic ring on the bell control. The gear shift rotator, on the right side of the handlebar, is flatter and softer and feels more comfortable when grasping and riding. Depending on hand size and how you grip the handle, your experience may vary.




The bikes are step through style and other than the new powered capability, look and ride like the old “red” bikes. In fact, since they weigh about the same as the old bikes, it is possible to leave the assist off and ride for shorter distances if one is so inclined (or you run out of battery charge!). The power assist works only when you pedal and below 18 MPH – no throttle here. Range will vary, but on a full charge 30 miles is about average and in line with my experience with other Bosch systems.





Power ON!

Powering up the bike requires one button push, marked with a sticker. The symbol on the sticker is somewhat confusing. Not a major issue, I just thought the main power button could have been colored red as the stickers can easily come off as they age.

I recommend users power up the bike they want before making your bike selection from the dock in order to see whether the battery status is adequate for the trip you have in mind. It is possible that a previously used bike could be down to 10-20% charge or less and thus unsuitable for an 8-mile ride. Unless you plan on finishing your ride on muscle power!

Getting Underway

There are three gears, 1-3. I found they selected easily and engaged quickly. Gearing up to speed occurs rapidly with the assist on level ground. A few seconds in each of the lower gears and I found myself cruising in third at about 15 MPH. An internal geared hub design and protected chain mean the likelihood of having to deal with a dirty chain or cranky derailleur is non-existent. Feel free to ride in your Sunday finest.

The bikes handled well. I felt in full control and was glad I had the dual roller brake system on a downhill 30 MPH test road run. At normal speeds, the feel was subjectively better than the old red bikes. There is no dedicated suspension dampening, but the bike itself seems well built for the paved and occasional light potholes and cracks in the commuter biking environment.

Safety

The built-in bell is a nice touch to make sure bikes and pedestrians know you are there. At “Turbo” assist level on even ground, I think people will be pedaling these bikes at around 12-15 MPH. Most road bikers can easily exceed this speed, but your average recreational cyclist will probably be moving a little slower, at around 8-12 MPH. So non-E-bike users should expect more people riding these bikes with them at these higher, but not unprecedented speeds. E-bike users should be courteous as you safely pass and control speeds to conditions and other users in their riding environment.

I won’t dwell much on the helmet issue. I understand clearly that bike share systems don’t work well when helmets are mandated. The benefits of increased riding and travel speeds of E-bikes must be balanced against injury risk. But I also understand that as a matter of biomechanics, with higher speeds, head injury risks will go up if you do crash. We accept other higher risks than that of biking short distances without a helmet in many other recreational and transport activities. At any rate, in Wisconsin it’s a personal choice. I prefer the added protection as often as possible. If you feel the same, remember to bring your own helmet with you. They are not available at the docking stations.

One important safety item that I felt was missing was a rear-view mirror. Experienced cyclists use them judiciously to locate oneself in the traffic stream and I was rather uncomfortable without one (where exactly is that bus behind me?!). Would less experienced riders use them and find them helpful? I suspect so and would like to see at least one mirror mounted on the left side (handlebar?) despite the design and maintenance challenges.

Final Thoughts

I am pleased Madison has made the leap to an all E-bike system. They are going to get used more by more people and will show many the inherent benefits of an E-bike sharing system. However, one of the biggest external drawbacks that does not change with the introduction of E-bikes is that the bikes are still ridden on Madison’s partial network of mixed used streets that contain minimal low-stress road links (i.e., few protected lanes). As nice a step up as the new E-bikes are, riders still must put up with sharing many routes with cars, trucks and buses. E-bikes alone will do very little to encourage many of the interested but concerned potential bike riders to now venture out on the roads. Yet, as the numbers of people using alternative mobility devices (including E-bikes, scooters, skates, wheelchairs, skateboards and other mobility devices of all types) continue to skyrocket, they will all be demanding safer routes. Madison, a leader in bike sharing and urban trails, is falling behind in responding to the numbers, safety and environmental justifications for more protected mobility lanes. Addressing this gap needs to be a priority for the City to ensure long-term success for its proud new E-bike sharing system.


Monday Update: Bike rack fundraiser, Vilas Park, Transpo Commission

Last Week

The entire fleet of BCycles were replaced with sleek new electric BCycles. If you're reading this you’ve probably already seen several being ridden around town. We'll have a review of the new bikes later this week.

Madison Bikes also launched a fundraising campaign for the new Pinney Library, and we hope to raise $1000 for the library and in the process have our organization’s name printed on one of the new bike racks going in there. You can read more about this effort on Madison Bikes' website page about the fundraiser, or Madison Bikes’ Facebook Fundraiser page. It looks like we are very close to our goal of $1000 and your contribution to this effort would be greatly appreciated.

 

This Week

 

Monday, June 24,

 

Bike Fitchburg is having their monthly meeting. The meeting starts at 6:30 PM at Fitchburg Public Library, 5530 Lacy Rd in Fitchburg.

 

Wednesday, June 26,

 

The Transportation Commission (TC) is meeting in Room 207 of the Madison Municipal Building at 215 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. at 5:00 PM. Topics on the agenda include funding for three battery packs for electric Metro buses, a discussion of topics for the August 2019 joint Transportation Policy and Planning Board and Transportation Commission meeting, and discussion of the annual work plan for the TC for 2019/2020. Read the full agenda here.

 

For people more interested in a movie, there will be a screening of Return to Earth, a film by Anthill Films and sponsored by Trek. Watch the trailer here. Return to Earth is a cinematic journey into the simple act of living completely in those moments by riding bikes. The screening will be at the Barrymore Theater at 2090 Atwood Ave. Doors open at 5:30 PM and the screening starts at 7:30 PM. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 day of. All proceeds benefit our local trails. Read more about this film on the Facebook events page.

At 6:00 PM there will be the first Public Information Meeting (PIM) on the Henry Vilas Park Master Plan. These Master Plans determine how the park will be used and developed in the next few decades, so input from interested members of the public is valuable to the city. This process provides a unique opportunity rethink how people access and use the park.  The meeting will take place at the Vilas Park Shelter, 1602 Vilas Park Drive. Read more about the master planning process on the City’s Parks Projects web page. The City has also put together a Facebook Events page for the meeting.

 

Saturday, June 29,

 

A Pride Ride will start at Cafe Domestique at 10 AM. The ride will be about 14 miles around the capitol and around Lake Monona. B-Cycle bikeshare bikes will be available to rent. Everyone is welcome to join the ride. Read more about the ride on their Facebook Events page.


It's Electric!

It's Electric! 

The electric BCycle bikes that were tested out last fall will be rolling out across all of Madison on Tuesday. 

Monday

BikeDane Meeting at Lussier Center at Lake Farm Park from 1 - 2:30pm. Meeting to discuss 2019 bicycle-related budget items and provide you with updates on projects under construction and new projects in the design and planning phase. Your continued participation and recommendations is crucial to helping us be a more bike-friendly community.

BCycle will be unavailable for the evening commute, and Tuesday morning commute, while the red bikes are swapped out for the new white ones.

Tuesday

BCycle goes all electric - The launch will occur from 11 am- 1 pm and include demos and remarks by Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway and Trek President John Burke.

Wednesday

The Madison Bikes Advocacy Committee will meet at 6:00 pm at Bendyworks, 106 E Doty St, 2nd floor. If you want to work on issues with the city and help shape our agenda, come on by. We can help you communicate effectively with your elected officials and city staff.

The Madison Area Transportation Planning Board is meeting in the Water Utility building (room A-B), 119 E. Olin Ave at 6:30 pm.

Thursday

Yeti Cycles Demo 4:00 – 7:00pm Come to Quarry Ridge to ride the newest offerings from Yeti.

Saturday

Join the Bombay Bicycle Club for the 2019 Madison Tour de Donut ride. Unlike a certain other very horrible hilly ride, the goal of the Tour de Donut is to eat as many delicious donuts over a mostly flat 25-mile ride in and around Madison. Sign up and pay, only online.

Prizes will be awarded for the most donuts eaten over the ride!!! Training Tip: don’t eat breakfast before you ride.

Meet on the west side of Westmorland Park (4114 Tokay Blvd, Madison) along Gately Terrace.

Join Revolution cycles for Swift Campout. Swift Campout is a global call to go bike-camping on June 22nd, 2019. For the fifth year in a row thousands of adventurous spirits will load camping gear on their bikes for a weekend adventure.

Here’s the scoop. We’re planning to roll out from the bike shop (2330 Atwood Ave) by 12pm Saturday, June 22nd, and riding 31 leisurely, no drop miles.

 


Bike Week is a wrap, but more work to do!

Bike Week is a wrap!

Wow. We can’t even begin to recap everything that happened. We got some great press coverage. The weather was fantastic last all week, and there were events all over Madison – and beyond – put on by many, many partners and venues. Even after the week started, people were sending us additional events, and we ended up with over 75 events on the calendar. You can see photos of all the fun on our Instagram account.

We wrapped up with a rockin’ party at Brittingham Park with music by DJ Robin Davies, tables from bike groups and nonprofits, food carts, Klarbrunn donated by Willy St Co-op, and beer donated by Hop Garden, Ale Asylum, Working Draft, Karben4, and Funk Factory.  

From Ride the Drive through all the commuter stations, Bacon on the Bike Path, Bratcakes, Cheddar-Bacon Waffles, and so many more, we would like to once again thank our sponsors: Trek/Bicycle, Unity Point Health/Meriter/UW Health, Pacific Cycle/Schwinn, Planet Bike, Slow Roll/Giant, MG&E, and the City of Madison. We also couldn't have done it without our volunteers and all the people who showed up. Whether you tried biking just once last week or it's a regular habit for you, thank you all!

The week ahead

We’re sort of glad to have a slow week coming up after all the fun and activity of Bike Week. But there are still important meetings happening that will shape our city and bike routes for years to come. Both the West Wilson/Broom project and the University Ave reconstruction are incredibly critical links in our bicycle network. Your input is important.

Wednesday

The Transportation Commission will meet at 5:00 pm in room 215 of the Madison Municipal Bldg. On the agenda is final approval of the W Wilson St–Broom Street project that we have written about in the past. On Wilson St, there will be buffered bike lanes from Broom to Hamilton, but buffered lanes will disappear at Hamilton to accommodate turning traffic. On Broom a multi-use path will be built in place of the east side sidewalk from John Nolen Dr to Wilson, and a cycle track will be built from Wilson to Doty.

Thursday

Public input session for the planned University Ave reconstruction in 2021 will be held at the UW Credit Union building at 3500 University Ave. The meeting will start at 6:00 pm, and there will be a presentation by City of Madison Engineering at 6:30 pm. The project will rebuild the road from Shorewood Blvd to University Bay Dr/Farley. This will be a project that could transform a major arterial for decades. Or it could be a business-as-usual rebuild of a dangerous and car-oriented roadway that separates neighborhoods and makes it unpleasant to walk, bike, or take the bus.

As part of this project, sidewalks will be constructed on the north side of University Ave and either an underpass or overpass of University Bay Dr will be built for the Campus Dr Path, we hope. Shorewood Hills will be constructing the last segment of the path – to the west of University Bay Dr – as soon as construction of the buildings currently underway on Marshall Ct are finished. With the improved crossing, this would allow connections to either path or quiet streets all the way to the west end of the Blackhawk Path at Eau Claire Ave.

Crossings of University Ave are difficult and often scary, even when there is a traffic light. A child was killed at the intersection of University Ave and Ridge a couple of years ago. He was trying to cross at a light to reach the Shorewood Hills pool, a favorite summer destination for families and kids on both sides of the road. A ghost bike was present at the intersection until construction started on a new building on the corner.

Although the road itself is wide, busy, and fast, the neighborhoods on both the north and south sides are generally transit-, walking-, and biking-friendly and many people move around without driving. But University Ave presents a serious barrier to this easy movement.

What I call “the hospitals, etc.” --  UW Hospital, the VA Hospital, and the American Family Hospital, plus all the associated clinics and labs, and offices – as well as the beginning of the entire UW campus are also on the north side of the road. These are huge employment centers, and many people who live on the south side or in the Village want to walk or bike there. There are crowds of transit users, pedestrians, and bicyclists that want to cross University Ave every day. Unfortunately, there are also huge crowds of people driving to these locations as well, making for tense and difficult interactions at the intersections.

On both the Madison side and the Village side, redevelopment is happening. That means both more walkable and bikeable destinations – stores, apartments, restaurants, and such – plus more people living in close proximity to this major road. University Ave is one of the heaviest transit corridors outside the campus and downtown, and more than a dozen bus routes use the stops. If bus rapid transit (BRT) is built, this will be an even heavier transit corridor. Each of those transit users needs to cross the road at least once a day. This road needs to be much more multi-modal.

This corridor is the perfect example of why we cannot forget the need to CROSS a road as well as move along it. There is a good bike corridor on the north side and the Kendall Ave bike boulevard to the south (although it is several blocks away and separated from University Ave by Quarry Park on the western end of the project), but people still need to cross the road to reach their homes, work, or other destinations. If you wait for a bus on the south side of University, you will often see bicyclists on the sidewalk. Riding on the sidewalk by adults is almost always a sign that there is an unmet need for bike facilities.

This will be an important meeting to show support for bicycle facilities and other transportation options in the area.

Saturday

The Clean Lakes Alliance will hold a fundraising ride around Lake Monona starting at 10 am at Olbrich Park. Find out more about Loop The Lake.


Biking with Steph: Why do you ride (and should come to our party tomorrow)

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!

Before we get started, a quick advertisement: Come to the big Madison Bikes Bike Week Party tomorrow (Friday) at Brittingham Park! We have beer from Working Draft Beer Company, The Hop Garden, Ale Asylum, Karben4 Brewing, and Funk Factory Geuzeria, non-alcoholic drinks from Klarbrunn and the Willy Street Co-op, food carts (Toast and Haynes Kitchen), a skills course for kids, the Spoke-N-Words mobile bike library, free bike checks, and tabling from local bike and other non-profits. Free and family friendly! 5-8 pm near the Brittingham Park Shelter. Bring the family, bring your co-workers, bring your friends, bring a stranger you met on the bike path!

 

While going for a stroll this morning, I saw a lot of bikers. Some were speedy in their hi-viz spandex kits, some were children donning backpacks, some were commuting with young children on cargo bikes. With all of the bike-related events during Madison Bike Week, everybody and their mother (and their mayor...) seems to be biking.

(City of Madison Bike Ride)

Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway and our board member Liz at the Madison Bike Week press conference on Monday


Needless to say, there are a bunch of reasons to bike and everybody has a primary reason for biking. It’s good exercise, it’s (pretty) cheap, it’s better for the environment than driving, it’s better to ‘drink and bike’ than to ‘drink and drive’, and so much more.

Why do I bike?

More than any of the previously mentioned reasons, biking is good for my mental health. I have had bouts of depression and I simply cannot recall one time when I didn’t feel better about life after a bike ride. Ever since I was a child, biking has provided me with a conduit for serenity and/or repreive. While some perceive biking to be a luxury for the weekends or “when time allows”, I endorse the notion of biking (or kayak, running, hiking, etc.) as a daily necessity to be a better human.

In a couple of days, I will move from my home in Madison to Washington, D.C. and woo wee, I am equal parts stressed and thrilled. I have sold, stored, or disposed of most of my possessions to make this initial move as easy a possible. So, when move day comes, I will have my most essential items- clothing, toiletries, athletic gear, and my two bikes strapped to the outside of my car. Knowing that I can jump on my bike at the end of the day, no matter where I am, brings me great comfort. Living next to a 20-mile long recreation/bike trail will be a major bonus too.

Anyway, I hope to see you all at more Bike Week events! Don’t forget, the Madison Bikes Bike Week Party is coming up! It is this Friday from 5pm- 8pm at Brittingham Park and is open to the whole family!

See ya around! Tailwinds!

P.S.: Not convinced that biking cures what ails ya? Watch this video regarding mountain biking and its impacts on mental health.


Madison Bike Week is here!

Madison Bike Week has started! We're excited to be organizing Madison Bike Week for the first time, and we're proud to present a roster of over 75 events! A big thank you to our board members, sponsors, volunteers, and partners who have made this happen!

With that many events, I won't recount all of them here, but there are a number of ways to stay up to date:

That should set you up for a successful Madison Bike Week! I do want to highlight the events that Madison Bikes is organizing or co-hosting during the week. (We won't be publishing our regular Monday Update this week.)

Madison Bikes at Ride the Drive (Sunday)

We're excited to be teaming up with Wheels for Winners for a booth at Ride the Drive. Find us at Olin Park between 11 and 3 and get a free bike check. We'll also be roaming the event, handing out fliers -- look out for the tall bike!

City of Madison Ride (Monday)

The City of Madison has been a great partner in organizing Madison Bike Week. On Monday morning, you have the opportunity to ride with your elected officials including our mayor, Satya Rhodes-Conway! City staff such as our Director of Transportation Tom Lynch will also be on the ride. There will be two starting locations:

Meet at one of these spots starting at 7:15 am, mingle, enjoy coffee and treats. From there, we will roll out at around 7:45 am and converge at the City-County Building for a press conference at 8:30 am. Facebook event

Movie Screening: Afghan Cycles (Monday)

On Monday evening come to the Memorial Union for a free movie screening, presented by UW Transportation Services, JUST Bikes, the City of Madison and Madison Bikes. Afghan Cycles is a feature documentary about a generation of Afghan women who are pedaling their own revolution, aggressively challenging gender and cultural barriers using the bicycle as a vehicle for freedom, empowerment and social change.

Watch the trailer here!

Fetch the Keg Ride (Thursday)

The Hop Garden is one of our beer sponsors for the Madison Bikes Bike Week Party on Friday! But how are we going to get the keg from Paoli to Brittingham Park?? You guessed right: By bike! Meet me at Crazylegs Plaza for a 6:00pm (sharp) departure. We’ll ride the SW Path and Badger State Trail to the Hop Garden and after a beer break return the same way. Rain or shine. Distance is about 27 miles. No drop. Route is all on off-street paths except for the last section, which is on shoulderless country roads with low to moderate traffic. And no, you don't have to haul the trailer.

Madison Bikes Bike Week Party (Friday)

Join us at Brittingham Park for a big party! We'll have food carts, free beer courtesy sponsored by local breweries, the Spoke-N-Words mobile bike library, a skills course, bike checks, and tabling from many local non-profits. And DJ Robin Davies will be spinning eclectic tunes. Free and family friendly. Facebook event

Free rides from Madison BCycle (all week)

Not only is Madison BCycle a sponsor of Madison Bike Week. They're also offering free 30-minute rides all week! Just enter code 060119 at any of the 45 kiosks around town or in-app check out. Download the app to find a bike and station near you.

 

Madison Bike Week is made possible by the generous financial support from

Additional financial support comes from


Biking with Steph: Where My Ladies At?

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!

Biking has been everything to me—it is my form of advocacy, a source of physical and mental health, a way to make true friendships. With my impending move to Washington, D.C. looming ever closer, I knew that I needed to find a new bike community and ASAP. With cyclocross season approaching, I was curious to learn more about DC’s cyclocross and stumbled upon the DCCX team photo.

Immediately, my stomach sank.

Where were the women?! This befuddlement led to me thinking about Madison’s women/trans*/femme friendly bike culture. Specifically, two events this week made me feel appreciative for the ways Madison groups and businesses have gone above and beyond to make women feel included in the bike community- my ride with Spoke Haven and getting my bike repaired at Revolution Cycles.

Tuesday rides with Spoke Haven

(Yes, mom, I did buckle my helmet.)

 

On Tuesday night, I joined the charismatic ladies of Spoke Haven for an evening ride through Madison’s northside.This women-only bike group meets every Tuesday for a 13- and 23-mile social ride in the summer starting at the Olbrich Biergarten and concluding with some post-ride ‘rehydration’ (and tacos on the first Tuesday of the month). I felt welcomed right away and looked forward to grabbing beers at the biergarten after the 23-mile ride. Sadly, after about 4 miles from the start, I realized my shifter wasn’t working at all. So, the whole bike group had to pull over as I tried to ‘MacGyver’ my shifter back to working order. No success. So, in a comically low gear, I biked to Revolution Cycles to have my bike repaired.

Revolution Cycles Club Women/Trans*/Femme Cyclocross Scholarship

(The owner, Jeff, at Revolution Cycles and my newly repaired bike. Oh, and me.)

The Revolution Cycles bike shop has gone out of their way to make me feel welcome, to educate me on how to care for my bike and how to perform basic repairs. As such, I give them all of my bike-related business. When I dropped off my bike this week to have the shifter fixed, I received the same great customer service.

This shop will always be thought of with great fondness. My life was changed when I received a scholarship from Revolution Cycles to compete in cyclocross. Due to the sport’s substantial upfront costs, I know I would not have made the decision to compete in ‘cross if it wasn’t for this scholarship. Their scholarship is just another extension of their advocacy work to smooth the way for a more gender-equitable bike community in Madison. If you are a 18+ years old, a woman/trans*/femme and are interested in applying for the Rev Cycles cyclocross scholarship, apply here: https://forms.gle/rM7eL1DS14kfsUro6. Applications are due by June 15th!

With Madison Bike Week starting on Sunday, June 1(!!!), both Spoke Haven and Revolution Cycles will be hosting events throughout the week. Spoke Haven will host two events- their Tuesday night group ride (June 4th) and a morning ride with breakfast (June 5th). Revolution Cycles will host a bike station in the morning from Monday through Friday on Capital City Trail, by the Jackson St Plaza. See the Madison Bikes webpage for more details and other top notch bike week events and discounts!

While I know that Washington, D.C. has women- and LGBT-centered bike groups, I will always appreciate the standard that Madison has set for inclusiveness. In part, I have developed into the cyclist that I am because I was a part of a bike community that doesn’t settle.

Anyway, I can’t wait to participate in Madison Bike Week and I hope to see you all out there for the various bike events! Tailwinds!

PS: Recently, I stumbled upon this great blog for women cyclists, in which I wanted to read ALL of their articles. I bet you will glean a thing or two from it, regardless of your gender!

 


Weekly Update: Madison Bike Week (almost) here



Madison Bike Week starts this Saturday! To see a complete list of events visit https://www.madisonbikes.org/bikeweek

 

Construction Updates

 

Capital City Path Resurfacing – Starting June 3, a portion of the Capital City Trail between Jackson Street and Marquette Street will be closed for resurfacing project. The resurfacing will take place in two phases. Phase 1 will resurface the path from Jackson Street to just west of the S Marquette Street cul de sac. Phase 2 will resurface the path that connects the main Capital City Path with Wirth Court Park. A marked detour will be available to path users along St. Paul Ave, Waubesa St., and Wirth Court Park. Since this construction is expected to begin during Bike Week, any bike week events planned along the path will be relocated to a nearby location, most likely to St. Paul Ave.

E Johnson St. - Work continues in the Phase 2 configuration. During this phase of construction, the path on the south side of Johnson Street will remain open, and pedestrian and bicycle access to and from Fordem will be maintained. See the Phase 2A and 2B access plan for details.

 

Williamson/Wilson St. - Work is continuing throughout the project area and the Capital City Path north of Williamson and the crossing on the east side of Blair will remain closed. Bicycle traffic using the Capital City Path will continue to be detoured along Williamson Street to Jenifer Street and back to the path via Paterson.

 

This Week

 

Monday, May 27,

 

Today is the last day Short Stack Eatery is having their Bike to Brunch Week for this year. They are open from 8 AM to 2 PM. For people biking in you will get FREE Kickapoo Coffee, a FREE Bike Bingo card, and you will get 2x the regular Bicycle Benefits sticker value, which for them makes it a 20% off your bill discount for the Bicycle Benefits sticker on your helmet. You can read more about what they’ve got going on at their Facebook Event page.

 

Bike Fitchburg is having their monthly meeting. The meeting starts at 6:30 PM at Fitchburg Public Library, 5530 Lacy Rd in Fitchburg.

 

Saturday, June 1,

Bike Week is here! Madison Bike Week starts this Saturday, and off the bat there are several events.

In celebration of National Trails Day, the Wisconsin DNR is opening up the state trails for the weekend and allowing people to ride them without the need for a trail pass. That’s right, for June 1 and 2, no trail passes will be required for riding Wisconsin State Trails!

The Cargo Bike Shop is hosting the second of their Family Bike Camping outings, this time from their shop on Williamson St. to Brigham County Park by Mount Horeb. The ride is roughly 30 miles and entirely on trails. Read more about their outing at their Facebook Events page.

From 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM, the Madison West/Verona/Memorial/Blackhawk Composite Mountain Bike Team is sponsoring a girls-only day to try out mountain biking and ride with other girls at the amazing Blackhawk trails in Middleton. Free demo mountain bikes will be provided by local retailers if you do not have a trail-ready mountain bike you can bring with you. The event is open to girls entering 6th through 12th grade and their parents.

More info and registration can be found by following this hyperlink.

 

From 4:00 PM to 7:30 PM Capital Brewery in Middleton will be hosting Reap Food Group’s Burgers & Brew 2019. Burgers & Brew features Dane County’s most popular chefs paired up with Wisconsin’s talented brewers and farmers to serve unique, locally sourced burgers and satisfying Wisconsin craft brews. One free beer pour for attending cyclists wearing helmets, and for participants of their smoothie blender bikes! General Admission tickets start at $40 and are available at Reap Food Group’s website: http://reapfoodgroup.org/burgers-brew/

 

Also from 4:00 PM to 7:30 PM, Madtown BMX is hosting the Olympic Day Single. Registration is from 4 to 5 PM, and the race starts at 5. There is no cost to register in celebration of Olympic Day.

Sunday, June 2,

Ride the Drive is Sunday form 11 AM to 3 PM, which means John Nolen Drive and North Shore Drive will be partly closed to allow members of the public the opportunity to bike on these roads free of traffic. This is the 11th annual Ride the Drive and there will be events at Brittingham Park, Olin Park and Law Park. Hope to see you there!

Earlier in the day, Bombay Bicycle Club is having their Martinsville Meander Ride. The group will depart from Lakeview Park at 9 AM for a 33 or 62 mile ride. This ride is expected to last until about 1 PM.

Monday, June 3,

Several Madison Bike Week events will take place next Monday before the next Weekly Update is scheduled to be released, be sure to check https://www.madisonbikes.org/bikeweek for a complete list of morning bike stations.

 

One highlight will be the City of Madison Bike Station and City of Madison Ride. Join Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway, Common Council members, and city staff on a ride from either Tenney Park or Crazylegs Plaza to the City’s Bike Station at the Madison Municipal Building on Martin Luther King Blvd. Meet at the bike stations at Tenney or Crazylegs starting at 7:15 and then roll out at 7:45 AM toward the Capitol Square. At 8:30 we will have a press conference at the City County Building! Hope you can join us.


Biking with Steph: Madison Bike Week: 100% Awesome

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!

This week, I decided to hop on the bike and head east toward the Glacial Drumlin State Trail trailhead. From my home, the ride was about 45 minutes long and roughly 12 miles away. If you’d like, you can use this trail to get to places like Trek Headquarters, Tyranena Brewing Company, and Aztalan State Park. The State Trail’s termini are in Cottage Grove and Waukesha for a total of 52 miles of crushed stone goodness. Day or annual passes are required to bike on this trail.

Unlike my rides out west, biking to the trailhead in Cottage Grove did not involve unadulterated joy. On the positive side, I biked by a farm filled with frolicking ponies.

(OMG, ponies!)



On the negative side, nasty headwinds, bone-jarring road conditions, and sparse bike-friendly road infrastructure proved to be very challenging. Likewise, I was disappointed to see the water fountain was shut off and that the restrooms were still closed. Last time I heard, plans are in motion to create a connecting trail between Madison and the Cottage Grove trailhead.

(Note to self: Bring water, foo.)



While my ride to the Glacial Drumlin State Trail was not 100% awesome, do you know what is 100% awesome!? Madison Bike Week 2019!

Hopefully, you have seen our flyers posted around town, visited the Bike Week webpage, and are ‘Interested’ in the numerous events posted on our Facebook page. If not, here’s the scoop: Madison Bike Week is an annual event being held from June 1st to June 8th and is chock-full of free events, food, and giveaways provided by local business throughout Dane County. One of the most popular Bike Week events will be the BratCakes on the Bike Path provided by Saris and Madison Bikes on June 5th. Also, be sure to stop by our family-friendly Madison Bikes Party at Brittingham Park on June 7th! We hope to make this the most bikey week of all the weeks, so come on out and enjoy the festivities!

 

Hope to see you all out there! Tailwinds!

 

PS: Craving yet more bike-related goodness?! Check out this hilarious video of professional street trials and mountain biker, Danny MacAskill, taking his 'kid' on a ride through the Scottish countryside.



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