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.


Weekly update, now with less Monday

Photo Credit: Jeff Steele

Photo Credit: Jeff Steele

 

Happy Tuesday everyone. Sorry for the delay, please enjoy your weekly update. 

The Week Ahead

Tuesday

Bombay Bicycle Club Ride & Social at Lakeside St. Coffee House

All are welcome to join BBC for their first Ride & Social on Tuesday, May 21! This will be a great opportunity for members to socialize as well as to introduce non-members to Bombay. They will share club info, ride experiences/plans and be available to answer questions post ride.

Show up at 5:45, quick briefing then roll at 6:00pm from Lakeside St. Coffee House (402 W. Lakeside St., Madison, WI). They'll take the Capital City Trail south then transition to road toward Lake Kegonsa (purchase a trail pass prior to ride). This is a casual paced ride (approx. 25 miles). It's an out and back - you choose your distance by turning around at any time.

Riders should be returning around 7pm.

 

Wednesday

 

Transportation Commission will meet from 5:00 – 7:00 pm at 215 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd Room 207, Madison Municipal Building. There will be updates on BCycle, and Madison Metro.



Bike to Brunch Week Starts
Ride your bike to Short Stack May 22-27 and receive the following stuff: FREE Kickapoo Coffee, FREE Madison Bike Bingo Card, name entered into raffle to win great raffle prizes, x2 Bicycle Benefits Madison (20% off your bill with BB sticker on your helmet).

There is a bunch of other great stuff happening, so check out their Facebook event
https://www.facebook.com/events/355524975092209/



Pop-Up Bike Bar

Short Stack is partnering with Wheels for Winners again this year for a Pop-Up Bike Bar from 4:30 pm - 7 pm. Volunteer mechanics will be offering FREE safety checks and tune-ups for riders OUTSIDE of Short Stack Eatery! Meanwhile...there will be cold beer and mini sweet & savory pies for sale INSIDE!

There will also be FREE Madison Bike Bingo cards for attendees!  

 

Friday

Bike Your Brat to Work

We will gather at the Southwest Bike Path Beltline Bridge at 5 AM. We will take a moderately paced ride through Madison (Route to be posted) ending at Brat Fest grounds at 6 AM. Thanks again this year to Saris, they will be providing two free brats to the first 200 bike riders. After stuffing our backpacks with brats, we try to pose for a group picture. Then everyone leaves on their own path.

Sunday

Cargo Bike Shop Social Ride
Join us for the weekly social roll on the Lake Monona Loop.  You'll make friends, enjoy the lake views, and finish off at a local establishment for drinks, and more socializing.  Feel free to pack a post ride snack. All People & Bikes are welcome. This is a No Drop Ride which means we ride as a group and take care of each other along the way.
Meet at the shop between 5-5:30 pm for a casual Meet and Greet. Ride Starts at 5:30 pm.
(Riders under 18 must be accompanied by an adult)

 

 


Biking with Steph: Loop de Loop

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!

Please note that our weekly update will be a day late and published on Tuesday. Apologies for the inconvenience.

As I stated in an earlier blog, one of my favorite things about living in the near east side of Madison is its proximity to the Lake Monona's Lake Loop.




I have ran or rode my bike on this loop dozens of times, sometimes more than once a day. It is a great distance (roughly 12 miles), has some nice hills, involves scenic views, and runs right next to an ice cream and bait shop.

(Monona Bait & Ice Cream)

 

Today, I biked the Lake Loop, after making a pitstop at the UW Arboretum, and paid extra attention to the wonderful attributes of the route. I really liked that the majority of the loop involves bike lanes or paths, with much of the remainder of the loop located on calm, residential streets. There are a handful of parks that the route runs next to, in case I wanted to stop and grab a drink of water or to take in the view. Today, I decided to stop at Schluter Park, right across from Monona Bait and Ice Cream. The park has newly built facilities, a shelter and a nice bike repair station. I even saw that Schluter Park is incorporating a Pop-Up Biergarten starting this week!

Wanna ride the Lake Loop? On June 6th, you can join the ladies of Spoke Haven to ride the loop before heading off to work as a part of Madison Bike Week. They will ride a casual Lake Loop stopping at commuter stations along the way. They will meet at Olin Park’s south parking lot at 7am sharp for the ride, followed by bratcakes! Also, The Cargo Bike Shop has a weekly Lake Loop ride on Sunday nights, starting outside their storefront. Finally, if you are interested in riding the loop for a good cause, the Clean Lakes Alliance is holding their annual “Loop the Lake Bike Ride” on June 15th. Event proceeds support their work to protect and improve our lakes in the Yahara Watershed.

Okay, that’s all from me! Tailwinds!

PS: Getting excited about Madison Bike Week yet!? Check out the lengthy lineup of activities that will be held from June 1st- 8th. If you are able to volunteer for the event, please consider signing up!


Busy week ahead!

This past week

We held a Volunteer Open House at Cafe Domestique. Although our immediate goal was to get people to put up Bike Week posters and hand out fliers, we also wanted a chance to meet some of the great people that have been supporting us and posting in our Facebook discussion. If you would like to help with any of our work, head over to our webpage and fill out the volunteer form. And thanks to everyone who came by, and thanks in advance for everyone who helps out in the future!

We also received a request from Open Doors for Refuges for any used bikes you might have. They help with resettlement in Madison and do wonderful work with people who may come to our community with nothing. They emailed us, "Transportation is almost always an issue for the folks who arrive here.... We’ve provided bikes to a lot of folks, but we’re short on bikes now and we’ve had recent requests for several more. If you have a used kids or adult bike that you're actually no longer using and that’s in reasonably good condition, we’d love to find a great home for it. If you so, please write to OpenDoorsDonations@gmail.com."


The week ahead

Although Wisconsin celebrates Bike Week in June -- and make sure to visit our Madison Bike Week page to see the evolving list of events -- May is Bike Month, and this week is Bike Week in much of the country. So don’t be surprised to see some events being promoted, such as the commuter station on Wednesday below. We just need a little extra time to warm up in Wisconsin, whereas it’s already blazing hot in Arizona. They’d rather have Bike Week in February.

It’s going to be a busy week for city meetings and topics of interest to bicyclists.

Monday

The Madison Bikes Events and Communications Committees will have a joint meeting at 6:00 pm at Bendy Works -- 106 E Doty St, 2nd floor -- to plan for Bike Week. If you would like to help plan the event or are willing to volunteer to get the word out, come by. All Madison Bikes committees and meetings are open to all.

Also on Monday is the Transportation Planning and Policy Board meeting, Room 201 of the City-County Building at 6:30 pm. On the agenda will be further discussion of the winter maintenance policy, something Madison Bikes has been working on since its founding. The TPPB will also receive a presentation about the concepts of Modal Hierarchy and Street Typology. Modal Hierarchy is the idea that a city decides which mode of travel to prioritize in its transportation planning and policy. Street Typology means that certain streets prioritize one mode over another. You can view the presentation materials online, attend the meeting, or watch the meeting streaming.

Tuesday

The Madison Common Council will receive a presentation on the Transportation Improvement Plan as part of its regular agenda. This presentation will detail all the projects coming up in the next five years, including pedestrian-bicycle infrastructure. These projects will be budgeted during the cty process in November. You can attend in person at 6:30 pm in Room 201 of the City-County Building or watch it streaming.

Also Tuesday, the city will hold its second public meeting about Bus Rapid Transit, 6:00-7:30 pm at the Madison Senior Center, 330 West Mifflin Street. An integrated transportation system is important for bicyclists, and good transit as an alternative to driving may convince more people to try biking for trips. Being able to take transit when the weather or circumstances don't favor biking makes it easier to break the driving habit and bike at other times. In addition, the city will have to decide how to integrate (or maybe trade off) infrastructure on some roads between bicycling and BRT.

There is a survey online that you can fill out to express what is important to you for stations, service, modal hierarchy (see, that’s coming up again), and BRT vehicle type.

Wednesday

Pacific Cycles will host a commuter station in front of their headquarters in honor of National Bike Week. You can find them on Hamersley Rd where the SW Path crosses the Beltline. Just look west on the south side of the bridge. Come by for coffee and pasties from 7:00-9:00 am

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.

First Annual Sun Prairie Ride of Silence will be held at 6:30 pm at Prairie Athletic Club, 1010 N Bird St.  The Ride of Silence is a national event honoring those that have been injured or who have died in biking accidents.  Riders are to all wear white for the ride. The ride is 8-12 miles at an average pace of 12 mph, and will be in silence. This year the ride honors and remembers Sun Prairie resident Annie Rubens who was killed in a biking accident last summer.  Join the grooup after the ride for conversation, food and refreshments at Prairie Athletic Club's restaurant/bar/coffee bar.

The Metropolitan Planning Organization meeting for May will meet at 6:30 pm at the Water Utility offices, 119 E. Olin Avenue, Conference Rooms A-B. Nothing directly bike-related on the agenda, but it you’d like to see what the regional transportation planning board is talking about, you can check it out.

Thursday

Middleton Good Neighbor Social Ride, 5:30-9:00 pm starting at Long Table, 7545 Hubbard Ave, Middleton.

Intro to Bikepacking, 6:30 pm at the Cargo Bike Shop, 1404 Williamson St. Join Bell Joy Ride leaders Sheenu and Sue Ellen for an introduction to bikepacking.  Demos include how to pack a bike, rehydrating food, and the basic necessities for bikepacking. After the demos, the ride will head out back for s’mores. Bell Joy Ride will be leading a bikepacking trip July 21+22 from Madison to Blue Mounds. This event is limited to Women/Trans/Femme identifying individuals. Please get a “ticket” so the organizers get enough s’mores supplies. There is space for 30 attendees.

Sunday

Mountain Bike Demo, 10am – 1pm, at Quarry Ridge Recreation Area, 2740 Fitchrona Rd (It’s actually off the Military Ridge Trail. The easiest way to find it is to Google a map.) You’ll be able to test out a couple of different types of bikes to see which one works best for you.

And if you want to have your bike blessed, head on over to the Vermont Lutheran Church, 9886 Vermont Church Rd, Black Earth for a Breakfast and Blessing of the Bikes, 10:30 am -12:30 pm.  This is an annual fundraiser for Dream Bikes. A great breakfast (donation) and a real blessing of all the bikes present. All breakfast donations go to Dream Bikes. Bombay Bicycle Club will lead a ride from Lakeview Park in Middleton at 9:30 am (40 miles total). Join us on the ride or drive or bike on you own...but, please support Dream Bikes and enjoy homemade pancakes, sausages, coffee, etc and save your bike from damnation for a year...guaranteed!! Contact Tenny Albert for info at tennyalbert@gmail.com


What have we been talking about on Facebook?

Closing of the SW Path and whether the detour is marked, adequate, both, or neither. Warning: Because of rain, the closing and detours are likely to continue for another week.

The Joint Finance Committee has removed from the state budget the repeal of a prohibition on using eminent domain to build bicycle and pedestrian facilities. This prohibition was inserted into the budget anonymously two years ago and has meant that many planned paths, trails, and even sidewalks cannot proceed across the state, including in Madison.

A lively discussion about whether there should be yield or stop signs on area paths and what they mean when they are there.


Biking with Steph: Biking on the Planet Trek

I enjoyed last week’s bike ride to Paoli so much that I thought I would embark on a similar type ride to Mt. Horeb.

I checked the weather on Tuesday morning and realize it would be a great day for a ride- no rain or high winds. I quickly packed up some essentials and hit the trail for my 50 mile ride. I generally pack pretty light for these rides:

I brought the following:

  • My cell phone and earbuds
  • Replacement bike tube, handheld tire pump and a plastic spoon for manipulating the tire off the wheel
  • Credit card and sunglasses
  • Lunch
  • Small camelbak to hold the above
  • Bike, helmet, and water bottle filled with Tailwind

For this ride, it is very hard to get lost if you’re coming from the east side. Basically, you take the Southwest Commuter Path to the Velo UnderRound and then take Military Ridge State Trail until you hit Mt. Horeb.

This route also hosts the Planet Trek Dane County (PTDC). According to the UW Space Place website “PTDC is, at heart, a scale model of our solar system: We shrunk the Sun, planets, and other bodies by the same factor so that the sizes and distances are represented to scale relative to each other. In our model, the scale is about 200 million to 1. This means the Sun is a sphere about 24 feet in diameter at Monona Terrace, and Pluto the size of a marble in Mt. Horeb”. Yes, Pluto is still holding on strong despite being downgraded to a dwarf planet. Each sign provides educational tidbits and really drives home the spatial features of these celestial bodies. The installment was intended to be temporary with removal planned for 2011, but the signs have been replaced with updated versions in the past year or two.

(Stay strong, Pluto!)

Anyway, if the Planet Trek hasn’t convinced you to bike to Mt. Horeb, the town’s charm and dining options are another great reason to make the ride. The presence of Norwegian immigrants has played a significant factor in the historic and contemporary identity of the town. It is known as the “Troll Capital of the World” with numerous troll statues sprinkled along the major streets. In the past couple of years, Mt. Horeb has expanded its tourist offerings with numerous cafes, restaurants, shops, and even a cider pub. I often enjoy stopping by Grumpy Troll Brew Pub for an enormous pretzel and a craft beer or Schubert’s Diner for some well-earned baked goods.

(A delicious cookie from Schubert’s)

A few things to note before you go:

  1. You will need to acquire a State Trail Pass to bike on the latter portion of the bike trail to Mt. Horeb. This can be accomplished at multiple kiosks along the way and you may be asked to show your state pass by park rangers.
  2. Things may seem to get oddly tough near the the final few miles of your bike ride to Mt. Horeb. Don’t worry, it’s not you, the elevation gradually increases in these miles.
  3. You will be biking on paved areas and on crushed stone. Some of the crushed stone portions of the trail has uncomfortable ruts and bumps due to use when the paths were wet, that have since dried. I’d assume a fat tire bike or mountain bike would handle these areas just fine.
  4. There are great stopping areas with benches along this route if you’d like to take your time and enjoy the scenery for a bit. Verona, WI (between Neptune and Uranus, about halfway) has a great shelter with two bike stations and bathrooms right next to the bike trail.
  5. If you’d like to go bikepacking, Blue Mound State Park and Governor Dodge State Park are accessible by Military Ridge State Trail. Mt. Horeb would be a great place to stop before or after camping at these sites for a treat.

Enjoy your ride! Tailwinds!

(Even trolls like to bike!)
PS: Not sure what gear you’d need for a successful bikepacking trip? Watch this handy
YouTube video!


Monday Update: SW Path closure, public market preview, volunteer open house

Last Week

Road construction woes continue. As discussed at length, the big construction projects at the "hairball intersection" (John Nolen/Blount/Williamson) and at First Street have posed challenges to people biking through areas. But as Karla on our Facebook community pointed out: "Even though it's a cluster right now, at least I can get thru there faster by bike than car. That makes me smile everyday I commute by bike."


Photo credit: Rick Leib

A group of high school students from Oshkosh came on a field trip to Madison. It wasn't an ordinary field trip, though: The students were on bikes, and the theme was bike-friendly communities. Our board member Pete Wilson, Steve Arnold from Bike Fitchburg, and a number of other Madison volunteers took the students around town and showed off our city's bike infrastructure.

This week

SW Path detour signage

Did I mention construction? Well, I have another one for you: From Monday through Friday, between 9am and 3:30pm, the Southwest Path will be closed between Crazylegs Plaza and Commonwealth. MGE is working on the power poles in that stretch. Fortunately there will be a good marked detour in place: "The sections of the detour that will use Regent (eastbound) and Monroe (westbound) will have a lane marked off for cyclists to use."

The bike week starts on Wednesday this week. You can pick between two options. The Madison Public Market project is moving along, and you can get a sneak peek of their building and provide feedback at an open house. The goal for the market is to be a very bike-friendly destination, and at the open house you can offer input on how to best achieve that. Bonus: There will be free food and samples from future market vendors. 5-7pm, 200 N First St (City of Madison Fleet Services Building). RSVP appreciated but not necessary.

Also on Wednesday is the Transportation Commission's regular meeting. Some items of interest on the agenda:

  • Approval of a million-dollar upgrade to the traffic signals on East Wash. The goal is to "improve travel times and lessen traffic congestion along the entire USH-151/East Washington Ave corridor including 21 signalized intersections." Color me skeptical about the promise of less congestion -- ultimately the improvements in capacity most likely will be eaten up by induced demand (i.e. more people opting to drive). There is no mention of buses specifically. But hopefully the new system will be capable of things that can speed up buses on this future BRT corridor, such as extending the green phase for an approaching bus.
  • Also up for approval is the new bus route to Sun Prairie. While its service will be limited to the morning and evening rush hour only, it's great to see more transit connections to our neighboring communities.
  • Other proposed changes to Metro service will also be discussed.
  • Most relevant for biking, the commission will receive an update on the "Criteria to Evaluate the Success of the Pilot" of new bike infrastructure on Bassett. In case you missed it previously, the city plans on installing parking-protected bike lanes on a stretch of Bassett, but only on a trial basis for now.

Route 23 proposed map 

Proposed Route 23 between Sun Prairie and downtown Madison

Want to test ride a fancy road bike? Come to Neff Cycle Service on Friday afternoon for a BMC demo event, followed by a group ride.

And if you're interested in supporting Madison Bikes and Madison Bike Week through volunteering, come to the Volunteer Open House at Cafe Domestique. You can help us by distributing posters, chalking the bike paths, helping with our party at the end of week, and more. We know that volunteering for the first time can be daunting, and so we're hosting a Volunteer Open House where you can ask questions, meet our board members and fellow volunteers. Drop by any time between 5-7 pm at Cafe Domestique, 1408 Williamson Street. Please RSVP by email or on Facebook.

Madison Bike Week is less than a month away!

 

Speaking of volunteering, on Saturday you can help the Capital City Offroad Pathfinders get our local trails in shape at three different workdays, at Quarry Park, Sheehan Park, and the Farm. Or you join the Bike & Brew Ride. Registration is $25, and the proceeds go to Freewheel Bikes.

And finally, on Saturday REI is hosting their second Big Backyard Bike Bash. Madison Bikes will be tabling at the event, and you can donate used bike and parts to Dreambikes. REI "will have our bike techs on site from 10am - 4pm to perform safety checks on your bicycles and advise you on any repairs or fixes that might be needed to be road worthy. Plus, there will be a bike wash station to keep all the bikes in your quiver clean and looking fresh for a new year. To satisfy your desire to learn new things, we will have classes and presentations running throughout the day on bicycle touring, bikepacking, roadside repair, bicycle shoes and pedal selection and tube and tire selections."

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.



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