New mayor and alders and new/continuing road projects

 

Every two years we have elections for the city council, and every four years we elect a mayor. This year there are a LOT of changes, and all the new people take office Tuesday, just two weeks after the election. What will that mean for bicycling or transportation overall? We’ll see.

Wilson Street update

On Tuesday of this past week, a number of MB board members, volunteers, and supporters attended the public hearing on Wilson St. In last week’s update, Harald linked to the final study, so you can see all the options. What we heard on Tuesday was that: 1. No decision has been made about what will be built; 2. The first section of the road – between Broom and Hamilton -- will be rebuilt this year, principally due to deteriorating storm sewer pipes that cannot wait any longer; 3. The next immediate decision will be where to place the curbs during that project; and 4. The preferred option will allow bike two-way facilities to be placed on the street in one of three configurations, however, the bike facilities will not be built yet – until a decision is made on how to add facilities through the entire corridor from Blair to Broom.

So, you will see construction on W Wilson this year, but there won’t be any bike facilities on that section when the dust clears in the fall. There will be one more public information meeting before this project starts to wind its way through city committees and the Council. The next meeting will mostly be about assessments to adjacent landowners and the timing of work.

Traffic Engineering will also be building a two-way cycle track on Broom this year; it will run between John Nolen Dr and W Wilson. That should make getting between the lake path and local streets a little easier. They will be doing a test as to whether it is possible to extend the same treatment to W Main St. TE will test this out by closing off a portion of the right lane to see how this affects motor vehicle traffic flow.

We’ll keep you informed about any news on this project. 

Bike rack campaign at the library

The Madison Public Library Foundation is raising funds for the new Pinney Library. It's like a "brick campaign" -- where individuals can sponsor a brick in a building -- but with bike racks! Because so many Madisonians get to their library by bike, the Foundation wanted to provide an opportunity for sponsors to put their name on one of the 64 bike racks at the new library. 

"Become a part of history at the new Pinney Library! For a $1,000 gift, our community-based 'Rack Raising' fundraising program gives you naming rights that will appear on a sturdy metal U-shaped bike rack outside of the new Pinney Library.

From children and teens to adults, many Pinney Library visitors rely on bicycles as a primary form of transportation and use the adjacent Capital City Trail to get there. Providing lots of parking and security for their bikes promotes safety and protects their investment, as well as encourages an environmentally friendly way to travel around Madison."

Find more details on their campaign website.

Bike Week site up

If you, your employer, or a business would like to sponsor Bike Week or schedule an event, more information and forms to contact us are now available on the Madison Bikes website. There is now a dedicated page for Bike Week.

 

The week ahead

Monday at 6:00 pm is the monthly meeting of the Madison Bikes Board of Directors. As always, members are welcome to attend. We meet at the Central Library, 201 W Mifflin.

Tuesday, the new Mayor and members of the Common Council will be sworn in at noon. Not only is our new Mayor, Satya Rhodes-Conway a dedicated bike and bus commuter, but she is passionate about transportation as one of her highest priorities. Grant Foster, former President of the Madison Bikes Board of Directors will become the new alder (city council representative) for District 15.

Although these are two prominent examples, we are fortunate in Madison to live in a city where getting around by bike is considered fairly normal, and there are many elected officials, both current and former, who make this choice. In addition, many city staff, including our Traffic Engineer, Director of Transportation, and the head of the Metropolitan Planning Organization are all year-round bike commuters.

Good luck to all the returning and new elected officials. You’ll be hearing from us!

If you scroll through the Council agenda, there are pages and pages of mundane items: liquor licenses, contracts to build a sidewalk or sewer line, notices that a small street will be repaved. But sometimes you find some interesting tidbit. Here are a couple that are on the agenda Tuesday that are in some way bike related. You can click on the links if you want to see more.

Wednesday is the monthly meeting of the Madison Bikes Advocacy Committee. If you interested in outreach to other members on advocacy issues, learning how to influence city decisions, or have issues that you would like to work on, please come by. We meet at 6:00 pm at Bendy Works, 106 E. Doty St, second floor.

 

What are we talking about on Facebook?

On the Madison Bikes Community group, here are a few discussions from the past week.

Would there be a market for a location where people could park their cars and then bike the rest of the way to their jobs?

Cambridge, Mass., becomes the first city in the U.S. to mandate protected bike lanes.


Madison Bike Week is coming!

Madison Bikes is excited to announce that we are organizing Madison Bike Week in 2019, in partnership with the City of Madison! Bike Week has a long history in Madison, going back at least twenty years to when it was a single "Bike to Work Day." For the past couple years, the Wisconsin Bike Fed has organized the local events as part of the statewide Wisconsin Bike Week. This year, the Bike Fed continues to organize the statewide event, but Madison Bikes is taking over in Madison!

From June 1-8, we will celebrate biking in Madison. The Madison Bikes vision is a city where anyone can ride to any place comfortably and conveniently, and Madison Bike Week is an important part of making that vision a reality. Bike Week celebrates riding to work, to school, to a park, to the library -- or biking to feel the warm wind blowing through your hair. Bike Week also celebrates the diversity in biking in Madison: We aim to have events in all neighborhoods of the city and partner with community groups.

Madison Bike Week will feature big, well-established events such as Ride the Drive and Bacon on the Bike Path, as well as Bike Stations with free treats or bike checks, organized bike rides, or special Madison Bike Week offers from local businesses.

Get involved in Madison Bike Week and show your support for biking:

  • Host an event with your business or community group, or offer deals/discounts to people riding bikes. You can sign up here.
  • Sponsor Madison Bike Week: Show your commitment to biking and support us financially. Please get in touch with us by email.
  • Spread the word and volunteer: Ask your employer or favorite local business to participate in Bike Week, tell your friends about the event and motivate them to participate, or sign up to volunteer. We'll be hosting a volunteer session in early May.

Check madisonbikes.org/bikeweek often, or subscribe to our email newsletter.

 

 


Biking with Steph: Vroooom!

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!

Like many cyclists (or should I say "people on bicycles"), I have mixed opinions on e-bikes. I'm not going to delve into these opinions here. Instead, I'd like to talk about e-bikes from the perspective of a non-cyclist- my mother. Last summer, my mother drove from Racine to Madison to visit me and take in the city. Naturally, I recommended that we do something bike-related while she was visiting. We visited the Trek store on Madison's west side as they were hosting a women's bike event and were allowing everyone to test ride their electric bikes (e-bikes). 

May I just say, it was an absolute delight for everyone. My mother is very active and outdoorsy but does she not care to hop on a bike for fun. After test riding an e-bike for the first time, the possibility of biking for fun became more enticing. Being that e-bikes are something of an investment, she decided to not purchase the bike but would mull it over. Last week, I texted her that the Bike Expo Sale Wisconsin would be held in Milwaukee over the weekend and that she could test ride the e-bikes again! It wasn't hard to convince her to meet me there.

What is an electric bike? Electric bikes amplify your own pedal power. Most e-bikes are pedal-assist bikes, which means there’s a motor that helps the pedals turn when you’re riding, but no throttle like a motorcycle or dirt bike. When you’re pedaling, the e-bike gives you a boost. When you stop pedaling, the bike stops assisting. At the Expo, I saw a lot of people trying out e-bikes for the first time and the staff did a great job educating the riders on how to adjust the pedal-assistance.

After a quick tutorial from the staff, she was tearing up the course! The expo had an indoor riding course including a small bridge and cute, painted backdrops. You can see that my mother was having an absolute blast.

After the test ride, we spoke with Trek's assistant product manager, David Studner about the pros and cons of various bike models. I had no idea that e-bikes were available as road and mountain bikes too, not just hybrids. There were a few models that I couldn't help but gawk at because they were really, really, really, ridiculously good looking. I was not surprised to learn that there is a backlog of e-bike orders because these bikes are flying out of the stores.

In summary:

Some pros of e-bikes from the perspective of somebody like my mother:
  • You don't need to be a tech-wiz to use the bike.
  • You won't necessarily break a sweat and mess up your hair after going for a ride.
  • The batteries are now integrated into the frame, so it looks "sleek".
  • It is great fun to ride. 
  • The bike lights are already attached and are turned on when you ride.
  • E-bikes provide an opportunity to stay current and to grow as a person.
Some cons of e-bikes from the perspective of somebody like my mother:
  • Removing the integrated battery from the bike frame is a multi-step process and can be a bit cumbersome.
  • The bikes are pricey.
  • The pedals "look cheap".
  • Riding an e-bike take some mental adaptation.
  • The concern of public stigmatization that riding an e-bike means that she isn't in good shape.
  • Safety concerns if she hits a pothole and gets thrown off the speedy bike.
After much deliberation, she decided to not buy the bike at the expo. However, after doing a bit more research and maybe one more sweet test ride, I bet she'll make the leap and buy the bike. Perhaps, then, we can ride together and make some new memories. 

Happy riding and tailwinds (or well-charged e-bike)!

P.S.: Have extra time on your hands? Check out this video. It is not at all related to e-bikes but does make me very happy. I dare you to keep a straight face.


Monday Update: Wilson St, Transpo Committee, Seminole work day

Did you know Madison Bikes has an Instagram account? Follow us for neat bike pictures from around Madison.

Last Week

Phew, local elections are over, and we have a new mayor and many new members on the Common Council. Congratulations to our mayor-elect Satya Rhodes-Conway and all the new Alders who got elected -- we're excited about working with you toward a better transportation system in Madison! The new council will be sworn in on April 16.

This Week

On Monday night, the Madison Bikes events committee is meeting. They have big plans (stay tuned for an official announcement!) and are always looking for new faces to help make events successful. 6 pm at Rockhound Brewing on Park St.

Also on Monday is a final Fish Hatchery reconstruction public meeting. As far as we know, at this point all the decisions have been made (there will be a new bike/ped path on one side of the street!), and the meeting is purely informational. 5:30 pm at the Wyndham Garden hotel in Fitchburg.

No decisions have been made on West Wilson Street. On Tuesday there is another (a final?) public meeting where the City Department of Transportation (DoT) will present it's draft corridor study report. You can read the 49-page document here. At previous public meetings there was very strong support for a protected two-way bike lane along Wilson. But the conclusion of the report kicks the can down the road because some people are concerned that on a street with thousands of off-street parking spots, a bike lane would require the removal of 16 on-street parking spots.

As of March 2019, there is not a full consensus on a Wilson Street corridor plan. Comments at PIM’s tend to favor Alternative 7 (Two‐way separated cycle track). While some residents express reservations about accommodating cyclists on Wilson Street (sic). Due to construction associated with Judge Doyle Square, as well as curb modifications that would need to occur in the 100 and 200 blocks of Wilson Street, it is not possible to implement a full corridor plan in 2019. [...] For these reasons, this section makes a recommendation that can be constructed in the near term, with the understanding that the full corridor planning process will continue.

Kudos to the DoT for putting the work into the corridor study and coming up with a feasible plan for safe bike facilities on Wilson. Now we need public support and political leadership to close the Wilson Street gap, and to close it soon! 7 pm, Room 215 (formerly Room 260), Madison Municipal Building.

On Wednesday, the Transportation Commission is meeting at 5 pm in Room 215 at the Madison Municipal Building. The most bike-relevant item on the agenda is the Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP) review. This is the document that lays out the major capital transportation spending priorities over the coming years. In general, if a project is not in the TIP, it is unlikely to be built. We haven't analyzed the document in detail yet, but this is the slide on bike projects:

On Thursday, you can join the Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group (WISPIRG) for an "informal panel discussion about our statewide efforts to create a transportation system that works for everyone." On the panel are Emma Fisher, WISPIRG organizer,  Cassie Steiner of the Sierra Club, and Chris McCahill of the State Smart Transportation Initiative. 5 pm at the Black Locust Cafe.

On Saturday, bike out to the Seminole Trails and help getting the trails into shape for the season. Our awesome MTB trail systems around town rely on volunteer trail work, and so this is a great opportunity to get involved. Starts at 9 am, no special skills/tools required.

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.


Biking with Steph: Dream Big!

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!

One of the reasons why I am proud to be a part of Madison Bikes is because we don't settle. Equitable, bike-friendly infrastructure that is just "good enough" doesn't cut it. Instead, we dream of and advocate for "a city where anyone can ride a bicycle conveniently and comfortably to any place in the city and neighboring communities year round". Another Madison organization that doesn't settle is Capital Off Road Pathfinders (CORP) and they have some BIG news for off-road biking.

What is CORP? "CORP is a 501(c)(3) International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) Chapter based in south-central Wisconsin. We are dedicated to building sustainable trails and creating environmentally responsible off road bicycling opportunities." These efforts just became more tenable because the non-profit recently received a Trail Accelerator grant from the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA). IMBA’s Trail Accelerator grant is designed to provide some seed money to make the dreams of community-based mountain biking organizations a reality. In return, CORP needs to leverage their partnerships between local leaders, government entities, land managers, property owners, and community groups to match this grant.

According to IMBA, "Madison has 270 parks and 98% of residents live within a half mile of public greenspace, but the city has only has one mile of mountain bike trail. The plan aims to put trails close to home in communities across the city, while also connecting riders to existing trail systems in nearby Verona, Fitchburg and Middleton. The project will also greatly benefit Madison’s three NICA teams, who anticipate increased participation and rider diversity when practices can be held nearby."

(Source: http://www.wisconsinmtb.org/)

Here's CORP's inspiration and vision: "Given the the limited availability of large pieces of land within the City of Madison, it would be easy to give up on the notion of developing worthwhile off road cycling facilities. But CORP believes that, in partnership with Madison Parks, we have an opportunity to overcome the challenges of providing a quality mountain biking experience in an urban environment.

Our vision for Madison Bicycle Adventure Trail System (MBATS) is to create 3 distinct routes centered on downtown Madison and connecting to outlying trail systems. The corridors will be based on existing bicycle infrastructure, augmenting this with green spaces where cyclists can jump off pavement, onto a off road segment and then back onto pavement until their final destination. The proposed destinations:

  • Pleasant View and Blackhawk in Middleton
  • Quarry Ridge in Fitchburg
  • CamRock Park in Cambridge, via Door Creek Park and the Glacial Drumlin Trail"

For a visual of this, check out this nifty map that shows facilities with the physical potential for off road cycling; no concrete plans exist at any sites. This is not limited to just mountain biking, this also includes cyclocross! How flipping cool is that?!

I have had the pleasure of test-riding some mountain bikes in Quarry Ridge, but have found the "drive to a place so that I can bike" concept to be off-putting. Likewise, Google Maps ALWAYS leads me astray when trying to drive out to Quarry Ridge. The idea of having a trail system actually in Madison would be such a treat for residents who are not able to access the outlying trail systems.

(Source: Madcitydirt.com)

Want to get involved in CORP activities? There will be several trail maintenance workdays this spring and summer where you can do some good and work on that sweet farmer's tan. And/or join and become a member.

Happy on- and off-road biking!

PS: Want to know of other areas where there is some good mountain biking action in the area? Like maps? Here's the resource for you!


Monday Update: Hairball construction, Elections, Sun Prairie

There’s a saying in the midwest. There are two seasons: Winter, and Road Construction. Winter is now officially over and the road construction season has begun.

This week two major road construction projects are starting here in Madison that will see major improvements for people getting around by bike: The E Johnson St. project, and the Williamson and Wilson legs of the John Nolen/Blair/Willaimson/Wilson intersection.

When finished, the E. Johnson St. project will include a new bike path on the south side of Johnson St. from the Yahara River Path to First St. to bridge an east-west gap along the Johnson St. corridor that has existed in the bike network for some time.

The Williamson-Wilson project is the first piece of the John Nolen/Blair/Williamson/Wilson intersection reconstruction that will take place. Unlike John Nolen and Blair which is the USH-151 corridor and maintained by the state, Williamson and Wilson are maintained by the city. This means the city can move forward with reconstructing these streets sooner than the state can with the 151 corridor. One major improvement along this corridor will be a new diagonal crossing at Blount St. to enable inbound cyclists on the Capital City Trail to avoid crossing Williamson at the John Nolen/Blair intersection. The driveway entrance at Machinery Row will be moved with the John Nolen-Blair project A bike detour will be provided for people inbound on Jenifer St. that will follow Blount St. to the Capital City Trail until construction of the new path along Williamson St. is complete. For the latest updates, the city is asking people to subscribe to the Bike Madison email list.

There was also some late breaking information on a closure of the Lower Yahara River Trail boardwalk from McFarland to Madison. The county will be closing the bridge as of April 1 to facilitate tree removal operations, and is telling people to find a different route using their online mapping tools. Fortunately, the closure should be done by the end of the day.

 

This Week:

 Monday, April 1

Don’t be fooled! Construction season is beginning, and if your regular route is impacted by one of the various construction projects, be sure to give yourself some extra time on your morning commute.

At 5 PM, Madison’s Transportation Policy and Planning Board (TPPB) will meet in the Council Chambers in the City County Building. There are quire a few items on the agenda, and you can read them all on the full agenda. One highlight of the meeting is the Bassett Street Corridor Plan, where the corridor study team is recommending a staged implementation of what will be Madison’s first ever parking protected bike lanes, and to continue those bike lanes on the Bassett corridor all the way to Broom St. The city will be reconstructing a stretch of Bassett St. from Dayton St. to West Wash this summer starting in June, and the first piece of implementation of the protected bike lanes will occur on that stretch as a pilot study to prove their effectiveness. The TPPB will also have a discussion on vision zero concepts, as well as CIP/TIP presentations from the city’s Engineering and Transportation departments. CIP refers to the Capital Improvement Program, and TIP refers to the Transportation Improvement Program.

 

Tuesday, April 2, Election Day

Don’t forget to vote! Polls will be open from 7 AM to 8 PM. On the ballot will be candidates for Madison’s mayor, city alders, and the state supreme court. To learn more about the mayoral candidates, you can read Madison Bikes’ Candidate Questionnaire. To learn more about what will be on your ballot, to check your voter registration information, or to find out where to vote, consult myvote.wi.gov. You may register to vote on election day at your polling place.

Madison Bikes Communications Committee will be meeting at 5:30 PM in the Stiftskeller at the Memorial Union. The Communications Committee oversees Madison Bikes public communications, including the Facebook Discussion page, the weekly update blogs, and other communication efforts.

Wednesday, April 3

The Madison Area Transportation Planning Board (MATPB) will be meeting at 6:30 PM in Rooms A-B of the Madison Water Utility building at 119 E. Olin Ave. Read the full agenda here. There will be a presentation on design alternatives for University Ave. from Shorewood Blvd. to University Bay Dr. and for Gammon Rd. from the beltline to Mineral Point Rd. The University Ave. project will include the construction of a new bike path that will fill the gap in the path between U. Bay and Marshall Ct. partly funded with the county’s PARC Grant. The Gammon Rd. project will include construction of an extension of the West Towne Path from the Struck St. beltline underpass to just west of Gammon Rd. with a new underpass to cross Gammon.

The City of Madison’s Board of Public Works (BPW) will be meeting at 4:30 PM in Room 108 of the City County Building. You can read the full agenda here. The BPW is in charge of approving final plans for road and bike path construction in Madison, and is the last step a project has to go through before spending is formally approved by the City Council. At this meeting, the BPW will look at path repaving at five parks: Bordner Park, Brigham Park, Reservoir Park, Sandburg Park & Woods, and Patriot Park.

Thursday, April 4

At 6 PM, Sun Prairie Moves, the local bike advocacy group in Sun Prairie, will be having their Spring Public Meeting. The meeting will take place at the Colonial Club at 301 Blankenheim Ln in Sun Prairie. At the meeting you will have an opportunity to learn about the best commuter routes from Sun Prairie to surrounding communities, local and state bike laws, and biking etiquette. Learn more about the event on their Facebook Event page.

Saturday, April 6

At 8 AM Madison will officially have a new bike shop. Slow Roll Cycles will open its doors at 4118 Monona Dr. in the Lake Edge Shopping Center.

Sunday, April 7

Freewheel Community Bike Shop needs volunteer help to  turn "a big pile of bikes [into] a pile of useful parts and a pile of scrap metal. Come disassemble with us, there's lots to learn. Food and drink will be available, come for a few minutes or all afternoon, 11am-5pm."

And our friends from Bombay Bicycle Club are hosting their spring member meeting. Open to non-members, but you have to RSVP. 5pm Lussier Heritage Family Center.

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.


Biking with Steph: My First Set of Wheels

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

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

Image: BicycleBlueBook

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

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

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

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

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

Happy biking and tailwinds!

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


Bcycle is back, and Transportation Commission talks Vision Zero

What happened last week?

Free Bikes 4 Kidz gave away 1,400 Bikes

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

Bcycle Bikes are back!

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

What’s up this week?

Monday

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

Wednesday

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

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

 

Saturday

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

 


Biking with Steph: Hello, Sunshine!

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

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

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

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

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

Bike Lane on Gorham St.

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

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

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


We're creeping into spring

Photo credit: Linda Larsen

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

What happened last week?

Freewheel is starting a fundraising drive for their new bike center

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

Madison Bikes board and volunteers help out FB4K

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

Bike counter on John Nolen Path is working again!

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

 

What’s up this week?

Monday

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

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

Tuesday

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

Wednesday

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

Saturday

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

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

 

What have we been talking about?

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

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

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

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

And people are talking about the mayoral election.

 



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