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Bike News

Winter Bike Fashion Show: Be a model!

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We’re looking for Madison Bikers of all ages who brave the elements and bike into early winter, bike in early spring or even bike year round to share their tips and expertise in dressing for the weather! Madison Bikes is excited to host the Winter Bike Fashion Show this December 9th from 1-4pm at the High Noon Saloon. There will be food, camaraderie, and of course a fashion show highlighting real Madisonians and their winter weather gear. If you’ve discovered a great solution to keeping your hands warm and dry, or have found a way to keep your toes from freezing, we’d love to have you join the fashion show as a model. Do you have a great tip for avoiding fogged up glasses or for keeping your bike lock dry and functional? We’d love to have you!

We’re looking for:

  • year round bikers to show off their biking clothes and bike gear

  • Shoulder season (late fall or early spring) riders to show off their biking clothes and bike gear

  • Adults and kids (both kids who ride their own bikes, and kids who are transported by bike)

  • Gear for winter biking and demo bikes- how do you adapt your bike for winter riding?

  • We love DIY solutions that make giving winter bike a try easy and inexpensive!

To apply, please complete the following questions and submit to, ideally with a picture of you in your biking clothes and/or you with your bike by 11/19, noon.

  1. Include a description of your clothing/gear and where/when/why you winter bike.

  2. What’s your number one tip for people riding in winter?

  3. Do you have a winter biking story that may motivate others to ride in winter?

  4. What is your favorite thing about riding in winter?

Don’t hesitate to apply even if you’ve modeled in a previous Winter Bike Fashion Show.

Bike News

Winter Bike Fashion Show 2016: Photos! Advice! Fun!

Thanks to everyone who came out to enjoy the Madison Bikes Winter Fashion Show! For those of you in attendance you know a good time was had by all. And for those who missed out on the fun, here’s a recap of the afternoon.

At the High Noon Saloon a great crowd gathered to mingle, share stories and tips for winter riding, and to chat with the hosts of the winter bike stations. At the winter bikes stations, folks had an a opportunity to chat with the bike owners about how they have winterized their bikes, what gear they wear to stay warm, and about their favorite winter rides. Winter bike stations were hosted by

Tim Staton from the Cargo Bike Shop. He had his Urban Arrow Family cargo bike with electric assist on display

Elysha Jones (remember her guest post on our blog?) also brought her bakfiets (Dutch for “box bike”)

Harald Kliems rides a “heavily evolved,” as he calls it, Surly Cross-Check year round

Matt DeBlass, our show’s MC from Revolution Cycles, arrived at the High Noon on his Surly Ogre–just one of many bikes he rides during winter.

Finnley Sonnemann showed off his 20-inch tired Specialized fat bike

The runway show itself started with Matt summarizing the varying conditions to expect when winter riding. Our volunteer models showed a variety of gear, ranging from more technical wear to things just about everyone has in their Wisconsin winter collection (or can find at the thrift store).

Our 2016 Madison Bikes Winter Fashion Show Models:

Tom Pearce

Tom is a graduate student in urban and regional planning at the UW. He commutes daily, two miles from the near west side to Park Street. Tom rides a Giant Yukon mountain with a studded tire on the front wheel. Why only in the front? Crashes where the front wheel loses traction are the most dangerous. And not also having a studded tire in the back helps to keep the cost and additional resistance of studded tires in check.

Tom was wearing casual work clothes with the following winter layers: short boots, wool socks, fleece, winter jacket, triple mittens, scarf, and a ski helmet with old goggles. On extra cold below zero days he also wears rain pants, balaclava and petroleum jelly to protect his skin.

Michael Jones

Over this past summer Michael bought a home in the Dudgeon-Monroe neighborhood. He chose the area in part because of its proximity to both bike paths and mountain biking trails. Through participating in a number of Madison group rides and events like Bike the Barns he is coming to be a part of the local cycling community. He sees this fashion show as yet another opportunity to meet people who share his passion for cycling.

Michael was wearing a Castelli Podium Jacket worn over a Pearl Izumi long sleeve jersey and a Craft Wind-stopper Base layer. Over his legs he typically wears a pair of Castelli fleece-lined bib tights under Fox Mountain bike shorts. On his feet he finds that Smartwool socks inside a pair of Lake MXZ 303 cycling boots works great. Hand protection varies depending on the temperature and wind conditions.

Nicole Nelson

Nicole Nelson is a professor at UW-Madison who commutes by bike year round. When her old car had her going to the shop repeatedly for expensive repairs, she sold it to her mechanic for $600 and bought a bike with that money. She has been a bike commuter ever since. When she’s not at work, Nicole loves to sew clothes, quilts, and occasionally outdoor gear for herself and her partner.

Nicole was wearing a North Face down jacket; neck gaiter, hat, and mitts all made of Merino wool; and Merrell boots. For those extra windy days, she has her ski goggles at the ready. And underneath it all, she’s ready for work with dress pants and a blouse that she designed and sewed herself.

Elysha Jones

Elysha Jones has been living in Madison for 5 years with husband, Scott, and their two little girls, Abby and Clementine. Originally from St. Louis, MO, they came to Madison because they wanted to live somewhere bike friendly. Since living here they went from being a two-car family to a one-car family, and for about 4 months they even didn’t have a car at all! They have totally embraced the bicycling life in Madison.

Elysha is wearing leggings, hand-knit knee-high socks, snow boots, a skirt, a thermal shirt under her sweater, a coat, gloves, a cowl, and helmet with a liner. Her little girl, Clementine, wears her normal clothes with snow pants and coat mittens over them. Clementine rides in the family bakfiets with the “bubble” (their name for the cover) and a blanket.

Jim Lorman

Jim Lorman has been riding bikes in Madison winters for 43 years! First to and from UW as a graduate student, and then to Edgewood College as a faculty member and now as Community Partnership Specialist for the Social Innovation and Sustainability Leadership Program. Not too many years ago, he realized that it he was really tired of the sore body parts that came from slipping and falling while riding on snow and ice, and has since relied on studded tires on a dedicated winter bike, a heavy-duty Schwinn cruiser. Jim is hoping that the Medicare benefits he just acquired this month won’t disappear during the next four years. But even if they don’t, he would prefer not to have to use them as a result of his dedication to biking in the first place.

Having been at this for over forty years, his outfit emphasizes an “old school” philosophy of dressing for winter biking. “Nothing too high tech for this old man,” is Jim’s philosophy. Simply long underwear (usually lightweight, and often silk for its comfort), jeans, waterproof boots, wool socks (with silk liners in colder weather), and three to four layers of various thicknesses on top, usually including a wool sweater and always a thin waterproof shell. He has maybe six different pairs of gloves and mittens of various degrees of waterproofness and insulation. But today he’s wearing his favorite pair for the coldest weather – wool liners with leather mitten shells. Jim’s special winter tip: A good warm scarf wound tightly around his hat and face and tucked into his coat to keep warmth in and cold out.

Lyllie Sonnemann

Lyllie is 8 years old. She enjoys riding all year and has been riding her bike about a mile to school every day of her school career! For winter riding, she enjoys riding her green fat bike.

To keep warm, Lyllie wears her regular school clothes underneath snow pants, a down winter jacket, warm home-made mittens, hat, neck warmer and, on the coldest days, ski goggles.

Finnley Sonnemann

Finn is 6 years old and also enjoys riding his bike no matter the season. Like his sister he rides about a mile to get to school each day, on his blue and orange fat bike.

To keep warm, Finn wears snow pants, winter jacket, hat, home-made mittens, and neck warmer. On super cold days he adds ski goggles to his outfit.

The Foster Family

Winter biking has become a family affair for the Fosters. This will be the third winter of the whole family riding daily.


Kai wears a good thick coat, warm and waterproof mittens, winter boots, and a balaclava. Sometimes Kai takes a quick walk outside in the morning to gauge the weather and calibrate his outfit.


Sage wears a winter coat, mittens, hat, boots, and a balaclava. When it’s very cold, he sometimes adds snow pants and ski goggles. A sweatshirt underneath provides extra warmth.


Jenifer demonstrates that pants are optional for cycling in the winter — she doesn’t own a single pair of pants. Her winter biking wear consists of Smartwool tights and wool socks with wool-lined waterproof winter boots. She has her usual skirt and layered top, with a base layer Smartwool top, turtleneck and wool sweater. On extra cold days she’ll add wool arm warmers, a hand knit cowl and wool vest. To keep in the heat she tops it off with a merino balaclava and ear warmers. When it’s extra chilly, she’ll wear her ski goggles as well.


Grant has a longish commute at 8 miles and often travels to offsite meetings throughout the day. He lacks the patience to change between ‘bike’ clothes and ‘work’ clothes, and has found success wearing ‘regular’ clothes on the bike.

For his feet, it’s extra-thick wool socks and lightly insulated boots on normal days. When it drops below zero, he’ll add extra liner socks and heavier Sorel boots. He likes a thin merino liner glove under big mittens for his hands. A pair of wool leggings under his favorite Swrve pants is enough to keep his legs warm, with a second pair of leggings for below zero conditions. Most days he wears a merino shirt with a wool sweater on top–no coat necessary–and layers an extra shirt when it gets really cold. He doesn’t use ski goggles until the temperature gets into the single digits. When he does add goggles, he finds a ski helmet to be much more comfortable with its goggle strap. The Smartwool balaclava and headband are his favorite pieces, and he wears them from 40 degrees down to the coldest temps.

Impromptu addition to the model roster

Bike station host Harald discussing his recipe for winter riding during the intermission

After a short intermission our models returned to the stage for a Q&A session. Audience members had a chance to ask questions about gear, winter riding tips, or the best parts of winter riding. A big cheer came from the crowd when our model Jim Lorman described his favorite part of winter biking: To zoom past cars that are inching along on the snowy roads or even plain stuck

Some of the winter riding tips:

  • Try studded tires! Even just one studded tire on the front of your bike can add a lot of stability in icy conditions. Keep in mind that studs don’t help in the snow.
  • Riding gets easier as the season goes on. Cold and rainy conditions can often be worse than snow or dry cold. So don’t stop riding too soon!
  • Ski goggles can make a big difference in reducing the wind and cold in your eyes. For people wearing prescription glasses, there are goggles specifically made to fit over glasses. A cheap alternative to ski goggles are protective goggles from the hardware store.
  • Don’t overdress! Leave the house feeling a bit chilly, you’ll warm up as you ride and will avoid over heating. This is especially important when you go for a longer ride.
  • Not everyone needs special winter cycling gear. Many of our models ride in their regular winter coats, boots, and mittens.
  • Some models like a light wool layer. It provides warmth, some air ventilation, and is something that can be worn off the bike throughout the day.
  • Give your bike a thorough tune up at the end of the riding season. Road salt is hard on components.
  • Wipe water and salt off your bike when you can.
  • Avoid bringing your bike in and out of cold weather for short periods of time. The melting water and salt can be worse than leaving the bike frozen. 
  • Hang your lock key-hole side down to avoid a frozen lock.
  • Often the bike paths are plowed earlier and better than the streets.
  • Riding in the quiet winter snow is a treat!
  • Jacob’s guest post on how to dress in winter has some additional info
  • Give winter biking a try! You don’t need any special equipment or gear. It’s a lot of fun! And there is no shame in occasionally taking the bus, walking, or cross-country skiing to do your errands!

A huge thank you goes out to all the volunteers who helped to make the show a success. Let’s also give kudos to Aaron Crandall for keeping Madison Bike Winter and previous editions of the Fashion Show over many years. A special thanks goes to Matt D for doing a great job as our MC and to our models and bike station hosts for sharing their winter biking tips. And thank you very much, Rob Streiffer, for taking great pictures of the show! Big kudos go to Aaron Crandall, who has kept Madison Bike Winter and the Winter Bike Fashion Show going for many years. Finally, we are so appreciative of the great support of our sponsors who generously donated to our door prize contest.

  • EVP Coffee for coffee cards
  • Revolution Cycles for fun ear muffs, a water bottle filled with bike tools, and lots of packets of Revolution Roast coffee
  • REI for a sport backpack filled with a water bottle and a neck warmer
  • Planet Bike for a great collection of winter biking gloves, shoe covers, bike pumps and a variety of lights!

If you missed the Madison Bikes Winter Fashion Show, be sure to look for it again next year! Happy Winter Riding! See you during Winter Bike Week in February!

Madison Bikes winter t-shirts. We still have some left!

Bike News

Winter Bike Fashion Show: Call for Models

What?? It’s time for the 6th Annual Madison Bike Winter Fashion Show!!

When?? Saturday, November 19th, 11:30a-2:30p at the High Noon Saloon

Calling all Winter Riders!

Do you love to ride your bike in winter? Have you discovered the secret to staying warm and dry?

Share your expertise, your excitement for winter riding and celebrate the season with others at the Madison Bike Winter Fashion Show on Saturday, November 19th, 11:30am to 2:30pm at the High Noon Saloon!

Three ways you can be involved and share your love of winter riding:

  • Volunteer to be a Madison Bikes Winter Fashion Show Model!
    • We’re looking for folks to model “shoulder season” gear that gets you through late fall and or early spring rides.
    • We’re looking for models for“deep winter” gear that gets you through the coldest and darkest days.
    • Our credo at Madison Bikes is “all ages, all abilities.” We welcome models of all body shapes, genders, ages, colors, levels of experience.
    • No technical gear necessary, in fact we’d love to see what DIY and/or inexpensive solutions you’ve found for keeping warm and dry!
    • All models must:
      • Be able to commit to be available on November 19 from 11:30am to 2:30pm.
      • Complete a brief application (below) by November 5
    • We’ll let you know by November 12 if you can expect to be walking the catwalk!
  • Volunteer to host a bike station at the fashion show!
    • We’re looking for folks to have their winter bikes on display at the fashion show. Volunteers will chat with others at intermission and throughout the show about their bikes and the bike gear that they use. Come share your winter bike solutions!
    • All bike station volunteers must:
      • Complete a brief application (below) by November 5
  • Send your three favorite winter biking photos to! This could be a picture of yourself, your winter bike, your winter gear, or a great ride in winter. Along with your pictures, feel free to include a tip or two about winter biking, or share one of your winter biking experiences. We’ll compile these pictures and feature some of them on our website and during the Fashion Show. Help spread love and excitement around winter riding!

Please complete the following information to help us gather a sense of who you are and what gets you excited about winter biking. You can be brief: a bulleted list, a couple of sentences, or a short paragraph for each response. Send them to

  1. Name:
  2. Email address:
  3. Phone number:
  4. Your Age:
  5. Describe the type of winter biking you love to do. Tell us where you go and why etc.:
  6. What kind of bike do you ride?
  7. What do you change on your bike or add to your bike for winter riding?
  8. What are some of the key items that you wear for winter biking?
  9. What tips do you have for the winter bike curious?
  10. What do you enjoy most about winter biking?
  11. Tell us a story about an experience you’ve had winter biking.
  12. Attach a picture of your winter bike!
Bike News

5 Tips for Urban Bike Adventures with Kids

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I’m far from a biking expert: I have a hard enough time spelling ‚Äòderailleur,’ let alone explaining what one does; I leave flat-fixing and chain-aligning to my husband; and I don’t give a grip shift about the range of “gear inches” my bike offers. Despite my lack of enthusiasm for the mechanical minutiae, I love to ride my bike and I’m a big believer in the benefits of a bike-centric approach to “getting around.”

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I’m aware of the quantifiable advantages of bike versus motor-vehicle travel (gallons saved, emissions prevented, calories burned, etc). But as we’ve grown into a bike-dependent family I’ve also come to appreciate many advantages of biking that are harder to put a number on: the independence, fun, happiness, and sense of accomplishment that comes from “getting around” by bike. Furthermore, biking helps us better manage our pace of life, enjoy each other’s company, celebrate our strengths and encourage each other through struggles. There is time and space to interact with our kids and the world around us on a very tangible level.

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How many of your car commutes were noteworthy enough to remember? Invariably, something happens on every bike ride – a new max speed achieved, a new route learned, a flat or two or three – that makes it memorable for one reason or another. We have the luxury of engaging in conversation with our kids that would otherwise be interrupted by the distraction of driving. While we ride, we deliberately work to help teach our kids safe biking practices, the rules of the road, how to be courteous on the bike paths, basic bike maintenance, and safe routes from our home to the places we frequently visit. The necessity of physical effort on everyone’s part provides a sense of accomplishment and teamwork just for getting to our destination and back home. Riding provides us an opportunity to share in an activity that is both healthy for our bodies and the environment and we all get a chance to embody a “can-do and I’ll try” attitude about life.

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Although we bike year-round, summer gifts me extra time to go out riding with my kids. I like to call our bike outings “Urban Bike Adventures” because that is just what they are! We make a plan for where we want to go, how we will get there and what we need to bring. Then we hop on our bikes and set out. This summer our Urban Bike Adventures have taken us to Blue Mounds for a camping trip, across town to shop for Legos, to Picnic Point to roast marshmallows, to the library, out to lunch, just to run errands and more.

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Urban Bike Adventures with kids can be easy and fun. Here are a few tips to get you past the “I could never do that” barrier and out on your bikes:

  1. Choose a fun destination. Some of our favorite destinations include the the ice cream shop, the library, a friend’s house, and to our favorite restaurants for breakfast.
  2. Anticipate delays, detours, impromptu play dates and changes in plans. Remember: It’s an adventure! Being prepared for a change in plans especially on longer rides can mean the difference between a positive experience or a challenging one. Be prepared to go with the flow. Pack snacks and water bottles to avoid hunger and thirst emergencies.
  3. Plan a route that feels safe before you head out. Use bike paths, bike boulevards, neighborhood streets, and streets with bike lanes. A slightly circuitous route that is quiet and more bike-friendly is worth a few minutes in extra travel time. Know where you are going before you leave.
  4. Make plenty of stops along the way to take breaks. We like to visit friends and make stops at the park to play if we need to rest.
  5. Always shout “Woo Hoo” when going down the big hills! Enjoy yourself and make it fun. Get out and ride together-it’s so fun!

Do you go on adventure rides with your kids? Share your tips and stories in the comments!

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