Bike News

Monday Update: MLK Day, and Winter Bike Week is coming

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day! There will be many opportunities to honor and celebrate Dr. King’s life and legacy, for example the Madison-Dane County King Holiday Observance on Monday or the UW’s events on January 22. Otherwise things continue to be rather quiet.

Last week the Madison Bikes Events Committee met to nail down further details of the upcoming Winter Bike Week. Winter Bike Week will take place from February 2nd to 9th. A lot of details are still being finalized — RSVP on the Facebook event page to receive the latest updates, or regularly check back on our website:

Some good news for people wanting to bike around Lake Mendota: The county acquired a property that will become part of the planned bike trail around the northwest side of the lake. The massive planned expansion of Highway M, from two to four lanes, in that same area is less good news.

The only two events on the calendar for this week is Madison Bikes Advocacy Committee meeting on Wednesday.

And on Saturday, Madison Bikes board member Baltazar is hosting the Tour de la Familia Latina – Winter Tour of the Latino Family.

Bike News

Meet Our New Board Members!

It’s a new year for Madison Bikes, and with a new year come new board members. Our organization started in November 2015 around Grant’s dining room table: The group of people assembled around that table felt that there was an opportunity to improve local bike advocacy in Madison. Riding a bike in Madison was pretty good already, but there was no local organization working on making things even better.

As expressed in our vision statement, our goal is to make riding a bike a viable transportation option for people of all backgrounds, ages, and abilities. We aim to have infrastructure that supports comfortable bike riding for a child, as well as her grandparents. We want this low-stress bike network to extend into all parts of the city, not just the downtown area or in affluent neighborhoods.

To make that all happen, we founded Madison Bikes. Our website went live in Spring 2016; we finalized our incorporation as a non-profit that summer; and in the fall we had a kickoff party at the High Noon Saloon.

Since then we have written over 120 blog posts, organized events such as the Winter Bike Fashion Show, Winter Bike Week, and Madison Bike! Bingo, and we have mobilized the community to make their voice heard on street construction projects such as Monroe, West Wilson, and East Johnson Streets. We have also worked behind the scenes with city officials and other advocates to improve winter bike facility maintenance, to improve counting of people on bikes, and to improve the way the city thinks about public outreach. At the end of 2017, we also rolled out a formal membership program.

Much of that board was and continues to be done by our initial board members, and awesome ad-hoc additions. At our 2017 annual meeting, we elected the first cohort of new members to join the board since our founding. Before I introduce the new members, let’s say thanks to Emily Sonnemann and Chuck Strawser, who stepped down from the board. Emily, who chaired our events committee, and Chuck will continue to work with us on our various committees. Thank you for the work you have done. Also thanks to everyone who applied as a board member but wasn’t elected: It was a great problem to have more highly qualified candidates than open board seats!

Now let’s get to our new members. I’m excited to introduce:

Pepe Barros


Pepe grew up in a big city far south of Madison. Santiago, Chile watched him grow and experiment with all kind of adventure sports to end up attracted by the steep mountains and the Downhill Mountain Bike competitions he used to attend with his friends. While being a strong bike commuter in the wild streets of Latin America he traded adrenaline for advocacy and studies. While becoming an industrial engineer he traveled all throughout Chile helping to grow environmental awareness by cycling. He spent the last 5 years developing social-emotional skills in several public schools in different regions of Chile and in 2016 he happily got married in Milwaukee and worked the warm season as a Mobile Bike Repair Coordinator for Wisconsin Bike Fed. In October of 2017, Pepe, his wife and their fat cat moved to Madison and they all hope to be helpful to the city and its growing bicycle community by creating and supporting spaces where everyone can feel safe, confident and gather as a big family, no matter your origins or beliefs.

Baltazar De Anda Santana


Baltazar is an immigrant who grew up in Mexico and came to the United States when he was 23 years old (He is now 41). Because of biking and a healthy life style, Baltazar lost 95 pounds and reversed a pre-diabetic diagnosis. Some years ago, when Baltazar’s drivers license expired (and because of his immigration status he was not able to renew it) he started using biking as his main means of transportation. Baltazar is now able to get a drivers license (he became a Legal Permanent Resident in 2016) but he has chosen not to buy a car and continue using biking as a main means of transportation. In the short time that Baltazar has been biking in Madison, he has found that unfortunately there is a bike racial disparity and bike inequity in the city of Madison. Baltazar does not want to be one of the few Latinos who bike. His goal is to bring more people from the Latino/African American/Hmong communities into biking. As more people bike, there is going to be a yet higher need for better biking infrastructure in Madison. Madison is currently a great place for biking. Unfortunately it is only a great place to bike for just few members of the community. Baltazar believes this can change.

Liz Jesse


Liz grew up in Madison and after college moved to the Washington D.C. suburbs for several years, followed by a ten year stint in Sheboygan, WI. However, it was only after moving home to Madison in 2015 that she truly began to appreciate the city’s vibrant bicycling culture. She is now a year-round bicycle commuter (eight miles round trip), but also enjoys recreational road riding and bicycle camping/touring during the warmer months. Liz works as a science outreach specialist/educator at the UW Biotechnology Center and is an active member of the UW-Madison Science Alliance, a science outreach advocacy group on campus. She lives on Madison’s near-west side with her husband, Ben, and their two adorable rescue dogs.

Becky Jollay


Originally from Columbus, GA, Becky earned her BFA in digital media from the University of Georgia where she first began her love affair with bicycles. At the end of her time in Athens, she heard the rumor that you could bike everywhere in Madison, WI. It was on this rumor alone that she, and Hero the cat, relocated to the Midwest. Becky has been an avid Madison cyclist since 2008. Earning her MS in Urban and Regional Planning from UW-Madison in May 2017, strengthened her love and advocacy of sustainability and accessible mobility. She currently works for The Barbara Hochberg Center for Jewish Student Life as their development associate.

Raj Shukla


Raj is a family dude, Madison-lover and sometimes-radical environmentalist. To him, a bike means less pollution, less stress, more health, more pocket change and more chances to hear the birds sing. He works as Executive Director of River Alliance of Wisconsin and chairs the Sustainable Madison Committee, a city advisory council that works toward environmental goals. Raj and his wife can be found chasing their three young children around their near west side neighborhood, through Madison’s beautiful parks and into the occasional ice cream shop.

Bike News

Happy 2018! You are awesome!

Happy New Year everyone! On behalf of our board of directors, I want to say thank you to everyone who has supported Madison Bikes and biking in Madison in 2017 — be it through donations, doing volunteer work, coming to our events or public meetings, asking a business to install bike parking, encouraging a friend to try riding a bike, submitting a Report-A-Problem, …

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Because of your awesomeness, our end-of-year fundraising drive was a huge success! We were blown away by your generosity! Within little over a week, Madison Bikes supporters gave over $3000 — well beyond our initial target of $1000. Together with the matching pledge from our board members, we raised well over $4500! This puts us on a very stable financial footing for 2018 and also allows us to consider additional activities to further our mission.

We have several new board members starting their term this year (stay tuned for an introduction), and a strategic planning session in February will help us setting our priorities for the year and beyond. I am excited about another year of making biking better in Madison for everyone! Thank you for your continued support.

Harald (VP of Madison Bikes)

PS Our Monday Update posts will return from their holiday break next week.

Bike News

Monday update: Winter Bike Week planning, Winnebago crossing, Fantasy in Lights

Last Week

Madison Bikes had their annual meeting last Monday. We approved our 2018 budget and had elections for our board of directors. We’re excited to have several awesome new board members — stay tuned for an official introduction when they take office in January. And thanks to everyone who applied but wasn’t elected this time, as well as our outgoing board members.

On Friday, Revolution Cycles once again hosted Art Pedaler, showcasing various kinds of bike-related art from local artists and makers. Thanks for organizing!

Orphaned Pennies performing at Art Pedaler. Photo credit: Kelsiusei

This week

Winter Bike Fashion Show is over — time to start planning Winter Bike Week! The Madison Bikes Events Committee is going to meet on Monday to make plans for Winter Bike Week. Join them at Cafe Domestique at 6pm. Winter Bike Week is going to take place from February 2-9 2018.

Also on Monday, is the weekly MEATHead ride, a casual loop around Lake Monona. Looks like the temperatures will be unseasonably warm that night. Depart at 7pm at Ford’s Gym.

Another opportunity for a social ride comes Tuesday: Bike Benefits, Down With Bikes, and DreamBikes are teaming up for a holiday ride/potluck/open shop night. Meet at Colectivo on the Square at 6pm.

If you’re a regular user of the Cap City Trail on the east side, on Wednesday you should attend a public meeting. The city has plans to improve the crossing of the trail and Atwood Avenue, near Winnebago and Riverside. Instead of the sharp angles of the current crossing, the city is proposing to shift the alignment of the path and create a diagonal crossing. Unclear so far is if they’re also planning to address the missing connection from the path to Winnebago. At the moment your options are either to ride on a narrow sidewalk or to cross Atwood twice. 6pm, Bethany Evangelical Free Church.

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On Thursday, it’s winter solstice — and the annual tradition of the Fantasy in Lights Ride. Madison Bike Winter invites you to come to Rockhound Brewing on Park Street at 5:30 and then ride together to the Fantasy in Lights display at Olin Park.

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Photo credit: Madison Bike Winter

Bike News

Monday update: Cranksgiving, good news from Middleton, and Winter Bike Fashion Show

This week

Good news to report from Middleton. Kierstin writes:

It passed!

After a ten year push by NE Middleton residents and several city staff, the alders and mayor finally voted “yes” on Wednesday night to secure funds from one tax improvement district to another to start the planning process of creating the NE Connector Trail along Century Avenue. Plans will be drawn in 2018, and the path will hopefully be constructed in 2019. This is a major breakthrough to connect what is currently a “car island” to the rest of Middleton and Madison as well as supply a safe route for children to bike or walk to school. These plans are the first segment connecting Branch St. to Highland. The city hopes to extend it to County Road Q to the east and Donna Drive/Frank Lloyd Wright Avenue to the West.

Good work everyone who wrote in and supported the efforts otherwise!

The news from Fitchburg are less good. A budget amendment to build paved shoulders on Whalen Road did not pass, despite support from Bike Fitchburg, Madison Bikes, and many others. According to news reports, the whole hearing was rather heated because budget issues concerning social services.

On Wednesday, the first public involvement meeting about extending the Glacial Drumlin Trail from Cottage Grove to Interstate-90 happened. We don’t have information about how the meeting went, but you can find the presentation slides here.

Saturday saw the rebirth of Cranksgiving in Madison. Cranksgiving, an event originally started in the 1990s by bike messengers in New York City, is a combination of a food drive and an alley cat bike race. Participants received a “manifesto” with a number of Madison supermarkets and items to buy there. At the end of the ride, all the food was donated to the Goodman Center’s Thanksgiving Baskets food drive. Over 70 people participated! Kudos to Billy Calkins for organizing!

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Just before the start of Cranksgiving at Revolution Cycle (Photo credit: Billy Calkins)

This week

With Thanksgiving coming up, the week is fairly quiet. Madison Bikes, however, has several things in the pipeline.

On Monday, the Madison Bikes events committee will do the final planning for the Winter Bike Fashion Show on December 9. The deadline to apply as a model was on Sunday, but if you have a strong interest in being a model, shoot a quick email to before Monday, 3pm!

Also a reminder that you can still apply to become a member of the Board of Directors for Madison Bikes. And if you’re not quite ready yet to join our board, remember that you can show your support for Madison Bikes by becoming a member.

Local mountain bike advocates Capital Offroad Pathfinders are looking for a secretary for their organization. More details here.

And on Friday, you can join the Bombay Cycling Club for their first fat bike ride of the season.
Happy Thanksgiving from me and the rest of Madison Bikes!

Bike News

You can now become a member of Madison Bikes online!

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A select few of you–those who attended our annual party at the High Noon Saloon in September–already are members of Madison Bikes. But now everyone can join our organization! Just click here for more information and sign up! Here are some answers to frequently asked questions.

Why should I become a member?

By opening up membership we want make our organization stronger. Having you as members will amplify our voice, as well as ensure that our advocacy efforts have broad community support. And your financial contributions will help us keep the lights on and have the resources to make things happen.

What does it cost to be a member?

We want to be an inclusive organization and not prevent anyone from joining because they cannot afford it. Therefore we have a pay-what-you-can membership model: You fill out the membership application and only then do you select how much you want to contribute. Don’t have any idea what a reasonable amount would be? Well, those who attended our annual party, contributed $20 or more.

How long is my membership good for?

All the way through December 2018. We’ll let you know when it’s time to renew.

What do I get out of it?

Sorry, no funny socks, whimsical ties, or t-shirts, at least for now. We’re a small, 100% volunteer-run organization and direct our efforts as much as possible toward making biking better in Madison. What you will receive:

  • Our weekly calendar highlights of bike advocacy issues and events via email.
  • You’ll also be invited to our Annual Madison Bikes Membership Party (usually in late summer).
  • And maybe most importantly: That great feeling that comes from making a positive difference in your community!

Am I already a member?

If you attended our annual party and signed in there: you are. If not, you are almost certainly not a member yet. You can also check your email inbox if you received a “Thanks for Becoming a Member” email from us. If you’re still in doubt, email and we’ll figure it out.

I don’t want to become a member but still support Madison Bikes. Is that possible?

Not a problem. You can still donate, volunteer, or sign up for our email updates without being a member.

Bike News

Join the Madison Bikes Board of Directors

Want to become more involved in local bicycle advocacy?

Madison Bikes is looking for people who are dedicated, passionate, strong communicators, good compromisers, organized, and able to commit a significant amount of time and energy to promoting biking as a priority in the city of Madison. There are no paid staff and everything we do—from fundraising to advocacy to communications to events—is done by our volunteer board and volunteer committee members.

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Our current board of directors

We are currently accepting applications for up to six seats on the Madison Bikes Board of Directors.

Our organization is committed to the goal of building a culturally diverse and pluralistic board committed to equity in our work. We strongly encourage applications from minorities and women.

The Madison Bikes board is an all-volunteer working board. At a minimum, we expect board members to:

  • Attend our monthly board meetings (6-8pm every third Monday of the month)

  • Participate in one or more of our committees and attend their monthly meetings

  • Have passion for our organization’s vision: Making Madison a city where anyone can ride a bicycle conveniently and comfortably to any place in the city and neighboring communities year round.

Other responsibilities can include:

  • Contributing to our blog

  • Attendance at various city-held meetings (public input meetings, City Council meetings, local and regional transportation committee meetings)

  • Contributing to fundraising and organizational development efforts

If you are interesting in joining our board (or have questions), please send an email with the following information to If you would like to nominate someone other than yourself, please forward this to them and ask them to apply.

  • Full name & email address

  • Why are you interested in joining the Madison Bikes board?

  • What would you bring to the board?

  • Which committee/committees/officer roles interest you?

    • President

    • Vice-president

    • Secretary

    • Treasurer

    • Advocacy Committee

    • Events Committee

    • Communications Committee

  • Have you served on any other non-profit boards/committees (including Madison Bikes) or have similar relevant experience?

  • Do you think you’d bring a perspective or help represent groups that aren’t currently represented by the Madison Bikes board of directors?

  • Anything else you’d like to share with us?

To be considered for our upcoming board elections, please submit your application by 11/24. Note that we will also accept applications on a rolling basis until all our board positions have been filled.

Our executive board will review all application submissions and follow up with all applicants with next steps.

Bike News

Madison Bikes Calendar Highlights (10/23/17)

Last week

The week started out with a meeting of the Madison Bikes Events Committee. Their big focus is the upcoming Winter Bike Fashion Show on December 9. Stay tuned for details and mark the date! Also keep in mind that Madison Bike Bingo is nearing its end. So go out ride, support local businesses, and collect stamps and prizes. If you still need that special events stamp, check the Bike Bingo Facebook page for announcements (and read below about the Spooky Roubaix ride).

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Tour of the Latino Family/El Tour de la Familia Latina (Photo credit: Baltazar De Anda)

Saturday saw both good and disturbing things: The Tour of the Latino Family/El Tour de la Familia Latina had another successful ride, with over 30 people of all ages attending. However, the group was repeatedly harassed during the ride. You can watch the account of Ananda Mirilli, one of the participants, on Facebook.

If you can’t watch the video, here is a transcript of what Ananda has to say:

I was disheartened by the rudeness, the impoliteness. I was reminded of how I am other, even though I’m a citizen, I was reminded of my status as an immigrant. This bike tour is intended to make black and brown folks, people of color, visible on the bike paths, and it was obvious to me that as we’re doing that, we were disturbing people. We had a group of 30+ folks from different age groups, mostly brown folks, a lot of children with us. And as we were biking to the east side, we had people tell us to move, being rude to our children, swearing at us. And those were not cyclists, they were just regular folks, mostly white older women and white older men, just swearing at us and our children, and telling us to get off the path. So if you’re surprised by this, check yourself and think about the times you have actually done something to disrupt Madison normative. And if for whatever reason you don’t belong or you don’t look like the people that you see everywhere—which is mostly white folks—the impact and then resistance for us to become visible. That is a real thing. I was just really sad [‚Ķ] that this happened in front of our children and with our group. We’re going to continue to do that; I’m going to continue to come to the rides. I encourage, if you’re a person of color, please join us. We need more of us, to really disrupt the image of the Madison bike paths. The bike paths are not only for white people, or for white folks who know how to bike. This is for all of us. We need to make sure that we’re visible. Please check yourself and think about the ways you can disrupt the Madison image of whiteness. Thank you.

This is unacceptable. Let us work together to make sure that this does not happen again and people of color can safely ride on Madison’s bike paths and streets. As Ananda says: The bike paths are not only for white people, or for white folks who know how to bike.

This week

Imagine Madison is an initiative to gather public input on the update to Madison’s Comprehensive Plan. The Comprehensive Plan encompasses things such housing, transportation, and parks, and is an important long-term planning tool that will “be an action plan that guides decision making and investment.” This week marks the beginning of phase 3, which aims at prioritizing strategies, identifying ways to implement them, and determining where growth should be prioritized. You can make your voice heard at these three community meetings, each from 6-8pm

  • Monday: the Atrium at Village on Park (2300 S Park St), Atrium Community Room
  • Tuesday: Lussier Community Education Center (55 S Gammon Road)
  • Wednesday: Goodman Community Center (149 Waubesa St)

The Pedestrian/Bicycle/Motor Vehicle Commission has their monthly meeting on Tuesday. Some of the items on the agenda:

  • The Bike Resource Center at the Judge Doyle Square Project. As we’ve reported previously, Freewheel Community Bike Shop is being recommended as the operator.
  • Crazylegs Plaza and Wingra Park: As part of the Monroe Street reconstruction, Crazylegs Plaza and the entrance to Wingra Park are getting redesigned.
  • Updates on the reconstruction of Atwood Avenue and South Gammon Road
  • Reviewing the traffic signal priority list, which determines where the city is going to install traffic lights
  • Presentation of the 2016 Traffic Report (bike count data starts on page 44)

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Plan for a redesigned Crazylegs Plaza near Camp Randall

Both the Madison Bikes Advocacy Committee and the Middleton Pedestrian, Bicycle, and Transit Committee are going to meet on Wednesday. Contact if you’d like to attend the Madison Bikes meeting.

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On Friday night, join Cafe Domestique for the “Scary Roubaix” ride. Meet at 6pm at their shop and ride the Badger State Trail to the Stewart Tunnel south of Belleville. Spooky! This will also be an opportunity to get your Bike Bingo special event stamp. Check out the Madison Bike Bingo Facebook page later this week for details.

Friday also is the date of the Bike Fed’s Saris Gala, their big annual fundraiser at Union South!

And on Saturday, it’s time to Bike the Art again. Meet at 1:30pm at Union South or along their route. More info at

Finally, People for Bikes, a national bike advocacy organization is conducting a community survey to assess how bike friendly cities are. Please participate and offer your opinions on biking in Madison.

Bike News

Winter Bike Fashion Show 2017: Come volunteer!

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Update: Meeting location has changed to Barriques on Atwood.

The Madison Bikes events committee is planning another exciting winter biking fashion show for Saturday, December 9th from 1-4pm at the High Noon Saloon. Are you interested in getting involved and making this another successful winter biking fashion show and another great winter of biking? The come to the next events committee meeting on Monday, October 16 at 6pm at Cafe Domestique on Williamson Street Barriques on Atwood. We’re looking for volunteers to help plan the event, to help with hosting the event (set-up, take down etc), help spreading the word about the fabulous benefits of winter biking and more! We’re also looking for models who are excited to share their stay-warm-winter-biking fashion solutions! If you can’t attend the meeting but would like to get involved, contact our events committee chair Emily: We hope you can join us on Monday!

And check out this report from last year’s show.

Bike News

Madison Bikes Calendar Highlights (9/25/17)

Last Week

Energized by the great success of our Annual Party, the Madison Bikes Events Committee met on Monday and started planning the next big Madison Bikes event: The Winter Bike Fashion Show. Mark the date–December 9, 1-4pm at the High Noon Saloon–and stay tuned for more details. Facebook event

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Winter (Fashion Show) is coming! Really!

The Wisconsin State Legislature finally adopted a budget, and unfortunately it contains bad news for people biking and walking: Local governments will no longer be able to use condemnation (also known as eminent domain) for sidewalks or bike trails. Many of you as well as the Bike Fed spoke out against this provision, but the Governor nonetheless signed the bill. It will remain to be seen just how damaging this will be to projects around Madison, but it seems safe to assume that it will be damaging. The new situation may also trigger a greater discussion about how we allocate scarce space for people in car, bikes, and on foot in a situation where “let’s just widen everything” is no longer an option.

The Common Council passed a resolution that fundamentally reorganizes how transportation projects are planned and decided on. Instead of having a department of transportation with with distributed leadership and multiple commissions, the city would hire a Director of Transportation and replace the commission with a Transportation Policy and Planning Board and a Transportation Commission. Stay tuned for a more in-depth analysis of what this means for biking and transportation in Madison in general.

The Judge Doyle Square Redevelopment was always supposed to include a bicycle center. However, when the city initially requested proposals operations of the center, nobody came forward. Eventually two applicants submitted proposals, and last week the city staff who scored the proposals recommended Freewheel Community Bike Shop (currently on Park Street) as the operator. You can read the city recommendation here, as well news coverage in the Cap Times. As the next step, the Pedestrian/Bicycle/Vehicle Commission will discuss the project at their next meeting (see below).

This week

Mondays Around Monona has a double-celebration: It will be the final ride of the season, and it’ll also be the 10th anniversary of this leisurely loop around the lake. Come celebrate with India of We Are All Mechanics and Madison Bikes! You can also get a special event stamp for your Madison Bike Bingo card.

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Last week’s Mondays Around Monona ride. Join the anniversary ride this Monday.

Also on Monday, Bike Fitchburg has their monthly meeting.

If you want to get your hands dirty, join Capitol Off-Road Pathfinders for their regular Monday evening MTB trail work session in Cross Plains.

On Tuesday, the Pedestrian/Bicycle/Motor Vehicle Commission will have their monthly meeting. On their agenda are an update from Madison Bcycle and on the Crazylegs Triangle Plaza (part of the Monroe Street reconstruction). The Commission will also discuss how to handle abandoned bicycles and the city’s report on the Judge Doyle Square bike center, mentioned above. Full agenda.

On Wednesday, the Middleton Pedestrian, Bike, and Transit Committee has their meeting. Find the agenda here.

And on Sunday you can Ride with RENEW and learn more about renewable energy in Dane County.

For details on any of these events, head to the Madison Bikes calendar. If you have an event that you’d like added, send the details to