Bike News

Weekly Update: Art on paths, walls; bus hearing; BCycle returns

Did you have an opportunity to get out and enjoy the warm (and windy…) weekend on your bike? Well, lots of people did: The bike counters on the the Cap City Trail and SW Path had by far their highest counts of 2020 yesterday:

If you’re a 3-season rider, now may be a great time to dust off that bike of yours and get into the habit of riding again.

This Week

On Wednesday, the Transportation Commission is meeting. One exciting agenda item:

The City is planning to have rainbow pride flags, celebrating the LGTBQ+ community, painted on the pavement at two locations. One location will be up at the top of State Street; the other crosswalks will be on the Cap City Trail at Monona Terrace. Funding will come from donations and grants. The hope is that the crosswalks will be installed in June, ready for Pride Month and Madison Bike Week.

Other items on the agenda:

  • The City is applying for funding from WisDOT for four ped/bike projects. It’s uncertain how many (if any) will be funded, but all would be a nice addition to our low-stress network.
    • Autumn Ridge Path – shared use path between Stein Ave. and STH 30 (east of Stoughton Rd. and west of Swanton Rd.)
    • Tancho Dr. Path – shared use path between Tancho Dr. and STH 151, where there is an existing path and underpass of the highway
    • West Towne Path – extension of shared use path between Commerce Dr. and S. Junction Rd.
    • W. Main St. bike boulevard improvements and E. Main St. and S. Blount St. bicycle and pedestrian improvements.
  • The Commission is also asked to approve routes for the delivery robots that UW Dining is using. The vehicles are generally banned from bike paths, and on sidewalks they’re only allowed on the permitted routes (as well as on the UW campus). Map below.
  • A public hearing about Metro’s proposed changes to their bus routes and stops will start at 6pm. You can find the proposed changes, meant to reduce delays, missed transfer and to speed up service here.

If you want to provide input on any of these items, please submit your comments to Patrick McGuigan.

Sidewalk delivery robot routes

Want to learn how to build bike wheels? It’s a cool skill to have, and not as difficult as you may imagine. The Cargo Bike Shop is hosting a workshop on the topic on Thursday. More information on the Facebook event page.

Looking for a new bike? Bike-O-Rama, “Southern Wisconsin’s Largest Bicycle Sale,” is happening from Friday to Sunday, and there will be lots and lots of bike on display and available for test rides. Free admission at the Alliant Center.

On Sunday, the Madison Bikes Mural Ride is happening! Explore Madison’s many murals on the east side by bike, on a 12-mile or a 5-mile route. Meet at Ian’s Pizza at Garver Feed Mill at 12:30pm.

Coinciding with the mural ride is the return of BCycle on March 15! It’ll be good to have the bike share system back online for the season — and maybe this year we’ll see some more new stations added.

As always, you can find an overview of all bike events on our Community Bike Calendar. Email us at to add your events. And if you value our newsletter and other work, consider donating to Madison Bikes. For construction updates, check out the city’s Bike Madison page.

Bike News

Monday Update: Winter Bike Day, Andersen St, Transpo Commission

Phew, that was more snow than expected! I only went on a short ride earlier on Sunday, and on the fat bike it was slow-but-fun. Be prepared for possibly challenging conditions on Monday, especially on side streets. Once again, I’m really happy that the City has allocated funds to clear the paths on weekends. Our Facebook Community group is a good place to get and discuss the latest info on path conditions.

Last Week

On Monday I had the opportunity to meet with the Wisconsin Bike Fed’s new executive director, Kirsten Finn. We had a good talk about the Bike Feds priorities and how the Bike Fed and Madison Bikes can work together to make biking better for everyone. Stay tuned: We may be hosting a joint event later this spring.

The Transportation Policy and Planning Board approved a resolution that would prohibit personal delivery devices (a.k.a. delivery robots) from operating on city sidewalks except where specifically approved. You may have seen these devices on the UW campus, making food deliveries to residence halls. State law allows the operation of the devices but gives cities the ability to restrict them on sidewalks or bike paths. The ordinance approved at the TPPB meeting only addressed sidewalks.

The TPPB also got the ball rolling on possibly reforming the city’s bike/ped enhancement and the neighborhood traffic management programs. These are pots of money that can be used for smaller infrastructure improvements for people walking and biking, such as speed humps or pavement markings. The current process for deciding which projects are and aren’t funded, and out of which pot of money could probably use some improvement, and the board will work on that for the next couple of months.

News also broke last week that the Judge Doyle Square project — and with that the new Bike Center there — will be delayed by several months. Instead of March, June is now the projected opening date. Big bummer for Freewheel Collective who will be operating the center.

And finally, Madison got a new bike shop: Black Saddle Bikes had their soft opening. They’re located on the north side at 601 N Sherman Ave. Congrats to Black Saddle owner Mitch, who has been around the Madison bike scene for a long time.

This Week

Start your Tuesday with Bike Fitchburg’s Winter Commuter Station. Friday is International Winter Bike to Work Day, and Bike Fitchburg is joining the celebration early. Between 7 and 9 am, come to the bike roundabout at the intersection of the Cannonball, Southwest Path, and Cap City Trail for bagels and coffee.

On Tuesday evening a public input meeting about Anderson St between Wright St and Stoughton Rd is taking place. The project includes sewer work and resurfacing the street, but also a new sidewalk and bike facilities on the south side of the street. This is great news, as currently this is a gap in our low-stress bike network between the Starkweather Creek Path and the Reindahl Path. 6 PM at East Madison Community Center, 8 Straubel Court.

The Transportation Commission is meeting on Wednesday. The agenda is focused mostly on transit matters, such as proposed Metro service changes and a study that will look into how we can reorganize our whole transit system from the ground up. 5 pm, Madison Municipal Building Rm 215. Full agenda here.

As mentioned above, Friday is International Winter Bike to Work Day. Madison Bikes like to emphasize that trips to work are only a small part of all trips that can be done by bike, and so we’ll be celebrating Winter Bike Anywhere Day. Join us at two bike stations from 7 to 9 am: At Law Park near Machinery Row we’ll be serving coffee from Just Coffee and baked goods from Madison Sourdough; and on the west side we’ll be at HotelRED for coffee and sweet treats.

You can also sign up and pledge to ride on Friday on the International Winter Bike to Work Day website. Let’s put Madison on the map!

On Saturday, you head out to the west side Trek Store for a chili cook-off. “Just bring a crockpot of your finest chili into the shop by 1pm, and we’ll all do a taste test and vote for our favorite. The winner will be announced at 2pm. All chili chefs will get a $20 coupon, and the all-time winner will get a $100 Trek gift card.”

As always, you can find an overview of all bike events on our Community Bike Calendar. Email us at to add your events. And if you value our newsletter and other work, consider donating to Madison Bikes. For construction updates, check out the city’s Bike Madison page.

Bike News

Monday Update: Two City meetings, bike swap, Free Bikes 4 Kidz

Happy New Year! 2020 is off to a great start for Madison Bikes: Last Saturday about 75 people of all ages met up at Lakeside Street Coffee House just before sunset. After some coffee and hot chocolate, we rolled over to Olin Park for the final day of Holiday Fantasy in Lights and did two loops before returning to the coffee shop. It was great to see many new faces and a lot of families with kids! Thanks to everyone who joined us. For more great pictures by Mark Renner, go here. And Channel 27 covered the event as well.

This Week

The Transportation Policy and Planning Board (TPPB) is meeting on Monday. The mayor will speak at the meeting about the Metro Forward Initiative, a plan to improve and expand our transit system. Bus Rapid Transit is one component of Metro Forward, but it will probably also include dedicated bus lanes and a reorganization of existing routes and stops. Another agenda item is a review of the Neighborhood Traffic Management & Neighborhood Traffic Safety Program. This program sets the process for how citizens or neighborhood groups can request traffic calming features. The way the program works has led to inequitable outcomes, where similar streets end up with very different levels of traffic calming, and there is no systematic process for prioritizing requests. The full agenda is available here. 5pm, Madison Municipal Building, 215 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. Room 215. If you want to provide written comment, email the chair Tom Wilson:

The capacity of a single 10-foot lane (or equivalent width) by mode at peak conditions with normal operations. (Source: NACTO)

On Wednesday, the Transportation Commission is meeting at 5pm. On the agenda:

  • The service road connecting the Olbrich Gardens parking lot and Garver Feed Mill will get gates to keep errant cars out. The road is open only to people walking and biking, as well as Olbrich service vehicles, but apparently people in cars have been using it as a shortcut. The proposed gates will have an opening in the middle to let bikes through.
  • The commission will receive an update on the University Ave reconstruction plans. Our board member Robbie has published two deep dives into the project, but from an active transportation perspective the main thing about the current plans is: There won’t be bus lanes; there won’t be bike lanes on this stretch of University Ave. If you have opinions on this, let the Commission know.
  • Full agenda here.
  • To provide written comment, email

Need a new-to-you bike? Or want to get rid of one? Saturday provides you with opportunities for both:

The big annual Brazen Dropouts bike swap is happening at the Alliant Center’s New Holland Pavilion from 9am to 2pm. It looks like you can still sign up for a vendor spot. Madison Bikes will have a table to talk bike advocacy in Madison — make sure to say hi! The swap is a great opportunity to buy a used bike or bike components and accessories.

If you want to get rid of bikes: Free Bikes 4 Kidz Madison (FB4K) is having their big bike collection day. FB4K is a non-profit that collect unwanted bikes, refurbishes them, and then provides them for free to kids and families in our community. From 9am to 1pm you can drop off bikes at Unity Point Meriter clinic locations all around Madison. If you want to volunteer at the pick-up event or later, sign up here.

As always, you can find an overview of all bike events on our Community Bike Calendar. Email us at to add your events. And if you value our newsletter and other work, consider donating to Madison Bikes. For construction updates, check out the city’s Bike Madison page.

Bike News

Madison Bike(s) Highlights 2019

By the time many of you will get to read this, it will already be 2020. On behalf of our board, I wish you a Happy New Year! And what better start into a new year than to reflect on what has happened in 2019. Here are my personal reflections on everything Madison, bikes, and Madison Bikes.


One may think that January is a quiet month for biking in Madison. But in 2019, it started out with a big Madison Bikes event: We had a visitor from Berlin (Germany), Dirk von Schneidemesser. Dirk grew up in Madison but moved to Europe and was one of the key people involved in Berlin’s bike referendum. In our event at HotelRED, “From Madison to Berlin and Back: Civic Activism for a More Livable City,” Dirk described how the non-profit Changing Cities was able to mobilize for a referendum that would have binding rules for safe and comfortable bike infrastructure, collecting over 100,000 signatures in less than a month! You can read a recap of the event here. I can only speak for myself, but I was really inspired by the Berlin story and have kept thinking about whether and how similar advances would be possible in Madison.

January also marked a significant change for the leadership of Madison Bikes. Grant Foster, the very person who instigated Madison Bikes and had been the organization’s president from the beginning, decided to step down and instead focus on running for the District 15 seat on the Common Council instead. I can’t say enough about how important Grant was for Madison Bikes, and I’m glad that he continues to be on our board! The new leadership of Madison Bikes: Yours truly, with Heather Pape as vice president.


Local elections were on many people’s minds in February, and Madison Bikes took part in education and informing voters about the mayoral race. (As a 501(c)(3) organization we are not endorsing or advocating for candidates.) In January we co-sponsored a candidate forum, and in February we sent out a questionnaire with bike- and transportation-related questions to all candidates for mayor. It was heartening to see that all but two candidates took the time to respond to our questions. In the February primary, Paul Soglin and Satya Rhodes-Conway received the most votes and made the ballot for the general election in April.

Our other main focus for the month was Winter Bike Week. From February 1 to 8, every day we and our partners hosted events to celebrate and promote year-round biking. Unfortunately (but perhaps unsurprisingly), the weather tried its best to sabotage our efforts. Yes, there is no bad weather, just bad clothing — until you have a week that has everything from freezing rain to days with wind chill temperatures of -25F. Still, we were out there, and some of you were out there too. Kudos to everyone who braved the conditions. This year we’re going to try something a little different to promote winter biking, starting with our Holiday Fantasy in Lights Family Ride on January 4.


Madison Bikes is only piece of the bike ecosystem of Madison. Two other orgs had an eventful March: Free Bikes 4 Kidz Madison finished their third season and gave away 1400 free bikes. Our board and volunteers contributed to this in a tiny, tiny way by having a volunteer session to help clean and fix bikes. This year’s FB4K season has just started, and we plan on having another volunteer season in the coming weeks.

Freewheel Bicycle Collective had a big March as well: They were selected as the operator for the future Judge Doyle Square Bicycle Center. The center, which will likely open later in 2020, will feature secure bike parking, showers, repair space, and a new, more central location for Freewheel to host its classes.

And this very blog you’re reading also had an exciting moment in March: Our new board member Steph published her first “Biking with Steph” column!

And while all these things were happening in the open, behind the scenes maybe the most important thing for Madison Bikes in 2019 happened: After hosting Madison Bike Week for many years, the Bike Fed asked us whether we wanted to take over the event. Knowing how much went into organizing a week-long event and given that we had less than three months to pull it all off, it wasn’t an easy decision. But because Madison Bike Week is such an important part of biking in Madison, we said “yes”! More on Madison Bike Week below.


Did everything change in April? Probably not. But from the perspective of a bike advocate, certainly a lot of things did change in Madison on April 2, 2019. Madison elected a new mayor, and 9 out of the 20 seats on the Common Council were filled by new Alders — one of them being our board member Grant, representing District 15. I was cautiously optimistic back then that new leadership would be a good thing for active transportation in Madison, and I continue to be optimistic. Of course, we still have a long way to go to move away from car-focused planning, and we still need advocates to push, push, and push. But I think April was a start into the right direction.

Maybe one example from April that exemplifies how things are moving the right way but aren’t quite there yet is the Wilson Street corridor study. Wilson Street, which is a crucial downtown gap in our low-stress bike network, was a major advocacy focus for us in 2018. While we didn’t succeed in getting the city to commit to adding protected bike facilities on West Wilson, the Common Council tasked the Department of Transportation to conduct a corridor study. That corridor study looked at connections to the Capitol Square from a larger perspective, and in April 2019 the Department of Transportation published their interim recommendations. The recommendations included many improvements for people on bikes. But they also still included many compromises because of a hesitation to remove car parking or tolerate a couple more seconds of delay for people driving through the area. Nothing has been finalized yet and construction won’t start before 2020 or later. So it remains to be seen how far we as a city have come in prioritizing people walking and biking.


In my recollection, all we did in May was rushing to get ready for Madison Bike Week. But of course that’s not quite true. 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 members Pete and Jim, 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.

Bikes and buses make for a great combination

May was also the month when planning for Madison’s future Bus Rapid Transit system really picked up. This clearly had been one of the big election topic, and with a mayor strongly committed to improving transit in Madison, the city put many resources into making BRT a reality. An integrated transportation system beyond cars is important for everyone, and bus rapid transit can work well in combination with biking and walking. This topic will be with us for years to come, and for 2020 Madison Bikes is going to make a push to drive a conversation about how BRT can best work together with biking.


What can I say? June was Bike Week, and it was great. Some of my personal highlights:

  • Working with all the amazing partners we had. Sponsors who contributed financially, bike station hosts, local non-profits that helped us spread the word or tabled at our events, all the volunteers, and of course Renee Callaway at the City!
  • Producing Madison Bike Week TV with Liz: All we had was an idea: Wouldn’t it be nice to have short videos about what is happening each day of Madison Bike Week? No script, no rehearsal, no experience, all shot in one afternoon in Liz’s backyard.
  • Speaking in front of the Common Council when they officially pronounced Madison Bike Week in a resolution
  • The Fetch the Keg ride: For our Friday party, one of the beer sponsors was the Hop Garden in Paoli. How would we get the beer from Paoli to Madison? Of course by bike!
  • Riding with the mayor: To kick off Madison Bike Week, Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway and several members of the Common Council joined us on a big group ride to city hall for a press conference.

Another June highlight was the launch of an all-electric BCycle bike share system. Madison BCycle replaced its entire fleet with e-assist bikes, and the launch was a big success. Some of our board members joined the launch ride around the Capitol, and our former board member Hank wrote a detailed review of the bikes and system.


It took us a little bit to recover from Bike Week. In July we ran a successful fundraising campaign in support of the new Pinney Library. We think books and bikes go together really well, and the new Pinney Library will be in a very bike-friendly location. For that reason the Madison Public Library Foundation ran a “Rack-Raising” campaign. Instead of the traditional model where you “buy” a brick for a new building, your donation was signified by a personalized bike rack. We were able to raise $1000 for the library — thanks to everyone who donated! We’ll have some news to share about this in the next week or two. Stay tuned.


August started with a great event that Madison Bikes co-sponsored. Just Bikes!, Madison’s bike equity coalition, invited renowned mobility justice scholar and advocate Dr. Adonia Lugo to Madison. After a bike ride through Madison’s south side, Lugo gave a book talk about “Locating ourselves in Mobility Justice: Planning for multiracial and just future streets.” If you want to learn more about her work, I recommend reading her book “Bicycle/Race.”

Two exciting new bike infrastructure projects came online in August: In Shorewood Hills the Blackhawk Path opened. The path closes a gap of the University Ave/Campus Drive corridor, where previously bikes had to detour through Marshall Court. On the isthmus, the first stage of construction of the John Nolen/Williamson/Blair/Wilson (a.k.a. The Hairball) intersection was completed. While the intersection is still constructed in a way that prioritizes motor vehicle throughput over everything else, the project did bring some nice improvements for people on bikes, such as the much widened bike path in front of Machinery Row and a new protected two-way bike lane on Blount.

Blackhawk path video


I talked about change in the city earlier, and this fall we saw two more indicators of this change: Our board member Baltazar de Anda Santana was appointed to the city’s Transportation Policy and Planning Board, and yours truly was appointed to the Transportation Commission.

One of the jobs of a local bike advocate is to be critical of the status quo and to often focus on the negative. So it is nice every once in a while to be reminded of the good things we have in our city. In September a delegation from the Wasatch Front Range region in Utah came to town because from their perspective Madison is a biking success story. We were very happy to organize the event and show our visitors around on a bike tour and connect them with local planners, elected officials, and advocates.


The focus of October was the city budget. To paraphrase a well-known quote: What a city truly values is reflected in its budget. Yes, there are many other important levers that we need to pull on to improve active transportation, and most bike infrastructure is ridiculously cheap when compared to, say, expanding the Beltline. But this year’s budget had many important — and sometimes controversial — pieces that will help make transportation in Madison better. We contributed to the discussion by writing explainer blog posts about the wheel tax, encouraging you to write in about Vision Zero and 7-day-a-week clearing of our arterial multi-use paths.


The advocacy efforts of October came to fruition in November. The Common Council passed a budget that from my perspective was overwhelmingly good: Funding for bus rapid transit and a study to reorganize our existing Metro bus network, to improve our most dangerous intersections, and to keep our paths clear of ice and snow seven days a week. The path clearing project had been something that we had been working on for several years, and so it was a great success to see it finally come to fruition! Thanks to everyone who has supported us in this.

Photo: Dan Stout

Speaking of winter, November also saw us host another edition of the Winter Bike Fashion Show, an event to encourage and educate people to try riding in the cold season. We had great models and a record attendance! Lots of pictures in this post.

Another exciting thing in November: A new, parking-protected bike lane opened on Bassett Street. Instead of having parked cars on the curb and a bike lane between the parked cars and the regular travel lane, parked cars and a buffer create a protected bike lane on these two blocks of Bassett. This is the first parking-protected bike lane in Madison, and the city is conducting a year-long test, which hopefully will lead to a wider adoption around the city.


December is a time of reflection. One result of that reflection was that we decided to do a strategic planning exercise next year. Madison Bikes has been around since 2016, and we feel that it’s a good time to check in what we have achieved so far and where we’re going to go in the couple years. How do we prioritize what we work on? Is an all-volunteer model sustainable in the long term? (And if it isn’t: what are the alternatives?) What are some achievable, measurable goals for the next 1, 5, or 10 years for our organization? I’m excited to explore these questions and continue to build on the past four years of great work that we’ve been doing.

December is also the time of our board election. I’m sad to see some of our previous board members leave: A big thanks to Steph, Jake, Kate, and Pepe for your time with us! We will miss you! And I’m excited to welcome our new board members. We’ll introduce them on our blog in January.

Ah, and one last thing: There are many ways to support Madison Bikes, and one of them is by supporting us financially. If you appreciate what we’re doing, please consider making a donation to us. We appreciate any support you can offer, no matter how small. Thanks!

Bike News

Monday Update: Cannonball, Winter Biking, Global Fat Bike Day

We hope you all had an enjoyable Thanksgiving Weekend! Yours truly stayed in town, ate Tofurkey, and on Sunday braved the horrible weather to go for a bike ride. While I certainly prefer riding in nicer weather, being outside always makes me feel better, even in sleet and rain and snow. Speaking of, many of this week’s bike events are about winter riding.

On Wednesday at noon, the UW’s University Bicycle Resource center offers a Ride Through Winter workshop: “Tips on biking through the winter including lessons learned from a winter bicycling veteran. Suggestions for clothing and other gear plus basic winter maintenance tips and available resources. Class taught by UW Bicycle/Pedestrian Coordinator Chuck Strawser. Free Planet Bike blinky light set to the first five (5) attendees. Bring a brown bag lunch! All events are free and are held at the University Bicycle Resource Center in the Helen C. White Garage (Lot 6) at 600 N. Park Street, unless otherwise noted. There is no registration required. Classes are first come, first served (limit 20 people per event).” If you missed the Winter Bike Fashion Show, this is a great opportunity to make up for it. Starts at noon.

Later on Wednesday, a public input meeting on the next (and possibly final) phase of the Cannonball Path will take place. The path currently ends at Fish Hatchery Road, with no low-stress connection from there to the Wingra Creek Path. Initial plans to continue the path along the railroad line have faced a number of hurdles, and the City is now seeking input on how to close this gap. One proposed option is to build a multi-use path along Fish Hatchery Road; the other is to further pursue the railroad alignment. 6 pm at Wright Middle School, Library Media Center, 1717 Fish Hatchery Road. More info on the project page.

On Friday evening, the MTB advocates from Capital City Offroad Pathfinders (CORP) are having their annual meeting at Slow Roll Cycles on the east side. After a short business part, there will be “food and drink to show our appreciation for our members and volunteers, a review of 2019’s highlights and plans for 2020, and the awarding of the coveted Volunteer of the Year Award.” Starts at 5:30pm, 4118 Monona Dr.

On Saturday it’s Global Fat Bike Day. You can join CORP and Bell Joy Ride for some fat bike fun at the Camrock trails in Cambridge if (and that’s a big if!) the trails are dry or frozen. Make sure to check the event page right before you head out there.

Finally, if you missed the Winter Bike Fashion Show and Wednesday winter biking workshop at UW, there’s one more opportunity to learn about winter riding. Freewheel Bicycle Collective is hosting a “Winter Biking Workshop with Eric” on Saturday. Eric? Yeah, that Eric, one of our Fashion Show models:

Photo: Dan Stout

Workshop starts at noon, more info here. 1804 S Park Street, #5.

As always, you can find an overview of all bike events on our Community Bike Calendar. Email us at to add your events. And if you value our newsletter and other work, consider donating to Madison Bikes. For construction updates, check out the city’s Bike Madison page.

Bike News

Winter Bike Fashion 2019: Photos!

Just before it got really, really cold, the 9th edition of the Winter Bike Fashion Show took place on November 2. With record attendance of 125 people, we had a successful event. An edutainment event in the best sense, twelve people from the community who already bike in the winter, shared their knowledge and showed off their outfits to those who aren’t yet riding in the winter. Our awesome photography crew — Dan Stout and Mark Renner — produced these great shots of the event. Still to come: video of the Q&A for those who couldn’t make it.

Thanks to our models, event volunteers, Natalie Kuehn for designing the flyer, the High Noon Saloon for hosting us, Teddywedgers for feeding us pasties, and the local businesses who donated door prizes: Bloom Bake Shop, Cafe Domestique, The Cargo Bike Shop, EVP Coffee, Fitchburg Cycles, Planet Bike, Slow Roll Cycles, and Saris.

For lots more pictures, check out Dan’s or Mark’s full albums.

Brittingham Boats and Planet Bike let us borrow their bike racks. Subtle hint to the High Noon Saloon: You need more racks! (Photo: Dan Stout)

Gina, one of our great volunteers at the event (Photo: Dan Stout)

Our board member Baltazar introducing the MC. He had also led a group ride to the Show from Monona Terrace.

Our MC for the night, Luis LuckyVoy Martinez, and our board member Liz (Photo: Dan Stout)

Our first model, Eric, who works at Freewheel Community Bike Shop and will soon hold his own winter biking workshop there. When it’s really cold, he resorts to wearing a motorcycle helmet (Photo: Dan Stout)

Terry is in her 60s and has been car-free for many years. She bikes year-round. (Photo: Dan Stout)

We were super excited to have Yang Tao as a model. When he’s not on stage as a model, he’s Madison City Traffic Engineer. He’s been winter-biking in Madison for 16 years! (Photo: Dan Stout)

Our board member Elysha and her daughter Abby are veterans of the Winter Bike Fashion Show. Watch out for them when they ride around all winter in their family cargo bike or on their own single bikes.

Tim–uh, I mean “Yukon Cornelius” riding in on his sled! (Photo: Mark Renner)

Alder Grant Foster (District 15) and our board member Pete informing attendees about a city budget amendment that would expand snow and ice clearing from 5 to 7 days a week. (Photo: Dan Stout)

Our photo booth had great accessories: Snotcicles, ice beard, foggy glasses (Photo: Dan Stout)

Photo: Dan Stout

Beth and her winter commuter bike. She bikes from the east side to her job on the west side, and she “refuses to let weather determine my happiness” (Photo: Dan Stout)

Caleb’s secret weapon for winter biking: Electric gloves! (Photo: Dan Stout)

One model, Nick, failed to wear his winter biking outfit! Or did he? No, in his velomobile he is protected from the elements and can get away with just wearing a sweater. (Photo: Dan Stout)

Winter biking can (but doesn’t have to be) expensive. Carlton talks about how as a grad student on a limited budget he slowly accumulated and refined his gear over time.

Heather and her three kids (who were slightly distracted by the velomobile…)

When Andy isn’t busy running his bike shop in Lake Mills or Free Bikes 4 Kidz Madison, he does recreational rides, no matter the season.

Michael has been doing the winter bike thing since the 1990s. Not only does he ride for transportation; he also has participated in exploits like the Triple-D, a 70-mile offroad bike race in Iowa in the depths of winter.

Q&A with the models. I believe the question was how to deal with snot…

Renowned local artists Jenn and Nicole had painted bike-themed winter scenes that helped us raise over $300 in the silent auction.

Let’s end with some pics of the audience and more volunteers:

Happy Winter Biking!

Bike News

Action Alert: Path clearing, Vision Zero

The Common Council is going to finalize the city’s operating and capital budgets this week, starting on Tuesday. That means it’s time again to make your voice heard for biking, walking, and traffic safety. There are two items below that could use your voice.

  1. Thanks in no small part to your response to our previous action alert, a budget amendment to clear our arterial shared use paths such as the Cap City and SW Path clear of ice and snow 7 days a week passed at the Finance Committee. However, now Alders Moreland (District 7) and Tierney (District 16) have proposed an amendment that would eliminate that funding (among other things such as funding for bus rapid transit positions and more staffing at Pinney Library). Please contact your district’s Alder and the whole Common Council to oppose cutting the funding for path clearance.
  2. In the capital budget, there is an amendment to allocate $350,000 to “advance the implementation of Vision Zero, which seeks to eliminate all severe injury and fatal crashes on City streets.” Vision Zero is an approach to traffic safety that views every crash as preventable, that looks at the problem from a systemic perspective, and that acknowledges that humans will make errors, but builds a “forgiving” system that means those errors don’t lead to people getting killed or injured. Many US cities such as Milwaukee, Chicago, and New York have adopted Vision Zero, and this funding would help us jumpstart Vision Zero in Madison as well.

How to contact your alder? The easiest way is to email to This will distribute your email to all members of the Council. Alternatively you can use this contact form. If you don’t know who your Alder is, you can find out here. We recommend sending your email to all Alders. Please also include your full name and your address so that Alders know you actually live in their district. Please send your email before noon on Tuesday, November 12.

The emails don’t have to be long–the alders will thank your for being brief–but it helps to put them in your own words and say why this is important to you. Below is sample language, but we suggest you add a sentence or two of your own.

“I oppose the removal of funding from the operating budget for snow and ice control on arterial shared use paths adopted by Finance Committee amendment #21: $65,000, as proposed as part of operating budget amendment 1b.”

“I support the capital budget amendment 19, which would allocate funding “to advance the implementation of Vision Zero, which seeks to eliminate all severe injury and fatal crashes on City streets.”

Bike News

Winter Bike Fashion Show on the radio!

Our board member Pepe and two of our volunteer models for the Winter Bike Fashion made an appearance on local radio station WORT this morning. If you missed it, you can listen to the segment here (if the embedded player doesn’t appear, try this link:

We hope to see you and your friends this Saturday at the High Noon Saloon! You can get a preview of some of our models on our Facebook page:

Bike News

Monday Update: Tired of ‘cross yet? Sorry, there’s more

Madison Bikes had a great time at the Science Fair on the Square last Friday.

First things first: If you missed our action alert yesterday: There still a little bit of time to send an email to the City’s finance committee and support a budget amendment that would expand winter path maintenance. Find all the details in yesterday’s post.

Some construction updates (for a complete list of updates go to the Bike Madison newsletter linked at the bottom of the post):

  • Many of you have been wondering when the traffic signals at the new Willy/Blount diagonal crossing would be turned out. Well, there’s been small progress, and at this point the lights are flashing. According to the Bike Madison newsletter, they should be fully functional by the end of this week.
  • Starting next week, there will be a detour on the SW Path. Reconstruction of a culvert will close the path east of Midvale until the end of the year. The detour will be via a temporary protected bike lane on Midvale, Yuma, and Council Crest.

On Monday and Wednesday, there will be Open Houses about the proposed Wisconsin River Recreation Bridge in Sauk City. The Monday one is from 6:30 – 8:30pm at Wisconsin Heights High School in Mazomanie. The Wednesday meeting is also from 6:30 – 8:30pm at River Arts Center (Sauk Prairie School District), 105 9th St., Prairie Du Sac. More info on the project on Facebook.

On Wednesday, it’s your last change to attend the Cyclocross Practice series organized by Madison Parks, Capitol Off Road Pathfinders, L5 and Neff Cycling. Starts at 5pm in Marshall Park.

This Friday is the last Friday of the month, which around the world is the day for Critical Mass. After a successful Critical Mass as part of the Climate Strike, there has been interest in making it a regular event. Meets at 6pm at the beer garden in Olbrich Park.

On Saturday, there’s another cyclocross race. Come to Angell Park in Sun Prairie for this year’s CrossFire race. Includes costumes, a kid’s race, and free entries for first-time cyclocross racers.

As always, you can find an overview of all bike events on our Community Bike Calendar. Email us at to add your events. And if you value our newsletter and other work, consider donating to Madison Bikes. For construction updates, check out the city’s Bike Madison page.

Bike News

Action Alert: Keeping our paths accessible 7 days a week

It’s city budget season in Madison, and we want to alert you of a budget amendment that would greatly improve winter maintenance on our major shared use paths.

What’s the current situation? On primary paths, such as the Cap City or the Southwest Path, snow will usually be cleared by 7am from Monday on Friday. Smaller paths and trails will be cleared by 4:30pm, also only Monday to Friday. On the weekend and on holidays, snow and ice clearing depend on staff availability, which often means no clearing happens.

Why is this a problem? Those of us walk, roll, and bike on the paths during the winter know all too well what the consequence of not clearing the path 7 days a week can be. The immediate impact is that if you have to rely on paths on the weekend to get to work, run errands, or reach your nearest Metro stop, you’re often out of luck. What’s worse: Not clearing the snow for more than 48 hours (or 72 hours if it’s a long holiday weekend) means that snow will be compacted, rutted, or have turned into ice by the time the plows and sweepers come around. This greatly reduces the effectiveness of the clearing operations and can have negative impacts for many days or even weeks to come. If we want bicycles to be a viable transportation option in Madison, we can’t focus only on weekday 9-5 commuters.

What is proposed? The amendment to the city’s operating budget, sponsored by Alder Kemble and co-sponsored by Alder Foster, would allocate additional funding for snow clearing. This would allow Engineering and Parks staff to increase service on weekends and holidays so that clearing on arterial paths can occur within 12 hours after a winter event, weekday, weekend and holiday alike.

What you can do? If you think clearing the path 7 days a week is a good idea, consider sending an email to the Finance Committee, supporting budget amendment 4 (“Snow & Ice Control on Arterial Shared Use Paths”). The Committee meets tomorrow (Monday, 10/21), and so submit your comments ASAP. To help members of the committee understand the importance of keeping the paths clear and accessible 7 days a week, it can be helpful to share your own experience, whether you’re walking or riding on the paths in winter. Do you rely on biking and walking as your primary means of transportation? Have you had a crash because of snow and ice on our paths? Is it difficult for you to get to your job because have to work on weekends? Are there specific problem spots that you regularly encounter on the primary and secondary paths? After all, if you own a home in Madison, you are expected to keep your sidewalks clear of snow and ice all week. It’s hard to argue that different rules should apply to the City.

Who to send your email to? Below are the members of the Finance Committee. It’s also a good idea to include your district’s alder, as ultimately the whole Common Council will vote on the budget. You can find out who your alder is here.,,,,,,