Bike News

Candidate Questionnaires Responses

The primary for Madison mayor happened on February 19. To inform and educate the electorate, Madison Bikes has asked all candidates in the election four questions related to biking and transportation in Madison. Madison Bikes is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and does not endorse or oppose any candidate for political office. All responses are reproduced unedited and in full. Nick Hart and Toriana Pettaway did not respond to our requests.

More information on how to vote can be found on the City Clerk’s website:

Additional information on the candidates’ positions on transportation can be found in the transcript of an in-person candidate forum that Madison Bikes co-hosted.

Paul Soglin and Satya Rhodes-Conway received the most votes in the primary and will be on the ballot for the general election on April 2. Responses from the other candidates are at the bottom of this page.

Question 1

Concerns about car parking have been a major obstacle when it comes to a shift in our transportation system. Removing on-street parking is often necessary to build dedicated bus lanes, protected bike lanes, or safer pedestrian crossings. As mayor, what would your policy be toward trading on-street parking for safer and better active transportation options?

Satya Rhodes-Conway

Our transportation system should focus on people – on getting you where you need to be, safely and efficiently – not on vehicles. In part, that means finding a better balance between modes, and prioritizing the use of public right of way for modes that serve a higher density of people, like transit. That will inevitably mean using curb space for things other than parking.

I will also prioritize using tools like dynamic pricing and other regulation of parking to better manage demand and encourage the use of non-SOV modes, wherever it makes sense. I would like to move towards a full transportation demand management approach like San Francisco is using (and LA is developing), including making it easier to find available parking, and using level of service measurements that reflect pedestrian, bicycle, and transit use instead of just cars. We also need to evaluate off-street parking requirements that impact the amount of driving. And we should look at our curb management policies, including neighborhood parking permits, with a goal of balancing parking demand, infill development, and encouraging multi-modal transportation.

The long-term success of our transportation system depends on shifting away from single-occupancy vehicles, and moving toward zero-carbon transportation modes.

Paul Soglin

For the purposes of mobility, the Madison roadway is shared by traditional motor vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, and in the future, possibly motorized ped scooters and rail. There will be increased demand particularly for protected bike lanes and dedicated bus lanes. This demand will result in examination of both on street parking lanes and motor vehicle lanes.

In every instance,  the determination will be made by a number of variables which will include the various modal demands for the space and the availability of off street parking. We will also examine the uses of right-of-way in adjacent parallel streets.

Question 2

As many other cities, Madison has many inequities when it comes to transportation. Poorer neighborhoods and neighborhoods with a higher proportion of people of color often lack access to good transit, safe walking and biking, or to green space. On the other hand, these are often the neighborhoods were people are least able to afford a car. How are you going to address these inequities in transportation access?

Satya Rhodes-Conway

Racial equity should be at the heart of every decision we make as a city.

One of my top priorities will be finally implementing Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) in the Madison region. In addition to BRT, we must increase the number of neighborhoods serviced by Metro and the hours they’re serviced. We must also focus on providing transit to key employment sites, and for folks that don’t work 9-5, and keeping transit affordable. All of our transit investments should help build complete – and green – streets that are safe for people, no matter how they travel.

Paul Soglin

The city is presently undergoing a review of transportation equity, particularly as it relates to the highest priority that affects the most people: public transit. Under my administration, we have already gone through a review of two transit demands which led to the implementation of brand new service to Owl Creek and increased service for Route 80.

As we plan for Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) a new analysis is underway in regards to the planning of routes.  Traditionally routes were planned based on demand from one location to another. The result was this: the greater demand for service at a specific a location, the more frequent the service and there was an effort to reduce the timing of the trip.  The new analysis will look at equitable service to all points in the Madison Metro service area.

Question 3

Forty years ago, over sixty percent of school children in the US walked or rode a bicycle to school. Today, that figure is less than ten percent. This decline in bicycling and walking and physical activity in general) has been mirrored by dramatic increases in negative health impacts for kids. What would you do to reverse this trend?

Satya Rhodes-Conway

The city needs to work with MMSD to increase participation in walking or biking to school.  We need to build the infrastructure to create safe routes to schools, and encourage programs like walking school busses, and education for families about the health and safety benefits of walking, biking, and taking transit. I would like to look at providing free bus passes to high school students, like other cities do, both to make it easier for them to get around, and to create a generation of bus riders. All this will help improve the health of kids, and will also ease congestion around drop off/pick up zones providing greater safety for kids.

Paul Soglin

We are collaborating with the federal government and Madison public schools on our Safe Routes to School initiative that installs and maintains safe biking and walking paths near elementary and middle schools.  We know additional exercise can improve a student’s academic performance.

We are also committed to, and creating, walkable neighborhoods which encourage more activity. We regularly install and repair sidewalks in neighborhoods to promote active lifestyles as well as pedestrian and bicycle safety.  We install sidewalks with new developments.

Our Parks Department has a program called Connecting Kids to Nature. City Staff work through the summer with interns in challenged neighborhoods and directly with children helping them explore, learn and appreciate the out-of-doors.

In addition, Madison City Parks have many types of playgrounds, bike and walking paths.  We have bike racks for safe storage of bikes at many of our City parks. And, we continue to invest millions in bike paths providing connections throughout the entire city in a safe manner.

We are also expanding our shared bikes program throughout the City to encourage and enable bike ridership for residents and visitors of all ages.

Question 4

The percentage of people biking in Madison has been stagnating at around five percent for the past ten years. Where would you like that number to be in 2025 and how are you going to get us there? How many miles of protected bike lanes will the city have built by the end of your first term?

Satya Rhodes-Conway

Madison has a solid base on which to build an even stronger cycling presence. Increasing the mode share of bicycling will be critical in meeting our climate goals. As Mayor, I will:

  • work to fill the gaps in the bike path system

  • increase investment in infrastructure that supports cyclists of all ages and abilities, including protected lanes

  • make sure that cycling infrastructure is integrated with our bus rapid transit system

  • work on managing traffic speeds, through design and enforcement, to make streets safer for all modes of travel

Paul Soglin

Madison is a Platinum Bike Community. This is a highly coveted national recognition that examines all aspects of our biking facilities and opportunities.  The majority of the developments and projects in the city that resulted in this award were created under my leadership.

The city currently has roughly 100 miles of protected bike trails to take residents and visitors to all areas of the city and beyond.  We continue to engage with BCycle, a bike share program, which is expanding every year.  My goal is to provide those bikes in more challenged neighborhoods as well.

We are continuing to provide additional biking opportunities in every budget.  For example, in 2019 we are adding an additional two miles of protected bike expressway near County M on Madison’s west side.  This project includes underpasses and other safety options which will make this a wonderful opportunity, not only for commuters to the new UW research park but also to Epic and other far west side jobs.  This is also a great path for families and individuals biking for recreation.  In fact, these connections can take a biker all the way to Dodgeville.

Under my leadership the city has hired a Director of Transportation who is overseeing biking projects and opportunities.  He is working with city staff and residents to consider the most sustainable manner to proceed with any transportation project, mass transit, biking, peds and motorists.  We will continue to engage with the community and users on every project.

Question 1

Mo Cheeks

As our city continues to grow and diversify, maintaining the character of neighborhoods is an important goal to have. As our population grows, especially on the isthmus, the need to support transit modes other than cars will become critical. As mayor, I will continue to support increasing access to safe pedestrian, bicycling, and bus options across our city. And in some cases, this may cause discussion about whether to protect the character of a neighborhood’s existing street. My commitment is to evaluate these on a case-by-case basis and weigh the priorities of the neighbors and the priorities of commuters fairly.

Raj Shukla

Communities that have made progress toward better active transportation options prioritize moving people over moving vehicles. That is the policy here in Madison but recent actions by the mayor contradict that position. I would have supported the Common Council decision (Option 2) on the Winnebago reconstruction, which would have prioritized safe walking, biking and tree canopy over street-based car storage.

It’s also important, less as a matter of policy and more as a matter of public education, to demonstrate the economic benefits of active transportation. The public health and environmental benefits of active transportation have real dollars and cents implications for the city. Cyclists and pedestrians benefit local businesses too! Some studies show that bike/walk-in customers spend more, in aggregate, than customers who drive. Before any reconstruction effort, I would support a retail study identifying customer transportation “mode” to get a sense of how people are getting to stores, and how we might best support a transition to active transportation methods without undue burden to businesses.

Active transportation is something we should encourage among the youngest city residents. We should explore designating schools and parks as “move safe” zones that protect young people as they bike or walk to school. This may include adjusting school drop-off points and creating vehicle-free buffers around schools and parks where people can bike and walk in safety. Pedestrian islands, wide sidewalks, plazas and bike lanes are all part of an environment that make walking and cycling better, safer options.

Question 2

Mo Cheeks

Having spent the past six years representing the most socioeconomically diverse district on the City Council, I’ve personally addressed this issue to much success. In my first month on the Council, I successfully fought to save Metro route 18 from being removed as a casualty of the Verona Road reconstruction project. In this case, neighbors in Allied were informed that they would lose this route that served their neighborhood, and that they could get by with less frequent bus service.

Likewise, I spent four years working to establish Allied Park. I’m proud to have brought beautiful green space to a historically marginalized neighborhood while offering innovative amenities like free WiFi in the park.

I’m proud to have fought for my neighbors and to have successfully championed access to transportation and green space for a neighborhood that historically faces deep inequalities. I have a track record of demonstrating results while working to reduce
disparities. As Mayor, I will continue this across the city.

Raj Shukla

We must move towards fare-free transit and expand our service.

The bus is not just an “option” for many people. It is a necessity. Many people can’t afford a car. Others aren’t able to drive because of age, disability or medical concerns. We need to look at our transit system as an extension of our roads, not as an alternatives to cars. [emphasis in original]

People who use transit save an annual average of $10,000 over those who drive. This impacts everyone– the single parent, families, people of color, people like my daughter who may not be able to drive, the 20% of Wisconsin’s seniors who do not drive, and our young college graduates who say they would be more likely to stay here if they could get around without driving.

Better transit brings more businesses and people to our city, and we can increase our transit in a green way that is healthy for our citizens and our environment. I support developing a Bus Rapid Transit system and Transit Oriented Development as a long term strategy. In the short term, we should explore system changes to better accommodate the needs of those who rely on transit most.

I also favor expanding protected bike lanes by 5 miles in the city — prioritizing connections between those parts of the city with the least access right now to existing infrastructure.

Question 3

Mo Cheeks

As a parent of two young children, the health and safety of our youngest residents are of utmost importance to me. My daughter Hannah who is 3, cherishes riding her little green balance bike. I support Madison School District’s plans to invest in establishing more “community schools,” which I expect will facilitate more kids walking to school.

As Mayor, I will prioritize the public health of the youth of our city. Cost should not be a barrier to anyone, particularly a school-age child, having access to healthy activities like walking, biking, or enjoying our lakes. As Mayor, I will work to ensure there are more healthy and free activities for young people in our city.

Raj Shukla

As the father of 3 daughters, I want them to be active and healthy. I also want them to be safe. As a year-round bike commuter, I know first-hand that Madison must make significant improvements before I would want my girls riding their bikes to school.

I do think that we can make steps in the right direction. Moving to fare-free transit with increased service will remove more cars from our streets. We can increase the number of bike boulevards, protected bike lanes and bike paths surrounding areas where kids frequent– schools and parks. I also think we would have to take a hard look at drop off zones at schools and separate them from bike egress. We should explore designating schools and parks as “move safe” zones that protect young people as they bike or walk to school. This may include adjusting drop-off points at schools and creating vehicle-free buffers around schools and parks where kids (and adults!) can bike and walk in safety.

We need to decrease traffic and reduce speeds as well. The faster drivers are going, the more likely they are to kill or gravely injure kids (and adults!) they might hit. Traffic-calming measures such as speed bumps, raised pedestrian crossings, and sidewalk extensions to slow cars in Madison and make walking/cycling safer options for everyone.

Question 4

Mo Cheeks

For those of us who have had the privilege of experiencing our city by bike, it is a beautiful experience. My wife and I love to ride together, with our 3-year-old daughter Hannah in her little yellow bicycle trailer behind one of us. We do that on the southwest bike path, and on other bike paths that feel safe to us.

As the data shows, the most significant room for growth in biking is increasing the ease of which people who are “Interested but Concerned” can feel safe while biking. To increase bicycling in our city, I’ll work to ensure that families like mine feel increasingly safe biking across the city.

Of equal, or greater importance to me, is the need for us to connect communities with easy transit. As mayor, I will proactively fill gaps in the pedestrian and bicycle network. Making it easier and safer for our residents in low-income neighborhoods to connect to the rest of the city by on their bike, or via b-cycle is critical if we’re going to claim to prioritize equity in a platinum bike city.

Raj Shukla

I would like to increase the number of people biking by at least 50%. Improved bus services are part of the key to success. That way riders have a backup option if weather is unpredictable.

I would also like to have an additional 5 miles of protected bike lanes built by the end of my first term. This will have public health, environmental and economic benefits in Madison and we should explicitly make mode-shift toward active transportation options a priority in all redevelopment efforts.

But expanding bike lanes and transit options are effective at shifting transportation modes only when coupled with land use policies that make it easy to make a change. I support modernizing our zoning codes to encourage tight-knit neighborhoods that bring people closer to schools, jobs and amenities. Cities like Minneapolis and Grand Rapids have limited or eliminated exclusionary zoning codes — making it easier to build more housing options for more people in more parts of the community.

Reducing the distance between the places people live, work, play and study will encourage use of active transportation modes. So will increasing the amount of safe spaces for cyclists and pedestrians to move about.

With modern data-collection capacity, spotting danger becomes much easier. Improving Madison’s data will allow officials to put resources into the intersections and streets that pose the greatest risk to citizens, and offer the greatest opportunities for improvement.

Bike News

Action Alert: Closing the Wilson Street Gap

Action Alert button

UPDATE 1/31: The meeting has been canceled because of the weather. It will be rescheduled at a later time.

We need your support. This Thursday (1/31) at 7pm, the third public input meeting on the Wilson Street corridor study is going to be held at the Madison Municipal Building (Room 260). We’re assuming the meeting is going ahead as planned, despite the weather. After the public input meeting, the project still has to wend its ways through the city’s committees, but it will be helpful to have people speak up now.

Please express your support in creating a safe and convenient bike corridor on Wilson Street, from the Cap City path at Machinery Row to the Cap City path at Broom and continuing to the connection with the SW Commuter path. Wilson Street is a major connection to the Capitol Square, and it currently lacks accommodations for people biking. We now have the opportunity to change this and close a major gap in our city’s low-stress bike network.

What can you do?

There are two ways to take action:

1. Attend the meeting and speak

You can go to the meeting in person and voice your support for safe and comfortable bike facilities on the Wilson Street corridor. Some tips:

  • Mention why you care about the project — do you live or work in the area? Do you want to ride to the government offices on Wilson or access the Square to reach businesses or restaurants? Have you tried riding on Wilson and had bad experiences?
  • Ask if what is being proposed at the meeting will allow seniors, kids, or people new to biking to ride on Wilson Street.
  • Ask for protected bike lanes — even if you personally feel fine riding in an unbuffered bike lane or even sharing the lane with cars.
  • Don’t get lost in the details. Details matter when it comes to great bike infrastructure. But at this point we need to focus on the big picture: Bike access on Wilson Street that works for people of all ages and all abilities.

2. Submit your comments by email

If you don’t feel comfortable speaking at the meeting or would rather submit written comments, you can send them to the project lead Dave Trowbridge, Director of Transportation Tom Lynch, and Alder Mike Verveer. Also consider cc’ing us <>

Dave Trowbridge <>;
Tom Lynch <>;
Mike Verveer <>;

Here is some more background on the project:

Why Wilson Street? Why now?

Wilson Street has long been identified as a significant gap in Madison’s bike network. Policy documents and plans such as Madison in Motion, the Downtown Plan, or the Judge Doyle Square Master Plan all have called for improving bike access to the areas east of the Capitol. Most recently, the Common Council adopted a resolution “to develop a plan for a bike friendly corridor on Wilson St, by the time the Judge Doyle Square Project is complete.”

Wilson Street provides access to the cultural, political, and economic heart of our city. Over 27,000 jobs are in the area bounded by Bassett, Johnson, Blount, and John Nolen. State and municipal agencies and offices are on and near Wilson Street. The neighborhood also has dozens of retail businesses, restaurants and cultural institutions, and it hosts major cultural events such as Concerts on the Square. And soon Wilson Street will be the main access route for the Judge Doyle Square Bicycle Center.

However, the access that Wilson Street currently provides is mostly limited to those who drive. With no protected bike facilities, only the small group of strong and fearless cyclists is comfortable “sharing the lane” with motor vehicle traffic on Wilson. The much bigger proportion of people who is riding majority of people already biking or potentially biking either avoid the area or are forced onto the sidewalk—where they have to share limited space with people walking. The issue is made worse by the fact that there are no reasonable alternatives to Wilson Street from both the east and the west. Parallel streets are steeper, discontinuous, take people too far out of the way—or they fail to offer safe bike facilities just like Wilson St.

The City and its Department of Transportation have acknowledged these problems and are proactively working on multiple corridor studies in the area, including one on Wilson Street. We now have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to close this gap and vastly improve transportation options to and from downtown.

What do we need to close the gap?

The city needs to create a plan for the whole Wilson Street corridor that creates safe and low-stress bike access for people of all ages and abilities, following established guidance on bike facilities such as NACTO. Cross-sections and traffic volumes vary along the different sections of Wilson Street, and therefore the specific treatment may vary as well.

But it is clear that from Blair to Bassett a protected bike lane or cycletrack are the only options for an all-ages, all-abilities facility. The research on the topic is clear: Sharrows, pushing cyclists onto the sidewalk, one-way bike access, or steep and convoluted bike routes don’t work if we want to make biking an option for a significant proportion of the population.

Our city and its downtown are growing, and so it is essential that we create transportation options beyond the car. Doing so will improve population health, sustainability, and the livability of the heart of Madison. Let us act now and create safe and comfortable bike access on Wilson St: Let’s close the Wilson Street Gap now.

Bike News

2019 City Mayoral Election January 15 Forum

Madison Bikes is a 501(c)(3) organization and does not endorse or oppose any candidate for political office.

The City of Madison is having elections this spring. The primary will take place on February 19; the general election will be on April 2. Find information on how to register to vote here.

On January 15, Madison Bikes was co-sponsor for a non-partisan candidate forum for the mayoral primary. At the event, two questions related to transportation were asked. You can watch the video of the entire event on the City Channel, and we have transcribed the candidates’ answers in full.

The candidates in attendance were (in alphabetical order)

Question: Research shows that there is a large proportion of the population that is interested in biking for transportation. They may bike on the Southwest Path or during Ride the Drive. But they do not feel safe and comfortable having to bike on a busy road or painted bike lanes next to cars. How are you going to create a connected network of bike facilities in Madison that is safe and comfortable and serves people of all ages and of all abilities?

Mo Cheeks: That’s an awesome questions. Thank you to the submitter. Madison is in a position right now where we have actually an extremely high percentage of bike ridership. Something like 10% of our modal transportation in Madison is by bike. Which is remarkable. Particularly in the north, where we know it gets plenty cold. And yet we know there is another 60 % of sort of interested folks that are not considered strong bike riders – these are the folks that would be interested in bike riding, as Shabnam said, but are hesitant a little bit. We know that the way that we get those folks to ride a bike more often – which is going to be important as we try to reduce congestion and reduce the use of automobiles – is to connect paths. As someone who represents an extremely diverse district on the city council, I know that – actually speaking of the Southwest Bike Path: Southwest Bike Path is really easy to get on to from some areas. And we know it’s an incomplete solution depending on where you want to go – whether you want to go downtown to the other side of the Capitol, or if you want to get to a job on the far west side – there are plenty of incomplete bike and ped paths. And so in order for us to get better at that the answer is simply: We need to be completing bike and ped paths. And that needs to be a priority if we’re going to make it easier for people, we’re going to have to invest in that as a priority.

Satya Rhodes Conway: Thank you and thanks to the Bikies for that question. If we are going to address climate change, which we have to do in the next decade, then part of our solution has to be reducing emissions from our transportation sector. And biking is part of that solution because it’s at least carbon emissions free. And so we have to make it possible for folks of all ages and abilities to feel comfortable using bikes as a form of transportation, but frankly also walking and using transit. And so the three modes need to be connected to each other. Madison is a Platinum biking city, but that’s not good enough. We need to be increasing our mode share, even though we have a high mode share already. And that means that we need to invest in connections. One of the things that I did when I was on the council, which took a good long time because it took some serious convincing of both the business community and the neighborhoods, was make sure that Sherman Avenue was accessible to bikers but also safe for pedestrians and cars. And we now have bike lanes on Sherman Avenue, which is something which some people thought would never happen. But that’s not good enough, right? We need to have a bike path in that area as well, and that’s part of why in my role as the chair of the Oscar Mayer Strategic Assessment Committee we have recommended improving their bike connections. Or what I would like to call: The Smoky Link behind the Oscar Mayer site. But it’s a critical priority and it’s something that we’re going to need to make sure is part of our capital investment going forward.

Paul Soglin: A couple of years ago, the League of American Bicyclists did name us as the fifth city being designated with Platinum status – the highest regard they’ve ever given in regards to bicycling. And it was in recognition of the bicycle lanes, the bicycle paths, all the networks of using rail lines that were abandoned. But we’ve got a challenge, which is what happens when you’re off of those paths, when you’re off of those old trails, and you want to get right onto a city street. And we have a dilemma. Part of it is our design in terms of the widths of our streets. And the second part of it is winter. Now, well, that’s a reality. And so the challenge is how can we provide protection for the bicycle from the automobile traffic. And we’re working on that right now. We’re looking at how other cities with wider streets are managing it. We’re looking at the types of dividers available. I was out at Saris just a couple of months ago, and they build the bike racks and they’re now working on these kinds of protective devices. The key critical element for us is how you get the snow off of it with the divider right there. Collapsible ones are one of the possibilities that they’re working on. You can collapse it, plow, and then raise it. But I would say that in the next couple of years we will see some of these protected dividing devices on Madison’s streets, particularly most likely starting with East Washington. Thank you.

Raj Shukla: So I’m a year-round cyclist. Which I can do because I do have access to protected lanes nearby me. I do ride on the road sometimes too. And there are four reasons that I think we have to focus on different modes of transportation than just driving or just transit. The first is environmental. The second is our health and safety. The third is economic. And the fourth is equity. When it comes to the environmental side of this — I think Satya spoke to it – part of our challenge here is reducing emissions as fast as we can if we’re going to tackle climate change. Cycling is one path to get there. So that alone is a good reason to prioritize it. The benefits that we get by reducing traffic, by reducing the air pollution that results from traffic are also well known. Now I want to talk about some other elements of this that aren’t always brought up. Here is some of the research that I’ve seen. If you have a storefront that has easy access for cyclists or pedestrians, that store actually in aggregate makes more money than stores that rely on car traffic. When you think about cycling and who has access to those networks and who doesn’t, it’s typically – let me rephrase this: When you look at who is riding a bike to commute most often, it’s two groups of people: It’s people who have money and who have access to cycling infrastructure, or it’s people who can’t afford a car. There’s a real equity dimension to giving people as many opportunities and many ways to travel as they possibly can. And as mayor I would like to make a goal for the city to expand protected bike lanes by about five miles, at least. I’d love to go a lot farther. But that should be our goal: Rapidly expanding the infrastructure for cyclists to use safely in our city.

Nick Hart: What was the question again? [moderator reads question again] I feel that’s self-evident. I mean you just build safer bike lanes. I live on the Tenney neighborhood. You got East Mifflin that’s wide open that no one ever uses – I never see anyone on that. But I think we continue to cultivate a robust and support culture for bicyclists, with the exception of unicyclists. And – you guys are laughing – it’s coming. I’m sorry to hear, you’re right. But yeah, I think we just continue cultivating a robust support culture for cyclists. Stay in your lane.

Toriana Pettaway: There are several points that I want to point out. To make things safer in the community, one of the points that I want to talk about is transit-dependent – the last mile. In our city we need to think about those residents who need to commute in the city and don’t have the transportation accessibility on the bus. So that’s one element. There’s the concept of the “last mile” in the community. One of the things that we can definitely do is make sure that safety is available in the last mile, is also a solution for the residents who don’t have access for buses that come every 30 minutes or every hour in the community, that bike transportation is available for them. We can make sure that there are bike stations available for them and also for commuters who are coming from outside of the city, who work into the city, that those stations are provided to them. Also addressing the environmental issues and lowering emissions. If we can also convince residents who are also commuting into the city and parking on our residential streets to not do that, we can also improve safety in the city, that our streets would be clear so that our city employees can clean streets more efficiently, so that the bikers that are already in the city, using streets in the city would feel more safe commuting with bikes in the city. That’s a very real solution. Those are things that are very easily accessible, we can address these things very easily if we are really tapping solutions that could work, like tomorrow. If we’re providing networks that have real viable solutions for bikers to be transformed over night. Those are things that we can do right now. But we have to build the network with the bike paths and with other transit solutions that we don’t have existing right now. Simple fix.

Question: This next question, question on transportation, we’ll start with Satya. This question was submitted by the Madison Area Bus Advocates, and they ask: “Madison’s mayor oversees a city department of transportation that is responsible for a multi-modal mobility and parking system. How would you expand on our current transportation system? What is your vision for making it more environmentally and economically sustainable, socially just, safer, socially just, healthier, socially just, and affordable? Please give an example.

Satya Rhodes Conway: Thanks MABA. I have been a bus commuter ever since I moved to Madison because my first employer subsidized my bus pass for me. And my current employer does that as well. I think that our bus system is a critical component of our full transportation system. But our transportation system has to be about creating access for people regardless of mode. Right? We shouldn’t be building a transportation system for vehicles; we should be building a transportation system for people. And part of that is for people that are transit-dependent. And I think my top transportation priority would be to bring rapid transit to Madison. It’s something that we have talked about for somewhere between 30 and 40 years, and yet we don’t have a rapid transit system yet here in Madison. And I have to ask: Why? What is that about? I will provide the leadership it takes to get that happening, to get rapid buses on our streets, and to build out a bus rapid transit system as soon as possible. It’s a critical improvement that we need to make. And that needs to be a climate-friendly system. So we need to be buying electric buses so that we can reduce the emissions. And it needs to be a system that is regional, not just for the city of Madison. Until the legislature in its infinite lack of wisdom returns to us the ability to form a regional transportation system, we’re going to have to build those collaborations with the county and surrounding municipalities ourselves. But I cannot emphasize how much of a priority this is for me. We need rapid transit in the city of Madison, and I will work to make that happen.

Paul Soglin: I hope I can do this in less than three hours. My apologies. Bus rapid transit is our most immediate goals, and I think it’s one of the top and most critical needs for our community at this time. If you look at rapid transit systems throughout the country, the evidence is clear: They not only work, but they also need state and federal participation. We simply cannot come up with hundreds of millions of dollars that’s needed. What we have been doing is fashioning our design for the future on the assumption that we will get bus rapid transit. Now there are several things that need to happen along the way. The first is we need the state’s authority not just to create a regional transit authority, an RTA, but we have to have its taxing authority. There must be the revenue to establish such an authority, so we can pay for the buses and what is turning out to be one of our biggest obstructions: a garage to take care of them. We’re talking about 40, 50, 60 million dollars not for the fleet itself but for the building. One of the key objectives – I’m going to repeat it – is to work with the Evers administration and getting the authority to set up an RTA that would cover about 75% of the population of Dane County. We have already ordered four electric buses. And we are envisioning that the system will become all electric, with solar. We are talking about collaboration not only with the other communities that would make up the RTA, but MG&E has been a very healthy partner in this design. In addition we’ve got to get federal participation. The federal government has to assist us as it has so many other cities throughout the United States. But we will get there.

Raj Shukla: So everyone that’s spoken so far has talked about the need for bus rapid transit and the obstacles to getting it. Which are largely financial. And largely a function of a state legislature that isn’t very nice to places like Madison and places all over the state. I actually began my career working in Milwaukee on building a regional transit authority in southeastern Wisconsin. The business community wanted it, the local elected wanted it, the county executives wanted it, the state legislature was in the way. So there is the question that all of us have to have: We can institute a wheel tax or something like that to fund transit more robustly. That seems like a hard political lift too. Or we can have leadership – and we can have leadership that can actually build coalitions of elected around the state to try and sway some of the Republican votes that we’re going to need to sway in order to get a regional transit authority. So here is what I’d say I do right now in my role at River Alliance of Wisconsin: I work with local groups and local elected officials in rural Wisconsin and in urban Wisconsin, from places like Green Bay, to Wasau, to Eau Claire, to Racine. And we fight for hard compromises that protect water quality in those locations. We’ve built relationships with people across the aisle, we motivate them to take aggressive environmental stands in a difficult environment for them, and we do it by being absolutely committed to demonstrating the economic benefits of clean water. But I would say that I can do the same on regional transit as well. From our perspective here as a rapidly growing city that needs a regional system if we’re going to continue to grow. And if we’re going to continue to grow equitably and in a way that’s environmentally responsible.

Nick Hart: Again, to reiterate what I said opening is that the most marginalized and underrepresented people are affected the most by this. So in terms of public transportation I think to continue to develop city transportation options that evolve with the growing needs of our community. It’s another complicated area requiring interlocking strategies. We need to improve and expand on the bus service provided throughout the city, especially the higher-need areas and neighborhoods with people who rely heavily, are more dependent on transportation and should be able to work, run errands and travel around the city in a way that is reliable and as painless as possible. And continually to engineer traffic solutions for all the areas of the city.

Toriana Pettaway: Thank you. This is a very tough issue. And to get straight to the point: Regional mass rapid transit will happen in the city of Madison. When will it happen? I would say soon. One of the things that we need to do as solutions to manifest this is definitely have real partnership with our surrounding communities. There are many ways that we can bring about this happening without state legislature support. One of the things that we can start doing right away and some of the conversations that have actually already started happening is looking at our community stakeholders: There are many funders that we can start talking to right now in our cities. Other communities have looked at clergy to start rattling behind mass rapid transit. They’ve looked at corporate sponsors to look at supporting mass rapid transit. Now looking at what Nick talked about and our most marginalized community: Once this happens in our community and as your mayor, some of the things that I want to make sure that don’t happen when it comes – because it will come and we will find ways to fund this in our community and make sure that our most marginalized and our low-income who are transit dependent in our community and are disabled – who are oftentimes the ones who are put out first, because paratransit is one of those things that our most challenged and the [inaudible] in our community. Most of our services areas who have two transfers or two to three transfers and travel times in our community. Some of these areas, when you go up and down University Avenue, Mineral Point, don’t even have to look at a service schedule. When we have solutions like where should these transit delivery areas go, those are the types of things that our community partners and our regional communities and our municipalities, those are the things that we should work with. But my solution is that when we talk to municipalities and the stakeholders that they’re working with – our clergymen, our churches, and our developers – we can come up with real solutions that don’t necessarily have to come from the state legislature. Let’s get innovative, y’all!

Mo Cheeks: So to be clear: Everyone deserves to have the opportunity to be able to get around our city, to have access to jobs, access to school, access to food. One of the first experiences I had when I was elected to the city council in 2013, was I had a parent call me and say, “Hey, with this Verona Road reconstruction, I’m being informed that one of the bus routes that goes past our house is going to be removed for a period of time.” This parent was extremely concerned – in fact, several members of the neighborhood were upset at the thought because this was one of the routes that allowed their child to be able to come home from school, from after-school activities and things like that. And so through that experience, I remember being brand new to the city council, and I went to one of my first committee meetings, I sat down and advocated on their behalf, and the committee ended up going with the neighborhood instead of the original recommendation to remove that route. I called that parent afterward and she’s literally crying, she’s in tears. She said, “You don’t understand how much of a threat this was to my life, to what I believed that my child would be able to have access to after-school activities.” And so I think it’s really important that we bring this back to a conversation about people. As mayor, one of the things that’s going to be critical – not in addition to advocating for bus rapid transit – I’m going to be advocating for a comprehensive transportation plan. Right, so bus rapid transit, it’s super important. Increasing access to transit on the bus is important – I’m a bus rider myself, and that’s the primary way that I get to work. But we need to be thinking about – from a justice perspective we need to be prioritizing other solutions – things like access to the bus during the late hours for late-night shift workers. We need to be working with the private sector to make sure that they’re investing in not only subsidizing rides but creating a rideshare program because there are plenty of places right now that you can’t get access to on the bus in a convenient fashion. So it’s comprehensive.

Bike News

Monday Update: Mayoral forum, North Mendota Trail, Advocacy

Last Week

Our Events and Communication Committees had a very productive meeting last week, all under the auspices of Winter Bike Week. We have a great schedule of events lined up already for February 1-8. Check them out here (and keep checking back for possible additions).

Saturday was a good day to acquire bikes or get rid of them: Madison Bikes had a table at the Brazen Dropouts bike swap at the Alliant Center, while Free Bikes 4 Kidz Madison was collecting used bikes for their annual giveaway. Thanks to everyone who stopped by our table, and congratulations to FB4K for collecting over 1000 used bikes!

This Week

Let’s start our update with some internal Madison Bikes news: Tonight, we’re having our first board meeting of the year—and also the first board meeting with our newly elected members. Welcome, Elysha Jones, Jake Foley, Steph Shelton, Peter Taglia, and Jim Wilson! We’ll introduce our new members here on the blog shortly. Also a big thanks to our outgoing board members: Becky Jollay, Kevin Mulcahy, India Viola, and Hank Weiss.

And while we’re having our board meeting, you can join the weekly Monday MEATHead ride. As always, it’s a no-drop ride around Lake Monona. 7pm sharp, Ford’s Gym on Winnebago.

On Tuesday night, it’s time for another mayoral candidate forum. At last week’s Cap Times forum, transportation and biking hardly featured in the discussion. For Tuesday, Madison Bikes has joined a wide coalition of groups to co-host this forum at the Central Library. Tickets for the main room sold out quickly, but there will be overflow space that you don’t need a ticket for. So come and see what the candidates for mayor have to say about transportation and other issues. 6pm, Central Library on Mifflin.

On Wednesday, the Madison Bikes Advocacy Committee has their monthly meeting. On the agenda are the continuation of our work on Wilson Street and winter bike facility maintenance. We’ll also take some time to talk about our 2019 priorities and goals. Everybody is welcome to join us at Bendyworks, 106 E Doty St #200, 6pm.

Could Wilson Street look like this?

Consider biking out to Middleton on Thursday: There is a public meeting about the long-awaited path along Century Avenue. Century Avenue and its lack of bike facilities has long been identified as an issue, but now Middleton is moving forward in building a “shared-use path planned along the north side of Century Avenue connecting northeast Middleton with Branch Street and the Pheasant Branch Trail.” Eventually that path will connect to the new trail along Highway M, providing access to Governor Nelson State Park and Northwest Madison. 6pm Middleton City Hall.

Bike News

Madison Bike(s) Highlights 2018

Phew! 2018 is almost over! Another busy year for us and for biking in Madison. A big thanks to everyone who supported us in one way or the other. For an all-volunteer organization, support from the community is key — be it with a one-time or monthly donation, volunteering your skills, joining our newsletter and participating in our action alerts, or just sharing information with us and the community on Facebook or by email. We’re excited to see what 2019 is going to bring, but first let’s look back at 2018.


Some think that January is a quiet month for biking. But for Madison Bikes it was an exciting month, as we welcomed a new cohort of board members: Becky, Liz, Baltazar, and Pepe joined us, and they have been wonderful additions to our organization. January also saw us do a day-long strategic planning exercise to figure out our strengths and weaknesses and to determine short- and long-term goals. And of course our advocacy work never stops, and we kept working toward a better Winnebago Street.

Madison Bikes board group picture

Our first 2018 board meeting! (Photo: Dan Stout)


February means Winter Bike Week in Madison! While there were some seasonal difficulties–the ice on Lake Mendota was too slick for our fat bike sled pull, and at our Monday commuter station is was so cold that the coffee creamer froze within minutes–, I think we had a great week! With the help of our many partners, there were social rides, bike stations, and more on every day of the week. We will be back for another Winter Bike Week in 2019.

A very cold Madison Bikes commuter station during Winter Bike Week 2018

A very, very cold Winter Bike Week commuter station (Photo: Peter Gray)


Our advocacy efforts for Winnebago Street continued in March. We attended public meetings, wrote blog posts, and encouraged you to also advocate for the project. Another exciting thing in March was that the city posted the job of Director of Transportation, a position Madison hadn’t had for decades. The job posting was also part of a general reorganization of the city’s decision-making structure on transportation, and we were (and are) optimistic that the changes were a good thing for biking and active transportation in our city.

Proposed cross-section of Winnebago Street with buffered bike lanes

The Winnebago Street that wasn’t.


April? April. Right, that month that served us a big late-winter snowstorm! And also the month when the big Atwood reconstruction process that had begun in late 2017 started making its way through the city committees. We spent a lot of time and resources on making sure that the new Atwood Avenue wouldn’t just serve car commuters but also people walking and biking and enjoying Olbrich Park.


May is National Bike Month, and it showed: There were a lot of bikey things happening in Madison.

It was definitely the most riveting month for bike advocacy: Because of our tireless work and the support of the community, the Common Council agreed to reconstruct Winnebago with buffered bike lanes. What a disappointment it was then to see Mayor Soglin to use his veto power to block the Council’s decision because he “was never comfortable with the concept of Complete Streets.”

In more positive news, May was also the month when our city’s first LatinX bike club formed: BiciClub Latino de Madison has since organized a whole number of rides and events, and their Facebook community has almost 300 members. A great addition to Madison’s cycling scene!

Biciclub Latino de Madison group picture

BiciClub Latino de Madison on one of their rides (Photo: Baltazar de Anda)

May also saw the Wisconsin Bike Summit come back to Madison. Our board member Harald presented on our work with mapping Madison’s low-stress bike network. The low-stress network, i.e. a connected grid of bike facilities that people of all ages and abilities feel safe and comfortable on, is our organization’s top priority, and so it was great to share our work with other advocates from around the state.

Related the low-stress network, national bike advocacy group People for Bikes released their US-wide city rating. The low-stress network makes up a significant chunk of the overall score. Madison did quite well, placing 6th overall. But the fact that we only got 3.2 out of 5 total possible points shows that there is still a lot of room for improvement and work to be done. What really dragged down our overall score was the “acceleration” rating. This is an indicator of how bike infrastructure has improved in the recent past, and Madison just hasn’t kept up with some of its competitors.

One last big event in May was the nomination of Tom Lynch as Madison’s Director of Transportation. Tom previously worked with engineering firm Strand Associates, and he’s a year-round bike commuter.


Madison Bikes at Ride the Drive

June’s highlight was Bike Week. Our friends from the Bike Fed again did a great job of putting a huge bundle of events. This was also the first year that Ride the Drive took place during Bike Week. Madison Bikes had a great time hosting ABC Quick Checks at Ride the Drive, and in cooperation with HotelRED we hosted a bike commuter station with excellent coffee and baked goods.

Commuter station at HotelRED during Bike Week

Biking in Madison is pretty good, but only if you don’t compare with the Netherlands. In June, community member Jonathan wrote a series of blog posts about Dutch cycling and what we can learn from them. Highly recommended if you missed them or want to refresh your memory. Part 1, part 2, and part 3.

June also saw the end of an era: It was the very last meeting of the Pedestrian, Bicycle, and Motor Vehicle Commission. Several of our board members had been on the commission over the years (most recently: our president Grant). So it was bittersweet to see “PBMVC” go and have it and other transportation-related committees be integrated into the Transportation and Planning Policy Board and the Transportation Commission. Bittersweet because we do believe that the reorganization of the city’s departments and commission in the long run is a positive thing.


In the midst of summer, one of our favorite bike trails, the Cap City, was closed for repairs. In a multiyear project, the trail will have its crumbling surface replaced. Little did we know the closure would last much, much longer than planned…

Cap City Trail with a "Bike Path Closed" sign

At the Common Council, the Atwood Avenue was approved. We were quite happy with how the plans turned out: While it would have been nice to get safe bike facilities along the whole project, from Fair Oaks to Cottage Grove, the project as approved included many improvements for people biking and walking.

The new design for Atwood Avenue

July also saw the release of the Metropolitan Planning Organization’s (MPO) Low-Stress Mapping tool. Similar to the People for Bikes tool mentioned above, the MPO analyzed all of Madison’s street and classified them by stress level. Levels 1 and 2 are low-stress, i.e. comfortable to ride on for almost everyone, whereas levels 3 and 4 only work for a small minority of people. It’s amazing to see how many low-stress facilities we already have in Madison — and how by closing a few key gaps we could connect the existing network even better.

Screenshot of the low-stress bike map


August was overshadowed by the big flood. The impact of the flood was with us for months, and some of the impact is still very visible — for example, the Pheasant Branch Trail in Madison is still closed. However, natural disasters also provide an opportunity for the community to come together. For Madison Bikes this was most clearly evidenced by the crowd-sourced map of flooding issues. Started by Madison Bikes community member Paul Wilson, the map was viewed over 90,000 times, with dozens of community members adding information about the current status of paths and roads. As HealthTIDE wrote about the map:

Sharing this kind of timely, actionable information is what Madison Bikes is all about. This, while also giving a place for members to organize their bike advocacy and promote cycling makes them an amazing community resource in Dane County.

The flood brought a lot of destruction, but August also saw great new things: We showed off the new Vilas Park bridges, and the new Crazylegs plaza was finished.


In September, we hosted an awesome party for our members and community. Thanks to Starting Block and American Family Insurance, we got to party in the shiny new Spark Building on East Wash. Thanks for everyone who was able to attend and have a good time with us.

Group picture at the Madison Bikes party

A wonderful Madison Bikes party (Photo: Dan Stout)

We also had the opportunity to participate in a great workshop on the “Art of Bike Commuting” at the Cargo Bike Shop. We know that getting started with bike commuting can be intimidating, and so we were happy to share our knowledge with people new to getting to work by bike.

Speaking of people new to biking: The Tour de la Familia Latina celebrated its first birthday in September. The tour, as well as the Unity Rides that started this year have been great in creating a safe and fun space for people who otherwise maybe wouldn’t ride their bikes. Big kudos to Baltazar for getting the rides off the ground and for the BiciClub Latino for keeping them going for over a year now.


In October, Yang Tao was hired as the city’s new Traffic Engineer. Like his boss Tom Lynch, Yang is another year-round bike commuter and we’ve had many great conversations with him.

An insightful take on equity (and its lack) when it comes to bikes in Madison appeared in the Cap Times in October. As part of the Unity Rides, Baltazar who worked for the Bike Fed and is a Madison Bikes board member, took a reporter on a ride of Madison’s south side and discussed the inequities in our city’s bike infrastructure — and bike advocacy.


Madison Bikes board member Heather demonstrating how to use a bus bike rack

Board member Heather demonstrating how to put a bike on a Metro bus rack

In November, we hosted another successful edition of the Winter Bike Fashion Show. Enabling people to bike year-round is a key part of our organization’s vision, and so we were happy to have almost 100 people attend the show and learn from our awesome amateur models. And because especially in winter it can be nice to have the option of taking your bike on the bus, we partnered with Metro. They brought a whole bus to the event so that people could practice using the bike racks without being stressed.

Q&A at the Winter Bike Fashion Show


In December there was a lot of advocacy to be done again: The public input process for two key downtown corridors — Wilson and Bassett — started. We spent a lot of time attending meetings and figuring out how to best accommodate riders of all ages and abilities on their way to the economic and cultural heart of our city, the Capitol Square. Stay tuned for more of that in 2019.

Happy New Year!

Bike News

Monday Update: Wilson St (again), lessons from abroad, Rev ride

Let me start with a quick reminder about our fundraising, membership, and volunteering drive: It’s the season when we start planning for the new year, and even an organization like ours that’s run 100% by volunteers needs some funding. So please consider making a donation or joining/renewing your membership. Thanks!

Exciting news for the Badger State Trail: The Wisconsin State Journal reports that Belleville is going to turn its historic train depot on the Badger State Trail into a business serving people biking the trail.

(Old) Belleville Train Depot

Photo: Jimmy Emerson, DVM CC-BY-ND

Speaking of Madison Bikes: We have our most important board meeting of the year on Monday: It’s election day for our board of directors. With eight seats open, we have an exciting roster of candidates on the ballot. Stay tuned for an announcement of the new board members!

Also on Monday, join the friendly weekly winter ride around Lake Monona, a.k.a. the MEAThead. Meet at Ford’s Gym for a strict 7pm departure.

And for a final Monday event, join Bike Fitchburg for their monthly meeting. 7:30 pm, Fitchburg public library.

On Tuesday, there will be a public input meeting about Wilson Street. “But didn’t they just have two Wilson Street corridor meetings?”, you may be asking. Yes, but this one is for the other end of Wilson Street, near Blount/Willy/John Nolen. It would be nice to have a more integrated process for planning the whole of Wilson Street, and maybe that’s a point to make at the meeting. 6:30 pm, Madison Municipal Building, Room 111.

On Wednesday, you can join the Madison Bikes Advocacy Committee meeting. We’ll definitely talk about Wilson Street, and so if you want to be part of our efforts to make Wilson a better street for people on bikes, join us! 6 pm at the Bendyworks office (106 E Doty St #200).

On Thursday, get up early to catch a free webinar on “Jumping in with Both Pedals: Lessons from Rapid Implementation of Cycling Networks. Alain Boulanger from Paris City Hall and Manuel Calvo from EstudioMC in Sevilla will discuss the social, design, and political aspects of forward-thinking mobility, and share insights on the efforts to elevate the state of bike networks in both cities. We could surely use some more rapid implementation of a cycling network in Madison, and there’s lots to learn from other cities.

On Thursday night, join Revolution Cycles for the “ride that only comes one time a year. Meet at the shop at 6pm, and then roll out at 6:30 for “a slow roll/no drop, counter clockwise to the Holiday Lights at Olin Park. Fat Bikes are encouraged but not necessary.”

Bike News

Monday Update: Fashion Show Recap, Thanksgiving, Ho-Chunk Day

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It’s a holiday week: On Thursday, many people will celebrate Thanksgiving, and on Friday it’s Ho-Chunk Day. So there aren’t many other events happening this week.

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Let’s start with a quick recap from Saturday’s Winter Bike Fashion Show. About 100 people came to the High Noon Saloon, which I think makes it the biggest show so far! Our MC, Luis “LuckyVoy” Martinez of local LatinX radio station Digital 206, presented our “models,” that is Madison area winter riders of all varieties. Models shared their wisdom of how to keep riding in the winter: To wear or not to wear goggles (and how to keep them from fogging up), how to turn a thrift store sweater into leg warmers, how a pair of 1950s army surplus wool pants are the best piece of gear, whether you can use studded tires even when there isn’t ice and snow, and many more. Meanwhile in front of the High Noon Saloon, Madison Metro had parked a full-size city bus so that people could practice putting their bike on the bus rack. At the end of the show, some lucky attendees won great door prizes, courtesy of Saris and Planet Bike. Stay tuned for more pictures and maybe some video footage from the event! Thanks to everyone who came to the event, and to the people who made the show happen! A special shout-out goes to Pepe, our events committee chair, who was unfortunately not able to be there on Saturday.

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This week

While not much is happening this week, Madison Bikes never rests: Our board meets this Monday, and we’re excited to get to meet the people who are running for our board of directors. We’ll host a speed-dating session with them to get to know them better and give them a chance to learn more about what it means to be on the board of an all-volunteer bike advocacy organization.

We’re not the only bike advocacy group meeting on Monday: Bike Fitchburg is having their monthly meeting tonight at the Fitchburg Public Library. I imagine there will be some celebrating, as just last week the Fitchburg council approved a budget amendment that allows the construction of shoulders on Whalen Road between Seminole and Mutchler. Bike Fitchburg put a lot of work into making that happen.

On Saturday, head to Waterloo for some cyclocross racing: The Battle of Waterloo is starting at 8 am.

And on Sunday, Bombay Bicycle Club is hosting their last ride of the season, the “Frezaroo 26.

One thing to put on your calendar early: On Monday, November 26 (a week from now), there will be a first public input meeting about the Bassett Street corridor study. It’s always good to have some people from the bike community at these meetings. Seven pm at the Madison Senior Center (330 W Mifflin).

Don’t forget, you can find times, locations, and more details of these meetings and events on the Madison Bikes Community Calendar. If you’d like to submit an event, send it to

Bike News

Monday Update: More ‘cross, bike touring, equity

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I just got back from Cambridge, MA. My significant other lives there for the year, and while I was visiting, I had the opportunity to attend a rally for safer bike infrastructure. Organized by local bike advocates Cambridge Bicycle Safety, the rally was part of a petition campaign to hold the Cambridge city council accountable to their promise of building a 20 mile network of protected bike lanes by 2023. In Madison, we don’t even have an official bike plan with measurable goals — and I think it’s showing. I’d be curious to hear what the Madison Bikes community thinks about campaigning on this issue.

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Anyways, I’m back in Madison now, and here’s what’s going on this week:

A quick reminder that you can still apply as a model for the Winter Bike Fashion Show (11/17). Deadline for applications is 11/2. So go ahead and apply, or encourage your friends to be part of this fun event!

The week starts out with Bike Fitchburg’s monthly meeting on Monday night. I suspect they’re going to talk about the Fish Hatchery Road reconstruction. The next public meeting for that project is scheduled for November 8. Based on what I have heard from the previous meeting, there is a real danger that the reconstruction is going to focus primarily on making driving easier, instead of designing a street more amenable to walking, biking, and public transit. So mark the date, or go to the Bike Fitchburg meeting tonight to learn more. 6:30-8:30pm at the Fitchburg Public Library.

On Tuesday morning, come to the Capitol Square for a press conference on the release of a report on transportation equity in Wisconsin. The Sierra Club and 1000 Friends of Wisconsin will present the report that “analyzes who is being served and who is left behind by our transportation priorities.”

On Wednesday, you’ll have to make decisions:

  • You could go to the Transportation Commission meeting at 5pm (City-County Building 351). Two agenda items of interest: An updates on the Bicycle Center at Judge Doyle Square, and an update on the Wilson and Bassett Streets transportation studies. As a reminder, when the city council decided to not include bike infrastructure in the recent reconstruction of West Wilson, they promised to study the corridor and its role in the bike network more comprehensively.
  • Alternatively, you could howl at the moon while riding your bike. Spoke Haven and Bombay Bicycle Club are hosting a Full Moon Ride around Lake Wingra. Meet at 6pm at Westmorland Park.
  • And if you’d rather stay inside and hear about other people’s bike adventures, go to the Hawthorne Branch of the library to hear Kent Wegner talk aboutExploring the Former Ottoman Empire by Bike.” Starts at 6pm.

And on Sunday, you can watch or participate in cyclocross racing at Angell Park in Sun Prairie. The “Cross Fire” races start at 8am. Alternatively, you can support Madison’s local radio station WORT by participating in a Day of the Dead Bike ride that takes you from brewery to brewery. Starts at 11am at Parched Eagle Tap Room, and requires a $15 dollar wrist band.

Bike News

Monday Update: Unity, Vintage Rides, Jump Jam, Fashion Show

We may be getting the first frost of the year this week — which is a great opportunity to announce the 9th edition of the Winter Bike Fashion Show! November 17 from 1-4pm at the High Noon Saloon. Admission is free; no tickets required! You can RSVP and share the Facebook event. If you haven’t heard of the WBFS: It’s an event where members of the bike community who bike year-round showcase how they manage riding in the cold. They’ll model their bikes and gear, and there will be plenty of opportunities for the winter-biking-curious to ask questions and learn. Stay tuned for more details and our call for models.

The Cap Times ran an interesting story about lack of access to safe and comfortable bike infrastructure on the South and North Sides. Baltazar De Anda-Santana, who works for the Bike Fed and is on the Madison Bikes board of directors, took a reporter on a bike ride around some underserved areas near Park Street.

Our mountain biking friends Capital City Offroad Pathfinders have just launched a big fundraising campaign. It is aimed at “returning our existing trails to the state they were designed, and in many cases much better. More sustainable, more accessible, and more fun! Our goal is to raise $80,000 to bring in professional builders who can come in and accomplish things in weeks that would take our volunteers years to achieve.” Watch the video to learn more:

This Week

Monday: If you want to get involved with organizing the Winter Bike Fashion Show mentioned above, come to the Madison Bikes events committee meeting tonight! We always appreciate having new people involved. 6pm, Barriques on Park St.

On Wednesday, the city’s Transportation Commission was supposed to meet. It appears the meeting has been canceled.

On the weekend you’ll have a whole lot of bike events to choose from. If you’re into cyclocross, ride out to Badger Prairie County Park in Verona for the Badger Prairie Cross race on Saturday. There will be food, drinks — and probably exciting ‘cross racing. First races start at 9am.

Also on Saturday, is the MadTown Unity Ride. Every month, ride celebrates the South Side’s unity and diversity and connects people in the communities. The rides are specifically aimed at Black, Brown, Indigenous people of color, LGBT+ community, the Senior community and other communities that have been affected by discrimination who live or work in a predominantly low-to moderate-income community in the Madison Southside. Unity Rides are always at a family-friendly pace and about 7-10 miles long. Meet at Villager Mall on Park St at 10am.

Your third option on Saturday: Head to Quarry Park if you want your mountain bike to catch some air. It’s the Quarry Park Jump Jam. Event starts at 10; contests start at 11:30. Rain date is Sunday. And note that the event is at Quarry Park, not Quarry Ridge.

On Sunday, bring out your lugged steel bikes, wool jerseys, and toe clips for the Bombay Bicycle Club Vintage Ride. Meet at the Vilas Park shelter at 10am and then ride down to Paoli.

Bike News

Final call for applications: Madison Bikes board

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Madison Bikes envisions a city where anyone can ride a bicycle conveniently and comfortably to any place in the city and neighboring communities year round. This vision requires a culturally diverse and pluralistic board committed to equity in our work.

We are currently accepting applications for up to seven seats on the Madison Bikes Board of Directors, with elections taking place in December. We strongly encourage applications from people of color, women, and other groups who are underrepresented in bike advocacy. There are also a variety of attributes and skills that the current board has identified as beneficial; they are listed below:


  • Lives or works on the South or North side of Madison
  • Parents with kids
  • People with different riding abilities
  • Seniors


  • Grant writing
  • Non-profit organizational development
  • Legal background
  • Accounting background
  • Past/current board member on other boards
  • UW partnerships
  • Non-profit background
  • Recruitment
  • Public relations/media

If you are interested in joining our board, please complete this application form by October 4. If you would like to nominate someone other than yourself, please forward this post/email to them and ask them to apply. And if you can’t make the deadline but would really like to apply, shoot a quick email to