Categories
Bike News

Biking with Steph: Why do you ride (and should come to our party tomorrow)

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

Before we get started, a quick advertisement: Come to the big Madison Bikes Bike Week Party tomorrow (Friday) at Brittingham Park! We have beer from Working Draft Beer Company, The Hop Garden, Ale Asylum, Karben4 Brewing, and Funk Factory Geuzeria, non-alcoholic drinks from Klarbrunn and the Willy Street Co-op, food carts (Toast and Haynes Kitchen), a skills course for kids, the Spoke-N-Words mobile bike library, free bike checks, and tabling from local bike and other non-profits. Free and family friendly! 5-8 pm near the Brittingham Park Shelter. Bring the family, bring your co-workers, bring your friends, bring a stranger you met on the bike path!

While going for a stroll this morning, I saw a lot of bikers. Some were speedy in their hi-viz spandex kits, some were children donning backpacks, some were commuting with young children on cargo bikes. With all of the bike-related events during Madison Bike Week, everybody and their mother (and their mayor…) seems to be biking.

(City of Madison Bike Ride)

Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway and our board member Liz at the Madison Bike Week press conference on Monday

Needless to say, there are a bunch of reasons to bike and everybody has a primary reason for biking. It’s good exercise, it’s (pretty) cheap, it’s better for the environment than driving, it’s better to ‚Äòdrink and bike’ than to ‚Äòdrink and drive’, and so much more.

Why do I bike?

More than any of the previously mentioned reasons, biking is good for my mental health. I have had bouts of depression and I simply cannot recall one time when I didn’t feel better about life after a bike ride. Ever since I was a child, biking has provided me with a conduit for serenity and/or repreive. While some perceive biking to be a luxury for the weekends or “when time allows”, I endorse the notion of biking (or kayak, running, hiking, etc.) as a daily necessity to be a better human.

In a couple of days, I will move from my home in Madison to Washington, D.C. and woo wee, I am equal parts stressed and thrilled. I have sold, stored, or disposed of most of my possessions to make this initial move as easy a possible. So, when move day comes, I will have my most essential items- clothing, toiletries, athletic gear, and my two bikes strapped to the outside of my car. Knowing that I can jump on my bike at the end of the day, no matter where I am, brings me great comfort. Living next to a 20-mile long recreation/bike trail will be a major bonus too.

Anyway, I hope to see you all at more Bike Week events! Don’t forget, the Madison Bikes Bike Week Party is coming up! It is this Friday from 5pm- 8pm at Brittingham Park and is open to the whole family!

See ya around! Tailwinds!

P.S.: Not convinced that biking cures what ails ya? Watch this video regarding mountain biking and its impacts on mental health.

Categories
Bike News

Biking with Steph: Where My Ladies At?

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

Biking has been everything to me—it is my form of advocacy, a source of physical and mental health, a way to make true friendships. With my impending move to Washington, D.C. looming ever closer, I knew that I needed to find a new bike community and ASAP. With cyclocross season approaching, I was curious to learn more about DC’s cyclocross and stumbled upon the DCCX team photo.

Immediately, my stomach sank.

Where were the women?! This befuddlement led to me thinking about Madison’s women/trans*/femme friendly bike culture. Specifically, two events this week made me feel appreciative for the ways Madison groups and businesses have gone above and beyond to make women feel included in the bike community- my ride with Spoke Haven and getting my bike repaired at Revolution Cycles.

Tuesday rides with Spoke Haven

(Yes, mom, I did buckle my helmet.)

On Tuesday night, I joined the charismatic ladies of Spoke Haven for an evening ride through Madison’s northside.This women-only bike group meets every Tuesday for a 13- and 23-mile social ride in the summer starting at the Olbrich Biergarten and concluding with some post-ride ‚Äòrehydration’ (and tacos on the first Tuesday of the month). I felt welcomed right away and looked forward to grabbing beers at the biergarten after the 23-mile ride. Sadly, after about 4 miles from the start, I realized my shifter wasn’t working at all. So, the whole bike group had to pull over as I tried to ‚ÄòMacGyver’ my shifter back to working order. No success. So, in a comically low gear, I biked to Revolution Cycles to have my bike repaired.

Revolution Cycles Club Women/Trans*/Femme Cyclocross Scholarship

(The owner, Jeff, at Revolution Cycles and my newly repaired bike. Oh, and me.)

The Revolution Cycles bike shop has gone out of their way to make me feel welcome, to educate me on how to care for my bike and how to perform basic repairs. As such, I give them all of my bike-related business. When I dropped off my bike this week to have the shifter fixed, I received the same great customer service.

This shop will always be thought of with great fondness. My life was changed when I received a scholarship from Revolution Cycles to compete in cyclocross. Due to the sport’s substantial upfront costs, I know I would not have made the decision to compete in ‚Äòcross if it wasn’t for this scholarship. Their scholarship is just another extension of their advocacy work to smooth the way for a more gender-equitable bike community in Madison. If you are a 18+ years old, a woman/trans*/femme and are interested in applying for the Rev Cycles cyclocross scholarship, apply here: https://forms.gle/rM7eL1DS14kfsUro6. Applications are due by June 15th!

With Madison Bike Week starting on Sunday, June 1(!!!), both Spoke Haven and Revolution Cycles will be hosting events throughout the week. Spoke Haven will host two events- their Tuesday night group ride (June 4th) and a morning ride with breakfast (June 5th). Revolution Cycles will host a bike station in the morning from Monday through Friday on Capital City Trail, by the Jackson St Plaza. See the Madison Bikes webpage for more details and other top notch bike week events and discounts!

While I know that Washington, D.C. has women- and LGBT-centered bike groups, I will always appreciate the standard that Madison has set for inclusiveness. In part, I have developed into the cyclist that I am because I was a part of a bike community that doesn’t settle.

Anyway, I can’t wait to participate in Madison Bike Week and I hope to see you all out there for the various bike events! Tailwinds!

PS: Recently, I stumbled upon this great blog for women cyclists, in which I wanted to read ALL of their articles. I bet you will glean a thing or two from it, regardless of your gender!

Categories
Bike News

Biking with Steph: Madison Bike Week: 100% Awesome

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

This week, I decided to hop on the bike and head east toward the Glacial Drumlin State Trail trailhead. From my home, the ride was about 45 minutes long and roughly 12 miles away. If you’d like, you can use this trail to get to places like Trek Headquarters, Tyranena Brewing Company, and Aztalan State Park. The State Trail’s termini are in Cottage Grove and Waukesha for a total of 52 miles of crushed stone goodness. Day or annual passes are required to bike on this trail.

Unlike my rides out west, biking to the trailhead in Cottage Grove did not involve unadulterated joy. On the positive side, I biked by a farm filled with frolicking ponies.

(OMG, ponies!)

On the negative side, nasty headwinds, bone-jarring road conditions, and sparse bike-friendly road infrastructure proved to be very challenging. Likewise, I was disappointed to see the water fountain was shut off and that the restrooms were still closed. Last time I heard, plans are in motion to create a connecting trail between Madison and the Cottage Grove trailhead.

(Note to self: Bring water, foo.)

While my ride to the Glacial Drumlin State Trail was not 100% awesome, do you know what is 100% awesome!? Madison Bike Week 2019!

Hopefully, you have seen our flyers posted around town, visited the Bike Week webpage, and are ‚ÄòInterested’ in the numerous events posted on our Facebook page. If not, here’s the scoop: Madison Bike Week is an annual event being held from June 1st to June 8th and is chock-full of free events, food, and giveaways provided by local business throughout Dane County. One of the most popular Bike Week events will be the BratCakes on the Bike Path provided by Saris and Madison Bikes on June 5th. Also, be sure to stop by our family-friendly Madison Bikes Party at Brittingham Park on June 7th! We hope to make this the most bikey week of all the weeks, so come on out and enjoy the festivities!

Hope to see you all out there! Tailwinds!

PS: Craving yet more bike-related goodness?! Check out this hilarious video of professional street trials and mountain biker, Danny MacAskill, taking his ‘kid’ on a ride through the Scottish countryside.

Categories
Bike News

Biking with Steph: Loop de Loop

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

Please note that our weekly update will be a day late and published on Tuesday. Apologies for the inconvenience.

As I stated in an earlier blog, one of my favorite things about living in the near east side of Madison is its proximity to the Lake Monona’s Lake Loop.

I have ran or rode my bike on this loop dozens of times, sometimes more than once a day. It is a great distance (roughly 12 miles), has some nice hills, involves scenic views, and runs right next to an ice cream and bait shop.

(Monona Bait & Ice Cream)

Today, I biked the Lake Loop, after making a pitstop at the UW Arboretum, and paid extra attention to the wonderful attributes of the route. I really liked that the majority of the loop involves bike lanes or paths, with much of the remainder of the loop located on calm, residential streets. There are a handful of parks that the route runs next to, in case I wanted to stop and grab a drink of water or to take in the view. Today, I decided to stop at Schluter Park, right across from Monona Bait and Ice Cream. The park has newly built facilities, a shelter and a nice bike repair station. I even saw that Schluter Park is incorporating a Pop-Up Biergarten starting this week!

Wanna ride the Lake Loop? On June 6th, you can join the ladies of Spoke Haven to ride the loop before heading off to work as a part of Madison Bike Week. They will ride a casual Lake Loop stopping at commuter stations along the way. They will meet at Olin Park’s south parking lot at 7am sharp for the ride, followed by bratcakes! Also, The Cargo Bike Shop has a weekly Lake Loop ride on Sunday nights, starting outside their storefront. Finally, if you are interested in riding the loop for a good cause, the Clean Lakes Alliance is holding their annual “Loop the Lake Bike Ride” on June 15th. Event proceeds support their work to protect and improve our lakes in the Yahara Watershed.

Okay, that’s all from me! Tailwinds!

PS: Getting excited about Madison Bike Week yet!? Check out the lengthy lineup of activities that will be held from June 1st- 8th. If you are able to volunteer for the event, please consider signing up!

Categories
Bike News

Biking with Steph: Biking on the Planet Trek

I enjoyed last week’s bike ride to Paoli so much that I thought I would embark on a similar type ride to Mt. Horeb.

I checked the weather on Tuesday morning and realize it would be a great day for a ride- no rain or high winds. I quickly packed up some essentials and hit the trail for my 50 mile ride. I generally pack pretty light for these rides:

I brought the following:

  • My cell phone and earbuds
  • Replacement bike tube, handheld tire pump and a plastic spoon for manipulating the tire off the wheel
  • Credit card and sunglasses
  • Lunch
  • Small camelbak to hold the above
  • Bike, helmet, and water bottle filled with Tailwind

For this ride, it is very hard to get lost if you’re coming from the east side. Basically, you take the Southwest Commuter Path to the Velo UnderRound and then take Military Ridge State Trail until you hit Mt. Horeb.

This route also hosts the Planet Trek Dane County (PTDC). According to the UW Space Place website “PTDC is, at heart, a scale model of our solar system: We shrunk the Sun, planets, and other bodies by the same factor so that the sizes and distances are represented to scale relative to each other. In our model, the scale is about 200 million to 1. This means the Sun is a sphere about 24 feet in diameter at Monona Terrace, and Pluto the size of a marble in Mt. Horeb”. Yes, Pluto is still holding on strong despite being downgraded to a dwarf planet. Each sign provides educational tidbits and really drives home the spatial features of these celestial bodies. The installment was intended to be temporary with removal planned for 2011, but the signs have been replaced with updated versions in the past year or two.

(Stay strong, Pluto!)

Anyway, if the Planet Trek hasn’t convinced you to bike to Mt. Horeb, the town’s charm and dining options are another great reason to make the ride. The presence of Norwegian immigrants has played a significant factor in the historic and contemporary identity of the town. It is known as the “Troll Capital of the World” with numerous troll statues sprinkled along the major streets. In the past couple of years, Mt. Horeb has expanded its tourist offerings with numerous cafes, restaurants, shops, and even a cider pub. I often enjoy stopping by Grumpy Troll Brew Pub for an enormous pretzel and a craft beer or Schubert’s Diner for some well-earned baked goods.

(A delicious cookie from Schubert’s)

A few things to note before you go:

  1. You will need to acquire a State Trail Pass to bike on the latter portion of the bike trail to Mt. Horeb. This can be accomplished at multiple kiosks along the way and you may be asked to show your state pass by park rangers.
  2. Things may seem to get oddly tough near the the final few miles of your bike ride to Mt. Horeb. Don’t worry, it’s not you, the elevation gradually increases in these miles.
  3. You will be biking on paved areas and on crushed stone. Some of the crushed stone portions of the trail has uncomfortable ruts and bumps due to use when the paths were wet, that have since dried. I’d assume a fat tire bike or mountain bike would handle these areas just fine.
  4. There are great stopping areas with benches along this route if you’d like to take your time and enjoy the scenery for a bit. Verona, WI (between Neptune and Uranus, about halfway) has a great shelter with two bike stations and bathrooms right next to the bike trail.
  5. If you’d like to go bikepacking, Blue Mound State Park and Governor Dodge State Park are accessible by Military Ridge State Trail. Mt. Horeb would be a great place to stop before or after camping at these sites for a treat.

Enjoy your ride! Tailwinds!

(Even trolls like to bike!)
PS: Not sure what gear you’d need for a successful bikepacking trip? Watch this handy
YouTube video!

Categories
Bike News

Biking with Steph: Pay-Oh-Lie YOLO

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

Happy National Bike Month! I have personally declared this month to be “YOLO (You Only Live Once) May”. For me, this means saying yes to new opportunities and trying to make everyday memorable. Today, I decided to take the advice of a bike friend and ventured off to Paoli (pronounced pay-oh-lie) for a roughly 33 mile ride. I have wanted to make this jaunt happen since I learned that it would incorporate a part of the Badger State Trail that I have never been on before.

I wasn’t confident how to get from my home to Paoli, so I used the directions for bikes in Google Maps to get me there. I am very grateful to have had the directions flowing through my earbuds, as I surely would have gotten lost near The Velo UnderRound. Even with my five years of being a Madison resident and very user-friendly maps at the Velo UnderRound, I manage to get lost around there more often than not.

(The Velo UnderRound)

Despite my directional impairments, I highly enjoyed my little adventure. The weather was perfectly cool, the route is not very hilly, I saw red barns and spotted cows, and even got to ride on a bit of crushed stone.

(Sun Valley Pkwy)

I decided to stop in Paoli for a quick lunch before heading back home. So, I set my eyes on Paoli Schoolhouse because of the great reviews and cute name. As it turns out, I was a bit under-dressed (Rev Cycles chamois speckled with gravel bits), so I left and I made a note to come back another day. There are alternative places to grab a bite in Paoli including The Hop Garden (lunch is served on the weekends) and Cafe Domestique’s satellite location (open weekends only).

(I kinda wish I had noticed the word “FINE” on their signage before entering the restaurant dressed as I was.)

Without alternatives, I ate a snack I had packed just in case, I mooed at some cows and I headed back home. I hope to do another day trip out to Mount Horeb and possibly bikepack to Governor Dodge State Park this month too. Both are accessible using the regional bike trails.

If you are waiting for a nudge to take this ride, consider this your nudge!

Happy riding and tailwinds!

(YOLO grin)

P.S: Wisconsin Off-Road Series (WORS) begins this week with the Englewood Open! If you’d like some local advice on mountain biking (MTB), look no further than Frank Hassler’s blog with new posts on MTB racing.

Categories
Bike News

Biking with Steph: East Side Pride

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

Earlier today, I found myself grumbling the old saying “Wisconsin has two seasons: winter and construction season” while biking from Madison’s east side through the hairball intersection.

https://i2.wp.com/i.imgur.com/VbZegrFl.jpg?w=580&ssl=1

While it is easy to whine about the exponential growth of orange construction barrels in the past few weeks on Madison’s east side, I’d like to focus on something more positive. Recently, I recalled an acquaintance referring to my SASY-area home being located in “biker’s paradise”. It’s true. Even with the construction, I am so lucky to live in a neighborhood that is as bike-friendly as it is.

Here are seven reasons why I live in a biker’s paradise:

1. There are so, so many bike groups that start their rides from this part of town including ones held by Spoke Haven, Cargo Bike Shop, Brazen Dropouts, and Revolution Cycles.

https://i1.wp.com/i.imgur.com/Reo1qB5l.jpg?w=580&ssl=1

(Brazen Dropouts Saturday ride)

2. Lots of local businesses care show they ‚ù§ bikers with lots of bike parking outside their establishments and/or by participating in the Bicycle Benefits program.

https://i2.wp.com/i.imgur.com/0pJJKEgl.jpg?w=580&ssl=1

(Bike parking by Mint Mark)

3. There are a lot of bike trails/paths on this side of town, including: Capital City, Yahara River, Sherman Flyer, and Starkweather Creek.

https://i2.wp.com/i.imgur.com/jotj5g7l.jpg?w=580&ssl=1

(Biking on the Cap City Bike Trail)

4. Some of our residential streets have sharrows in the middle of the travel lane. This symbol provides cyclists with extra validation that we can take the full lane, instead of smooshing to the side and hoping for the best.

https://i0.wp.com/i.imgur.com/bx8jLh9l.jpg?w=580&ssl=1

5. The near east side has wayfinding signage for places like Middle Earth and the Space Station.

https://i1.wp.com/i.imgur.com/CAMqxikl.jpg?w=580&ssl=1

6. The Monona Lake Loop meanders through residential segments of the neighborhood.

https://i2.wp.com/i.imgur.com/3T2s0wXl.jpg?w=580&ssl=1

7. There are TWO bike-friendly intersections with biker-focused stoplights and green lane markings.

https://i0.wp.com/i.imgur.com/PsmsNaJl.jpg?w=580&ssl=1

(Intersection at Dunning and Atwood. How many bikes do YOU see in the photo!?)

(Intersection at Blair and Mifflin.)

Sure, not everything about any neighborhood is perfect. However, the near east side is pretty darn close though; you should bike on over for a visit and see for yourself.

Happy biking and tailwinds!

P.S. Haven’t gotten enough bike-related content yet? Check out a video clip from last week’s Amstel Gold Race. A veritable nail-biter (especially the final few minutes).

Categories
Bike News

With a Roubaix Here and a Roubaix There

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

Last week, I learned about a new bike event called Paris-Roubaix. To be honest, I had no idea what the heck a “roubaix” was, where it was, or even how to pronounce it (ROO-bay, FYI). What I did deduce was that the Paris-Roubaix was a BIG deal in certain segments of the bike world because there were heaps of references to the event in the popping up on my Facebook feed.

Here were just a few events in the area that Facebook thought I should know about:

2019 Dairy Roubaix
10th Annual Cheesehead Roubaix
Paoli Roubaix
Barry Roubaix
Paris-Roubaix viewing
https://www.flickr.com/photos/rmkcycling/7057785749/
(Photo: Roxanne King, CC-BY)
Regardless whether spring has truly sprung in Wisconsin or not, the rip-roaring biking community is ready to go and there are events galore. Most of these events do not require advanced registration and most event organizers would be glad to see you come out at all! There are bike events for people from all backgrounds and abilities. There are no-drop rides for women, scavenger hunt rides, hardcore training rides and SO many more. In addition to bike events advertised on social media, you can find a plethora of bike events on our Madison Bikes “Community Bike Calendar“. One of our biggest events this year will be Madison Bike Week! We will be organizing the week of events and plan on it being the best Bike Week ever. Please consider having your place of work get involved by hosting an event or sign up to be a volunteer!
Oh, and for those still wondering, Roubaix is a city in Northern France and Paris-Roubaix is the name of a one-day, boneshaking bike race that has been held in France since the 1800s. The previously-mentioned iterations of the Roubaix involve races on grueling terrain (including gravel) at very challenging speeds.

Happy riding!

P.S.: Want to know more about Paris-Roubaix? Take it from the perspective of the race itself and watch this video:

Categories
Bike News

Biking with Steph: Vroooom!

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

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

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

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

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

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

In summary:

Some pros of e-bikes from the perspective of somebody like my mother:
  • You don’t need to be a tech-wiz to use the bike.
  • You won’t necessarily break a sweat and mess up your hair after going for a ride.
  • The batteries are now integrated into the frame, so it looks “sleek”.
  • It is great fun to ride.
  • The bike lights are already attached and are turned on when you ride.
  • E-bikes provide an opportunity to stay current and to grow as a person.
Some cons of e-bikes from the perspective of somebody like my mother:
  • Removing the integrated battery from the bike frame is a multi-step process and can be a bit cumbersome.
  • The bikes are pricey.
  • The pedals “look cheap”.
  • Riding an e-bike take some mental adaptation.
  • The concern of public stigmatization that riding an e-bike means that she isn’t in good shape.
  • Safety concerns if she hits a pothole and gets thrown off the speedy bike.

After much deliberation, she decided to not buy the bike at the expo. However, after doing a bit more research and maybe one more sweet test ride, I bet she’ll make the leap and buy the bike. Perhaps, then, we can ride together and make some new memories.

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

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

Categories
Bike News

Biking with Steph: Dream Big!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Madcitydirt.com)

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

Happy on- and off-road biking!

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