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!

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