Bike News Newsletter Weekly Update

Here comes Bike Week

The Madison Bike Week calendar is filling up with great events stretching from June 1 to June 8. It’s time to double-check your own calendar to make sure a few of them are there — and maybe triple-check whether you’ve got something to add to the events.

A few to consider:

COOKIES. Do you already miss Girl Scout Cookies season? Here’s your chance for another thin mint, and for free (courtesy Girl Scout Troop 8267) on the Cap City Path at Jackson Street from 1 to 3 p.m. on June 1.

Explore another silent sport. Join Badger Rowing at their Porter Boathouse, 680 Babcock Drive, for a bagel-and-coffee refuel stop on the Lakeshore Path from 3 to 5 p.m. on June 4. Take a tour of the boathouse and try out some dry-land training under the supervision of people who use their arms — Can you imagine? — to get around.

Party at the Pump Track. Kick off the first day of summer vacation with Wisconsin Bike Fed and DreamBikes at the Aldo Leopold Park Pump Track, 2906 Traceway Drive, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on June 7. If you and yours have never tried — sounds like “shredded” is the appropriate terminology — a pump track, this is a great chance for beginners to get a few pointers or experienced riders to learn some new moves.

If you’d like to host an event like these, picture yourself on the calendar and check out the Madison Beer Week FAQ for registration info.

Southwest Bike Path closure

If you’re a regular on the Southwest Bike Path, you’ll have to skip a section near the UW–Madison campus this week. Construction crews will be removing a tower crane at 750 Regent St. That requires closing the bike path from East Campus Mall to West Washington Avenue. A posted detour will steer bicyclists around the closure via West Dayton Street.

It’s a pretty quiet week, otherwise. Other than a few showers in the forecast, a great time to get out for a ride!

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

Action Alert In Depth

The Tragedies of Sauk Creek Greenway

(disclaimer: this is a personal blog and not an official position of Madison Bikes)

Alder Nikki Conklin recently announced the scuttling of a long-planned North/South path through the Sauk Creek Greenway on Madison’s far west side. This is an unfortunate capitulation. The tragedy isn’t so much the loss of the path, but the way in which it was lost and how it unfairly perpetuates a “Bikes vs Trees” narrative.

If you just want action, jump to Next Steps at the bottom of this painfully-long blog.

I’ve also added a footnote1 with updates and follow-ups since this blog was originally posted.


The 26-acre Sauk Creek Greenway snakes from Tree Lane to Old Sauk Rd. There has long been a stormwater project to deal with years of neglect and surges of stormwater from west side development, particularly the parking lots near Menards. The issue became critical after the 2018 floods which resulted in the drowning death of a person in the nearby Chapel Hill-Greentree greenway, an area with many similarities to Sauk Creek. That incident resulted in the $5.9M McKenna Boulevard Flood Mitigation Project.

The Sauk Creek stormwater project’s goals are to stabilize the creek and build a gravel service road similar to the ones in Owen Conservation Park and Pheasant Branch north of Century Ave. The project would also thin the trees according to a soon-to-be-released corridor plan. It’s expected that the City will want to remove all damaged and unhealthy trees, and also many of the less desirable trees that are crowding the more desirable trees. Opinions vary on what is a “desirable” tree, but there’s no doubt the current greenspace is a product of neglect and mesophication, and there isn’t a single healthy oak tree under 80 years old. Unlike Owen, Olin, Hoyt, Picnic Point, and other urban greenspaces, this greenway has never had a volunteer group clearing invasives, burning duff, stemming erosion, maintaining trails, etc.

Throughout the project, neighbors have rightfully expressed concerns about what tree removal will look like, especially after a different tree-thinning exercise a few blocks away seemed excessive:

As far as I can tell, the City departments involved seem to have been responsive, going so far as to inventory the entire 26-acre wood and its 5500 trees, post a list of every public meeting and department involved, publish a community engagement guide, and issue multiple statements to dispel misunderstandings that had arisen. However, throughout the process one can’t help but sense that neighbors seemed more interested in how the project will affect their own properties than the City’s.

Enter the “Friends”

In mid-2022, the “Friends of Sauk Creek” formed. Unlike most “Friends” organizations that help improve our parks and open space, this group’s single goal was to “stop plans to remove 5,500 trees during a reconstruction of Sauk Creek,” i.e., to ensure nothing changes. [Update: their new web site has expanded their mission to include “stop bike paths in the nearby woods.” Their old web site with much of their history is still in google’s cache]. The leaders are nice, intelligent people and they’re passionate about their neighborhoods. But for reasons I can’t explain, their manner of engaging with the City quickly turned belligerent and hostile, and they’ve shown little interest in compromise or finding common ground.2

The group aggressively took the planners to task, demanding details and impacts long before any engineering had been done to provide precise answers. They looked for inconsistencies with what was said by different people in different City departments, jumping on them as signs of malfeasance or secrecy. They apparently filed Freedom of Information Act requests. To this outsider, their treatment of our City officials seemed unfair and unwarranted. Despite all that, a petition they crafted in late 2022 calling for public involvement in tree-clearing decisions was calm, measured and entirely appropriate. It got 373 signatures. I would have happily signed it.

Their true colors were revealed in May 2023 when they rallied to kill a planned youth single-track MTB trail in Walnut Grove Park that would have provided youth recreation similar to the Aldo Leopold Park shred-to-school trails. The trail didn’t endanger a single mature, healthy tree and was environmentally compatible with the park’s existing uses (which include a dog park!). With no environmental reason for their opposition, it’s impossible not to conclude that the “Friends” group is more concerned about the users of the greenway than the health of the greenway. To them, the greenway should remain their own private backyard in perpetuity and anything that brings more people into the area is a threat.

During a meeting in July 2023, City planners indicated that the stormwater project may be coordinated with a long-planned North/South path through the greenway. This would mean paving and grading the access road to ADA and NACTO path standards, adding one or more bridges, and connecting the path to the City’s growing All Ages & Abilities bike network. The idea of a path goes back at least to the 2000 bike plan (pg 84) where it was listed as a “third priority” because “suitable on-road routes exist.” The “Friends” group twists that to say that the City had declared the path “wasn’t a priority.” In reality, “third priority” means exactly that and, after 24 years, many of the other “third priority” projects have been completed, including Wingra Creek underpass, Stricker Pond path, a path in Blackhawk Park, the new Starkweather bridge, etc. The path again appeared in the 2015 bike plan on the future map (figure 4-7, pg 39). It also was on the West Area Plan that kicked off in early 2023.

At some point, East/West path connections through the greenway were also added to the West Area Plan. I’m not sure the history of that, but do know that students headed to Memorial High School, Jefferson Middle School, and the Lussier Community Center have expressed a desire for an E/W connection without having to go all the way down to Tree Lane. For some, an E/W connection will eliminate up to a mile of extra travel and avoid having to take busy four-lane Old Sauk Rd. It will also provide a connection to WisDOT’s planned bike/ped beltline bridge just to the west. Even after Alder Conklin capitulated on the N/S path this week, the E/W path remains in the plan and will surely be a continued fight.

Enter the Boogeyman

Once the “Friends” heard about a paved path, they were livid and shifted their attention towards this new boogeyman — the bike path! After all, what better symbol of hatred than a smug, entitled biker?

credit: AI

Their web site soon shouted “City planner describes creek area as biking hub; it could destroy thousands of trees, birds, wildlife.” Taking a lesson from the “see what sticks” playbook, they brainstormed a random assortment of false and exaggerated talking points, listed below (with my rebuttals):

  • “Thousands of trees removed”, “decimate”, “reduced canopy”, etc. (The stormwater project is what will remove trees! A paved path will only require minor additional tree removals for bridges and the E/W path. Engineers will surely try to avoid the healthy, desirable trees.)
  • “Destroy nature”, “harm animals”, etc. (Paths are not a major factor. Studies do show that mountain biking can impact nesting habits of some bird species in wilderness areas. But this is an urban greenway; any animal here is adapted to houses, highways, noise, and the adjacent dog park. Turtles even dig their nests next to paths.)
  • “The path’s impervious surface will leach toxins into our lakes!” (Path asphalt is inert and the path has no gutters or drains for water to reach the lake. All rainwater soaks into the ground a few feet from where it falls. Porous asphalt can also be used, as Fitchburg did along Lacy Rd. Toxins from asphalt largely come from driveway sealants used by homeowners.)
  • “The grade is too steep and the path will be dangerous!” (The grades are nothing that design engineers couldn’t handle; overall it’s much tamer than paths in Yarmouth Crossing and Pheasant Branch Creek.)
  • “Heat-island, climate change!” (The stormwater project is responsible for the extent of tree removal; their thinning will allow the remaining trees to flourish, improving the overall canopy. Plus, if the path can convince even a single person to give up their car or drive less, that can save up to 250 mature trees worth of carbon capture. Biking and walking are climate solutions, not problems!)
  • “The path will be lighted!” (This is not in any plan and is technically challenging. It would only be added if neighbors asked for it. [edit: see footnote 1])
  • “The cost will be $6M! or $7M!” (The City doesn’t have a design detailed enough to know what the cost will be. By the time the stormwater project has rehabilitated the gravel access road, the cost to add asphalt and bridges should be very reasonable with most costs covered by a federal grant.)
  • “Bikers are fast and dangerous” (FUD. See below for why this path would not be a major bike thoroughfare.)
  • “The path doesn’t connect anywhere!” (Never mind the chicken-and-egg fallacy of arguing against paths because of lack of other paths, this path would have immediately connected to bike lanes on Old Sauk Rd and Tree Ln, and it would nearly reach Mineral Point Rd’s new widened sidewalk. The E/W path will connect WisDOT’s planned beltline overpass at Sauk Creek Park.)
  • “The path isn’t needed because there are other routes on Westfield and High Point!” (This is absolutely true for most bicyclists one sees on the roads today. However, it’s estimated that ⅓ of bicyclists only bike where there are comfortable off-street paths. This path could be the difference in whether a family bikes or drives to Swagat for dinner or whether their child can reach Alicia Ashman Library on their own.)

This last point drives me crazy and points to a major failure in City messaging. This path would never have been a major bike hub or bike highway on the order of the Capital City trail or Southwest Commuter Path. Instead, it would be a backyard greenway path similar to ones in Greentree-Chapel Hill, Oak Meadow, Mineral Point Park, Garner Park, and dozens of others. Those are all important bike connections, especially for All Ages and Abilities, but they attract far more walkers, joggers, dog walkers, strollers, and kids than bicyclists. Most path users are from the adjacent neighborhoods.

A typical 5pm in McKee Farms Park. Five walkers, one jogger with dog, and one fisherman on a bike (obscured).

Mobilization strategies

The “Friends” group issued a second petition in Fall 2023 filled with their false talking points, though it moderated its words on tree removal. Curiously, they only got 305 signatures, far less than the 2022 petition. This could have been due to shortness of time, but it might also be due to neighbor fatigue. I’ve spoken with several people in the area including a few who are serious conservationists and, frankly, they’re bewildered by how sideways things have gone and they’re afraid to speak up because of the power the “Friends” group seems to wield.

Another pillar of their mobilization strategy was to hound and harass every public servant and every public meeting related to the West Area Plan with emails, public comments, and in-person confrontations. Ald. Conklin’s inbox probably has a thousand messages about it, far more than any human could read, let alone reply to. At the Wisconsin Healthy Communities Summit last week, State Senator Chris Larson advised that one key to successful government advocacy was to “point out the problem without being problematic.” The “Friends” group proves him dead wrong! I recall one technical zoning meeting where an exasperated attendee asked of the barrage of Sauk Creek path comments, “Do these even refer to anything on the agenda?” (they didn’t, but it was a public meeting so there was no stopping it)

It was also agonizing to see how much time and energy the “Friends” group was able to extract from their own members. I’ve read every public comment from a half-dozen meetings. Most are earnest and thoughtful, and many brought up well-researched concerns about project bounds, path routing, grade, erosion, proximity to yards — all issues that would be really helpful during the design phase, had there been one. But so many of the messages also raised the same false and exaggerated talking points. At one meeting, a neighbor with a disability stood in opposition to the path because she couldn’t imagine how an ADA path could navigate the terrain. With the project now scuttled, we’ll never know how engineers would have solved that; but they would have.

A third pillar was the press. By framing this as “David v Goliath,” “neighbors saving trees from uncaring City planners,” or “trees versus bikers”, they got a lot of sympathetic press. Allison Garfield’s excellent Capital Times piece “A Silent Deforestation” gave most coverage to the neighbors, but it was extremely fair in presenting the City’s position. WORT‘s earlier coverage was similarly balanced. Coverage in the Wisconsin State Journal was more lopsided for the “Friends”, and Cap Times editor Paul Fanlund proved himself a sucker for the false messaging, lobbing cheap shots against bicyclists in his opinion piece on zoning changes.

The fourth pillar was to capitalize on the public outcry about proactive zoning, as Fanlund had done. The zoning issue is important and potentially affects the entire city, but it has nothing to do with the local Sauk Creek stormwater project. That didn’t stop a former Common Council candidate from making this FOX news-worthy video that egregiously conflates the two issues.

City Capitulation

The strategy of the “Friends of Sauk Creek” worked. The city is now planning to remove the N/S path from the West Area Plan. This is no big loss for the overall bike network, but it is a tremendous loss for low-stress bicycling since beautiful paths like this are often what get people hooked on biking in the first place. I personally think it’s also a huge loss for the neighborhood, but that’s really for the neighbors to judge.

The biggest tragedy for me as a transportation advocate is that this loss is entirely due to misinformation and bullying. The “Friends of Sauk Creek” apparently feels no shame in their tactics and perhaps this is just a case of local democracy emulating national politics. But that doesn’t make it right. It’s embarrassing to see it succeed in Madison.

Of course, the “Friends” aren’t done. Of course they know the path has little impact on tree removal. They will fight the E/W path that remains in the plan. They will fight the stormwater project later this summer. And, in a couple years, they’ll be fighting the off-street bike paths now planned for High Point and Westfield Rds — paths that will end up costing far more than the greenway path and that will remove parking and disrupt the front yards of the fifty or so home- and condo- owners on those streets.

What’s next?

Madison’s West Area Plan updates and information about all upcoming meetings are posted at The Sauk Creek path change has two meetings:

  • virtually on Thursday May 30 at 6pm
  • in-person open house at High Point Church on Thursday June 6 from 6-8pm. Fortunately or not, this falls in the middle of Bike Week!

As bicyclists, our goals should be to show overwhelming support for the East/West path and to try to restore the North/South path through the Sauk Creek greenway.

Our success depends almost entirely on helping opposition neighbors to (a) understand that the paths are not responsible for mass tree removal and (b) that paths will be an asset, not a threat, to the neighborhoods, the greenway and the adjacent property owners.

Let’s mobilize with facts and kindness. Let’s help the opposition think about how they might personally benefit from a path. E.g., walking a dog without getting muddy feet or ticks, morning jogs or birding, walking or biking to dinner, sending your child alone to the park or library, and so on. If quality-of-life gains aren’t enough, remind them that a trail will increase property values by 3-5%.

Most importantly, let’s encourage them to go explore the similar greenways to see what paths are really like and how other neighbors use them. Here are four ideal ones to visit:

  • Middleton’s Pheasant Branch Creek path (at Park St, not the larger area north of Century Blvd) is most analogous to Sauk Creek in terms of narrowness, length, and terrain.
  • The Mineral Point Park path from behind Memorial High School to Inner Drive. This is similarly narrow to Sauk Creek but has a concrete stormwater drain.
  • Fitchburg’s paths like Nevan Springs/Buttonbush and Oak Meadow have adjacent houses. Here you can see how homeowners integrate their yards with the paths while maintaining privacy.
  • The Cap City trail west of Fish Hatchery (park at Adesys) is a popular trail so expect a much higher volume of bike traffic. It has steep grades, multiple bridges, and a meandering creek whose banks are reinforced with natural boulders.
  • The gravel maintenance road in Owen Conservation Park from Inner Drive to Forsythia Pl. This is what Sauk Creek’s new maintenance road will look like unpaved. The corridor width is not that different from a paved path.

There is a path to saving the path.

  1. Update: Added Mineral Point Park path to the list of suggests greenways to visit. Errata: Although the “Friends” group does not organize it, some Sauk Creek neighbors do independent garlic mustard removal and other woods maintenance. Follow-up: The “Friends” group has not responded to this blog , but instead doubled-down on their misinformation in a May 19 blog. Follow-up: social media discussions about this blog are at Nextdoor and Reddit (and earlier Reddit). A very good policy discussion about paths in Sauk Creek greenway took place in the Dec 13, 2023 meeting of the Madison Transportation Commission (watch here from 1:52:00 to 2:33:45). In it, and also at a June 6 meeting, City engineers said they preferred paths to be lit but that it was very much a design question, decided by public input. ↩︎
  2. To be transparent, I have no first-hand exposure to the Friends of Sauk Creek prior to Fall 2023, so all descriptions of earlier events are based on the public record. There may be other plausible explanations. I welcome the “Friends” or other involved people to help correct the record and point out any mistakes they read in this blog. ↩︎
Bike News Newsletter Weekly Update

Metro hits 1M+ ride mark again; Healthy Communities Summit; and biking events this weekend

Bus rider walks up to bus stationed at stop on campus
Metro Transit bus, by Lauren Graves – UW Transportation Services

Metro Transit hits 1M+ rides in February

Metro Transit once again hit a post-pandemic milestone of providing over one million rides in February 2024. The agency reports having provided 1,019,324 rides in February ’24, a 12.5% year-over-year increase over February ’23. This is the second non-consecutive month Metro has had more than 1 million rides in a month since before the pandemic, with October 2023 being the last seeing roughly 1,075,500 riders.

Graph displaying Metro's monthly ridership from 2020 to February 2024, with a callout showing the 12.5% year over year increase in rides provided
Metro continues to make progress in recovering post-pandemic ridership

Coming this week

Healthy Communities Summit

4/29 at 8a – 5p

The Healthy Communities Summit returns to Madison this year on Monday, April 29. The summit is scheduled to occur at UW-Madison’s Memorial Union in the Great Hall on Monday, April 29th, 2024, running from 8a to 5p. Featured programming topics for this year include Education Empowerment, Changemaker Inspiration, and Trail Development Toolbox. Attendees can anticipate various breakout sessions led by both local and national experts, covering these themes and additional subjects.

North/South BRT Public Meeting

4/29 at 5:30p

Metro Rapid Route B will be the second bus rapid transit route in the Madison area, following a North to South route from the North side of Madison to Fitchburg. At the next round of meetings on Monday, April 29 at the MainStay Suites in Fitchburg from 5:30-7:30p, the public can provide feedback and see changes that have been made based on input we received, including updated station locations and routing. Attend the meeting in person or watch it here.

Women’s Mountain Bike Day Group Ride

5/4 at 9:30a

Celebrate Women’s Mountain Bike Day on Saturday, May 4th with a Women’s Group Ride! Meet at the Pavilion by the Quarry Ridge parking lot at 9:30am for a 1-hour beginner-friendly ride. Bring your mountain bike, helmet, water, and a flat kit. There will be an instructor present to help you learn and improve your mountain biking skills. Stick around afterwards for coffee and donuts.

A woman on a mountain bike on a dirt path, Machinery Row Bicycles

Cinco de cuatro ride with @Cap.City. Cicylists

5/4 at 11a

Join @Cap.City.Cyclists and others for a “Cinco de cuatro” bike ride this May 4 to get burritos and drinks. Ride starts at 11a and leaves from Orton Park.

Poster for May 4 bike ride from Orton Park to Habaneros restaurant at 11 a.m.
Join @Cap.City.Cyclists and others for a burrito ride.

No matter how long you ride this week, ride safely! Cheers.

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

Weekly Update

Get Ready for Bike Week

Bike Wash and Safety Check

The Madison Bike Week 2024 webpage is up! Events are starting to come in, and soon the calendar will start filling in as groups, businesses, neighborhood associations, non-profits, and individuals start submitting their plans. Do you want to host an event? The form to let us know what you’d like to do is on that page as well. There are some pre-approved locations from the city in public parks and rights of way (streets), but you can also add events on private property or get city permission for additional locations. Let us know if you have questions.

Updates from the past week

The nasty, cold weather cleared away for a great Bike Wash and Safety Check on Sunday, thanks to board member Pete Taglia. We saw familiar faces – and many new ones too – and got a chance to wash off the road grime or salt, check to be sure our bikes are ready for warm weather riding, and talk about Madison Bikes and our plans for the coming months. We had a some people drop in because they saw chalked announcements on the Brittingham Path and signs near the closed street. Thanks to Freecycle for helping us out. WMTV channel 15 had a nice piece on the evening news.

Coming up this week

North-South BRT public meetings starting Monday. Just a reminder from last week’s newsletter that the city is hosting a barrage of public meetings about the proposed North-South BRT Line. On Monday April 22, you can go virtual, on Tuesday it’s at the Urban League on S Park (South Side), on Thursday it’s at the Warner Park Community Center (North Side) and on Monday April 29 it’ll be in Fitchburg.

On South Park St, there will probably be some changes that affect bicycle infrastructure – some good, some not so great. There will be fewer changes on the north side, but there might be opportunities to improve connection. 


The Transportation Commission agenda has several items that may be of interest. You can watch and/or comment on any agenda item at 5:00 pm online

The Safe Streets Madison project list contains relatively small projects that are meant to make streets, paths, crossings, and other infrastructure safer for all users: pavement markings, flashing beacons, small sidewalk and path connections, and signal changes. Safe Streets Madison replaced the previous neighborhood traffic calming program. For this year, Traffic Engineering is proposing 29 projects for a total cost estimate of $1,108,000. 

The Traffic Signal Priority list reports on locations where changes were considered to lights and stop signs. If you have a [least] favorite location for crossing, you may be interested to see why things are or are not changing. 


The Joint Campus Area Committee – a committee that coordinates projects between the UW, the city, and adjacent neighborhoods – will be discussing a possible bypass of the Limnology Building.

If you are one of the 15,000 pedestrians or bicyclists that uses the UW Lakeshore Path every day, you know how frustrating it can be to negotiate the tight quarters at the eastern end of the path where we have to pass between the Limnology Building and Bascom Hill. It is narrow, people are entering and exiting the building, sightlines are very bad, and sometimes equipment and vehicles are stored close to the path, making it even narrower. No one is happy with the situation, but a new project will make it much more comfortable. You can see the slides to be presented at the meeting, but the short version is that the entire area south of the building will be widened by cutting into the hillside and building a retaining wall. This will create a better/safer entrance to the building, a dedicated delivery area, and a wider path for bicyclists. Pedestrians will still use a path on the north side of the building. This one is in person at 4:45 pm in room 132 in the WARF building on campus


Blackhawk Trail Spring Work Day. If you use this mtb trail, or would like to meet others, come out and help get the trail into shape. Meet at the east chalet on 10118 Blackhawk Road, Middleton at 9:00 am for instructions and to enter your name in the raffle.

Celebrate Trails Day! with Bike Fitchburg 10 am-1 pm at the Velo UnderRound (where the Military Ridge, Cannonball, and Cap City Trails all meet.) Enjoy non-alcoholic drinks from national sponsor Athletic Brewing and snacks, pick up bike maps, and learn how we advocate for biking and walking that’s safer, easier, more fun, and more equitable in Fitchburg.


Capital Bike Club 2024 Membership Party, 3-5 pm at Capital Brewery in Middleton. Come say hi to your cycling friends new & old. Snacks and beverages will be provided to paid members of the bike club. And if you aren’t a member, but would like to join, head over to their webpage.

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

Weekly Update

Bike Wash, Brews, BRT

Someone riding a bike on the Southwest Path toward the camera. In the background a controlled burn and a number of people in safety vests.
‘Tis the season for prescribed burns — it’s an oldie-but a goodie (Harald Kliems and Cyclists of Madison)

If you’re interested in shaping the future of our Dane County Parks, please consider taking the time to complete the Dane County Parks and Open Space Plan Survey. The survey is open until May 1, 2024 so you’ve got a couple of weeks to collect your thoughts on the subject. The results of the survey will shape the next five year plan so it’s literally a once-in-a-lifetime (of a guinea pig) opportunity!

Also, here’s your once every few months (the lifespan of a flea) reminder to subscribe to Bike Madison email updates. You’ll get tons of useful info about construction, improvements and events; more than we can cover here. Also, try not to be put off by the janky website. Yeah, I know, glass houses and all but they know it and they’re working on it. Reliable sources are telling us that they’re up next for a big revamp, bringing them out of the early 2000’s. We can’t wait!

This Week

On Wednesday at 10:30 AM, join a Zoom call hosted by AARP Wisconsin and Active Wisconsin:

The Active Wisconsin spring network call is this WEDNESDAY, APRIL 17 at 10:30am. Everyone is welcome! Learn about a new resource from AARP, get a heads up on events in 2024, hear about advocacy efforts on active transportation, and learn about what’s going on in health and transportation around the state. 

On Thursday from 6 PM-7:30 PM, join the online Freewheel April Volunteer Meeting (zoom link).

We have been having some great conversations about building up Freewheel’s movement, and invite you to join the effort to bring an accessible, DIY community bike shop back to Madison. See you there! 

On Saturday at 3 PM, stop by Capital Brewery in Middleton for an open house “dedicated to the world of E-Bikes!” Capital Brewery is home to many weekly group rides and is a very popular start/finishing spot for all sorts of riding. For more information, check out the Facebook invite.

On Sunday between 1 PM and 4 PM, Madison Bikes is hosting our annual Spring Bike Wash event. Like all of our community events it’s free, and if you’ve never experienced it before, it’s a great way to get the winter grime off your bike and hang out with fellow cyclists. It’ll be on Clark Ct, adjacent to Brittingham Park.

Also on Sunday from 3 PM to 5 PM, the Tenney-Lapham Neighborhood Association (TLNA) is sweetening their spring membership meeting with a free Bikes and Brews family-friendly event. Head over to the Tenney Park Wall Family Pavilion and you’ll surely find the party.

Next Week and More

The city is hosting a barrage of public meetings about the proposed North-South BRT Line. On Monday April 22, you can go virtual, on Tuesday it’s at the Urban League on S Park (South Side), on Thursday it’s at the Warner Park Community Center (North Side) and on Monday April 29 it’ll be in Fitchburg. If you’re interested in this topic and none of these events work for you, then keep an eye out for the virtual recording and if that doesn’t work for you, well, we tried.🤷

Looking waaaaay out, Madison Parks is bringing Ride the Drive back on Sunday, August 11, 2024. It’s an ambitious event that will return to the classic format of years past. They’ll need an army of volunteers to make it happen so mark it in your calendar and sign up if you can!

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

E-Mail Weekly Update

Bike signals; Teaching Safe Bicycling; bike club season starting; trees and bikes

A person rides a step-through bicycle down the ramp of the University Bay Drive overpass. They're wearing a puffy coat, a knit neck gaiter pulled up over part of their face, sunglasses, a hat, and a bike helmet. On the rear of the bike are panniers covered with a hi-viz rain cover. In the foreground is some snow.
Aftermath of last week’s snow on the University Bay Dr overpass

Is this the week that spring is going to start in earnest? Is it time to take off the studded tires? I dare not make any predictions, especially for a week that starts with a solar eclipse. But it seems several bike clubs and riding groups are starting their season. Read more below.

A new kind of traffic signal

On the far west side of time, at Junction and Watts, Madison premiered its first 4″ bike signal. While we have full-size bike signals in several places around town, these signals are right-sized for being on the near side of the intersection. Check out traffic engineer Jerry Schippa’s video of the signal:

Of trees and bikes

Once again, a supposed conflict between bike infrastructure and trees has made the news. This time the contention is about removing trees for the Autumn Ridge bike path and overpass. This path, long in the making, will greatly improve connectivity between the neighborhoods around Sycamore Park and destinations south of the highway. Madison Bikes submitted a letter of support for the city’s application for funding for that project.

Is removing down some trees a reasonable trade-off for this new bike (and pedestrian!) connection? I personally sure think so. It’s important to keep in mind why we need this overpass in the first place: Highway 30, a limited access highway cuts the neighborhood in half, and the only existing connection across the highway is Thompson Road, with its dangerous multi-lane roundabouts and speeding drivers. I would love to see Highway 30 converted into an urban street, lined with beautiful trees. But that’s not the alternative available to us. Also keep all of this mind, as the Wisconsin Department of Transportation is planning on expanding the Interstate as well as Stoughton Road through our city.

Our board member Craig Weinhold was quoted in the segment:

But bicyclist Craig Weinhold said any disruption for bicycle travel is often treated in an out-of-proportion fashion.

“My concern is the demonizing of cyclists and the City over any bike path proposal,” Weinhold said. “Hiestand Park is just the latest example.”

Teaching Safe Bicycling

On Sunday, the Wisconsin Bike Fed will “train the trainer” on Teaching Safe Bicycling. This 6-hour-long clinic at the Goodman Center will teach adults on how to teach safe biking techniques to kids. Registration is required and free! More details here.

Group rides kicking off!

A whole number of group rides and clubs are kicking off their riding season this week.

On Monday evening, Cap City Cyclists has their first Mad Town Mondays ride scheduled. This is somewhat of a successor to the Monday 40 rides, and the ride will make a good ol’ Lake Loop, ending at the Harmony. More details on Instagram.

If you want a faster, women-led ride, Women on Wheels is a new group, “inclusive to all genders looking for non-competitive and safety-focused tempo rides.” Their season opener is on Tuesday, and you can find more information on their Facebook group.

Also on Tuesday, the BIPOC Cycling Club Madison will have their first ride of the season. Their mission is to “be a safe and welcoming space for BIPOC individuals to ride together, and to build an inclusive community around the joy of cycling.” More info on their Instagram account.

The Madison Queer Bike Ride is a year-round opportunity, and this Wednesday it’s time for another ride. I haven’t seen their route announced yet — check their Instagram page for details.

Bombay Bicycle Club will host their season opener on Sunday. The ride goes down south to Firefly Coffee House in Oregon, and apparently coffee is provided by the club. 10 am departure at the Cap City Trail parking lot near Lake Farm County Park. Facebook event.

Not quite kicking off the season yet is the new Capital Bike Club e-bike group. Save the date for their April 20 open house in Middleton

Madison Bike Week is coming

If you attended the Dream Bikes parking lot sale on Saturday, you may have seen one of our flyers for Madison Bike Week! We’re just about to roll out our promotion campaign, and let’s just say that we’ll have awesome promo materials this year. Now is also a good time to start thinking about what events you want to host during Madison Bike Week, June 1-8. Event registration (as always: free!) is open.

CORP fundraiser

Our mountain biking friends from CORP are hosting their “Love your trails” spring fundraiser at Machinery Row on Saturday. Tickets are $20/$25 (advance/door) and will include food and beverages. Facebook event.

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

E-Mail Weekly Update

RoundTrip Spring Roll/Stroads/TC actions

Ghost Bike placed in memory of Joseph Solomon who was killed by a van while riding home from his job at HyVee East (Photo: John Chady)

RoundTrip’s Spring Roll Challenge

Earth day (April 22) is approaching and it’s a perfect time to shake off the rust and get in the commuting habit again if you haven’t already. The RoundTrip transportation options program is jump starting this process by launching the Spring Roll Challenge to encourage car-free and car-light trips during April.  The news release from the City of Madison is here:


How much does it cost to enter? Nothing, it’s free!

Which activities are included? Any trip made by walking/rolling, bicycling, riding the bus, carpooling or vanpooling—instead of driving alone.

Who can enter: Anyone 18 years and older in Dane County.

Are there prizes? Four winners are chosen each week from participants who log at least six one-way green trips (three round trips). Four grand prize winners will be drawn from those who log twenty-four one-way green trips (12 round trips) throughout the month. Prizes include $100 Slow Roll Cycles gift cards, $50 CommuteRewards gift cards, Madison BCycle memberships, travel mugs, and Metro Transit passes

Why should I enter now? The first 50 individuals to join will receive a starter prize pack, including a free slice from Ian’s Pizza, a 30-minute BCycle pass and a two-ride Metro Transit pass.

How do I enroll? Register with RoundTrip at Then start logging your miles!

Callaway highlights community meeting

Renee Callaway, Pedestrian Bicycle Administrator for the city of Madison gave an update on all things bicycle related in the city of Madison. Her slides are available here: Madison Bikes Community Meeting 03252024.

Transportation committee actions

The following projects were approved and will go to the Board of Public Works:

Tancho Drive Path. This path will link Tancho Drive in Madison to bike paths of Sun Prairie.

Pheasant Branch Trail. A rerouting of current trails in the area of Deming Way and Excelsior Dr to avoid new drainage ponds and provide better connectivity. A new path connecting to Fourier Dr. will be added.

Hermina St foot/bike bridge. Narrowing street and preservation of tree canopy on Hermina and bridge over Starkweather Creek. This project will allow bicyclists and pedestrians traveling east or west to avoid using Milwaukee Street.  Possible new B-cycle station near the bridge.

What are stroads and how we can fix them

OK, what the heck is a stroad? Actually, you are actually very familiar with them.  An informative communication from Wisconsin BikeFed describes the safety and efficiency issues created by stroads. There is also an excellent video on stroads and a link to an easy to use interactive map that facilitates analysis of all types of crashes.

Gammon Road and bike/ped safety issues in the vicinity of schools are used to illustrate how problems can be identified with crash data. The safety improvements implemented on Sherman Avenue are used to show how stroads can be made safer and more efficient.  

This one is well worth your time.

Deadline approaching for Smart Cycling class

The registration deadline for the April 20 League of American Bicyclists Smart Cycling Class is Friday, April 12.  The course will be held in Fitchburg and covers bike maintenance basics, rules of the road, on-bike skills, and crash avoidance techniques. This class is also a prerequisite for League Cycling Instructor training.

Other items on the calendar:

April 6, 10AM – 3PM: Rescheduled Huge Dream Bikes Parking Lot Sale. 1131 N Sherman Ave.

April 21: Two opportunities for free bike maintenance:

Madison Bikes and Freewheel Bikes will be providing a Spring Bike Wash and Lube from 1 pm to 4 pm at Clark Court and South Brittingham Place right next to Brittingham Park. Bike wash stations and supplies will be provided by Madison Bikes and Freewheel will have two bike mechanics for safety checks and minor adjustments. Right off the Brittingham Park path for people with bikes downtown, west and south sides of Madison.

For people with bikes on the east and north side of Madison, the Tenney Lapham Neighborhood is offering a Bikes and Brews event from 3 pm to 5 pm at Tenney Park also with free bike resources and adjustments.

Free Bicycle Benefits Ambassador fanny pack

Follow the link between now and June to get a fanny pack and a $25 gift card. [Facebook link]

That’s it for this week. Watch the calendar for upcoming events, including Madison Bike Week 2024 events in June. Enjoy the spring riding.

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

Newsletter Weekly Update

Bike Advocacy in the Wake of Tragedy

Welcome to this week’s newsletter. If you aren’t familiar, this newsletter shares the need-to-know information for bicycle advocates in the Madison area. As we gather to address both the joys and challenges of biking, this issue touches upon critical matters—from supporting those affected by tragedy, to community meetings where discussions of bicycling safety can take place.

We are deeply saddened by the loss of Joseph Solomon, who was killed by a driver while biking home from work on Lien Rd on the East Side. I can’t express how frustrated and angry it makes me that there has been another bicyclist death due to traffic violence. We have to do better to protect vulnerable road users, especially in areas farther away from downtown where separated bicycle infrastructure is often sparse and disconnected. If you wish to donate, his family has set up a GoFundMe page to help pay for his funeral and provide support for his daughter. Thank you to those who have made contributions.

Community Event: Vision Zero & Active Transportation Planning

Join us this Monday, March 25th, 6:00 PM at the Central Library downtown to hear from Renee Callaway and learn about Vision Zero and Active Transportation planning. Renee is the new Assistant Director of the City of Madison’s Traffic Engineering division. Renee has over 20 years of experience in Transportation Planning and was recently promoted from her previous role with the city as Pedestrian Bicycle Administrator. We’re looking forward to having her come talk with us about Madison’s progress in Vision Zero, bike and pedestrian infrastructure planning, and Safe Routes to School planning.

We’ll be in Room 301 (note the change from 104) and we’ll have pizza, so come down, grab a slice, and chat with us about Making Madison a better place to ride a bike.

Transportation Commission

On Wednesday, at 5:00 PM the Transportation Commission will meet. Included in the agenda is one North/South BRT topic, the Locally Preferred Alternative (LPT). The LPT is the desired configuration for things like stops, dedicated bus lanes, and other operations like transit frequency and fare cost. Tune in to this meeting or see more information by vising the city website.

Upcoming Bicycle Education

The League of American Bicyclists has a few upcoming classes at the Fitchburg Community Center:

Smart Cycling on Saturday, April 20.  This course is a fast-paced class that provides cyclists with the confidence to ride safely and legally in traffic or on the trail. We will cover the basics of bike maintenance, rules of the road, on-bike skills, and crash avoidance techniques.

League Cycling Instructor (LCI, May 31 – June 2).  LCIs are ambassadors for better biking through their education efforts. After earning certification through a three-day, League Coach-led seminar, LCIs can teach a variety of Smart Cycling classes to children as well as adults, helping them feel more confident and secure about riding. From our youth focused classes to our Bicycle Friendly Driver curriculum, LCIs can educate people who bike and drive how to safely and legally share the road.

Smart Cycling is a prerequisite to LCI, and LCI is not held locally very often, so those in Wisconsin who are interested in getting certified should take advantage.

That’s all for this newsletter. We really hope to see you at one of our upcoming events. There are a lot of interesting, fun, and educational events coming up, including during Madison Bike Week 2024 in June. Stay safe and see you out there.

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

Bike News Newsletter Weekly Update

Bicyclist killed in crash, West Area Plan, BCycle tour

The worst possible news on Friday: Around 6:20 p.m., according to the Madison Police Department, a 35-year-old man riding a bicycle was hit and killed by a driver on Lein Road near Parkside Drive. His name has not yet been released. The incident report says police impounded the vehicle believed to be involved and located its owner, but are still investigating.

The West Area Plan … area. (City of Madison map)

Comment on city planning

The public comment period for Madison’s West Area Plan — addressing future growth and development in the area enclosed by North and South Midvale boulevards, the beltline and Middleton — will be extended, according to the Department of Planning, Community & Economic Development, though a new end date has not been announced. Public input was to close on March 20, but a notably noisy public meeting on March 12 apparently signaled the need for more time for feedback.

While the recent meeting went off the rails over potential zoning changes, the plan addresses bicyclist and pedestrian safety that may benefit from continued supportive comments: new bike lanes and underpass improvements on several school routes, traffic-calming through street design and road narrowing on some of the area’s diciest thoroughfares, and the Sauk Creek Greenway shared-use path that has piqued the same sort of reactionary ire that packed the recent public meeting.

There are some pleasant things to share!

If you didn’t catch Madison resident Daniel Eckberg’s Isthmus essay on how much walkable and bikeable neighborhoods enrich the lives of the people who call it home, give it a quick read.

On foot or two wheels, “It’s amazing how much more you notice at that pace, how many hole-in-the-wall spots you find, how many hidden paths you uncover,” Eckberg writes.

If you have the choice, he figures, you ought to consider choosing a neighborhood friendly to walking and biking. Good advice! And enough — shouldn’t it be? — to spur us to make more of Madison just that kind of accessible for people who don’t have a choice.

BCycles at Tenney Park station. (Chris Barncard)

The bikes are back in town

If you were about town over the weekend, braving almost seasonably (for a change) brisk temperatures and wind, you may have noticed the return of bikes to many BCycle stations around Madison.

This Thursday, March 21, from 5 to 6:30 p.m., you can get a closer look at BCycle operations — covering topics like battery charging and bike safety — on a Madison Bikes tour of the bikeshare’s Madison facility, 312 N. 3rdSt. You can even join a group ride to BCycle, gathering at Law Park, 410 S. Blair St., at 4:30 p.m.

See you there!

Other items on the calendar:

March 18, 5:30 p.m.: Tancho Drive Public Path Information Meeting (via Zoom)

March 25, 6 p.m.: Madison Bikes Community Meeting “Vision Zero & Active Transportation Planning” with Renee Callaway, Madison Public Library Central Branch, 201 W. Mifflin St.

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

Action Alert Bike News Newsletter Weekly Update

Not one more cyclist- take action with this week’s updates

It’s daylight savings time. Don’t forget to skip your clock an hour forward if it isn’t automatic- you don’t want to miss this week’s updates.

A white bike memorial for the late Sarah Debbink Langenkamp
A ghost bike memorial for the late Sarah Debbink Langenkamp (credit: Alicia Bosscher, 2022)

This week – urgent action needed

Sarah Debbink Langenkamp was killed while riding her bike in a bike lane in Bethesda, Maryland in August of 2022. The driver who struck her received a meager sentence of 150 hours of community service and a $2,000 fine. Sarah’s husband, Dan, is urging lawmakers to take action and pass the Sarah Debbink Langenkamp Active Transportation act, which is likely to be introduced Tuesday, March 12.

Specifically, the Sarah Debbink Langenkamp Active Transportation Safety Act would:

– Unlock Highway Safety Improvement Program funding for projects that connect two pieces of safe cycling infrastructure.

– Allow local governments to identify active transportation projects eligible for Highway Safety Improvement Program funding.

– Allow bicycle and pedestrian safety projects to be fully federally funded, ensuring all communities can take advantage of these new eligibilities and encouraging communities to undertake more bicyclist and pedestrian safety projects.
Noa Banayan, PeopleForBikes’ director of federal affairs

We need your help to email Ron Johnson and ask that he co-sponsor the Senate version of the bill. The House version has bipartisan support. Click here to quickly e-mail Senator Ron Johnson. You can copy this message, if you would like: “Please consider co-sponsoring the Senate version of the Sarah Debbink Langenkamp Active Transportation Act as it has the potential to save lives and won’t cost the government anything. Thank you!”

Also in this week

UW Transportation Services published this illustrated guide on bicycle security and theft prevention. Check it out for tips on how to keep your bike safe using the right equipment.

A bike lock security infographic showing: more secure: small u lock and square chain, moderately secure: u lock and cable or u lock only, and less secure: cable only
Bike lock security infographic (Credit: UW Transportation Services, 2024)

Coming next week

Spring is in the air! Come celebrate with MadisonBikes by taking a tour of the Madison BCycle Facility on Thursday, March 21. Join a relaxed group ride from Law Park leaving shortly after 4:30 pm or meet directly at the Third Street facility at 5 pm. Discussion will include battery charging and safety. Drinks and snacks will be provided.

Three Madison BCycle bikes docked next to each other as a cyclist starts to pull one out
Madison BCycle bikes (Credit: BCycle, 2022)

Dane County Supervisor candidate questionnaire

Elections for the Dane County Board of Supervisors are on April 2. The Spring Election is on April 2. Madison Bikes, the Affordable Housing Action Alliance (AHAA), Madison is for People, and Madison Tenant Power (MTP) worked together on an election questionnaire. The questionnaire for Dane County Supervisor candidates is focused on Dane County’s ongoing housing crisis and transportation issues. We reached out to all candidates, and we received 15 responses. Find out how the candidate(s) for your district responded and share the information with others.

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