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 ‘rehydration’ (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 ‘MacGyver’ 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 ‘cross 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!