Bike for Boys & Girls Club has been a staple in the Madison community for several years. We’ve only been a part of the tradition for the past couple of years, but we’ve very much enjoyed it and plan on making it a yearly commitment.
Last year we decided to participate in the 50 mile loop as we were trying to get miles in for the ACT Ride (will be participating in ACT 12?? Possibly, stay tuned!) The route was pretty fantastic. All route loops start and end at Edgewood High School on Monroe Street and wind their way through the south of Madison. Parts of the route include sections of the famous Wisconsin Ironman loop as well as some staple roads for roadie/tri training.
The 50 miler gets you south and east of Madison. The 25 miler gets you to the south and west of Madison. We opted for the 25 mile loop this year as we had planned to see friends from out of town that day and didn’t want to be completely knackered. One fun thing about both routes is the stop in Paoli. It’s about 13 miles into the loop, so if you are on the 25 miler it’s essentially half way. The ladies running the pit stop this year were so much fun. They had great music, a great attitude, and we’re fully stocked with water, hydration mix, food, and even had bathrooms available for us! Thanks ladies…I think they were from a sorority??? Anyway…go you!
A few of my favorite things about the B4BGC Ride are:
-Great routes-People at the pit stops are friendly
-The cost for an individual to sign up is $25 and you are only required to raise $75. If you are on a team it’s still only $25 to sign up and you only have to raise $250.
-They don’t really care if you’ve raised all your money, if you’ve registered, you can ride.
-The post ride event is so much fun with a DJ, live music, great food, beer from Cap Brewery, and a section for you and your teammates to sit and enjoy each others company.
Some improvements that B4BGC could make:
-Event bike parking! There were bikes strewn about everywhere in a hot mess. This has been the case the past two years. If someone knows the lead even planner for this event, send them our way as Saris would gladly lend out some event racks for this thing!
-Little SAG support/road crossing support. Maybe we’re spoiled by our experiences on the ACT ride, but maybe not. There were a few dangerous busy roads outside of town that had no one out there helping the riders cross safely. That could potentially be a HUGE liability for them and they should be stationing a volunteer at every major crossing on route.
Both times I’ve done the ride I’ve only seen a Dream Bikes SAG van once on route. It’s not as big of a deal for the shorter loop, but for the 50 miler it would be best to have a couple of vans doing sweep on the course to ensure riders are doing alright.
-Lack of new rider education. Again, we get this drilled into our brains on the ACT ride…follow the rules of the road and make sure you are riding responsibly/predictably! We saw so many inexperienced riders on the route that ended up crashing due to stupid mistakes or people riding really irresponsibly.
It would be really helpful to give a quick rundown to each wave of riders on how to ride, how to call out debris in the road and calling out if they are passing, moving to the side, stopping, etc. There were also a lot of people who were just ill equipped with either bikes in really bad shape or wearing the wrong clothing. This is another thing the ACT ride has been a model for as you always know exactly what to have on day 1 of the ride.
Other than those few t hings, the ride is a lot of fun and is a wonderful way to spend a summer morning/afternoon. I suggest everyone trying the ride at least once. All of the funds stay in Dane County and benefit the kids who are active in the Boys & Girls club.
Check out the video from this year’s ride. Keri and I are both in it for a split second! Also check out www.bike4bgc.org for more info about the ride.