All I can say is wow…what a crazy few months it has been! It’s hopefully obvious that we’ve been staying incredibly busy. There hasn’t been an active blog since Cylofemme. That event turned out great with about 65-70 ladies who attended and we were able to raise a couple thousand dollars for the Wisconsin Bike Fed. Capital Brewery was a great backdrop for the event and we once again thank Saturns 8, Chrysalis Salon & Body, Chainstay Jewelry, and Roman Candle Pizza for supporting the event.
Around the time Cyclofemme took place I had decided to leave my job at Saris Cyling Group. It was a huge, scary decision. I had worked for them for four years, had a steady paycheck, a steady schedule, and a lot of great fringe benefits. So why the change? Well, I wanted to get back to working in a shop. I decided to take a sales position with Erik’s Bike Shop. They are a regional chain with 23 stores in Minnesota and Wisconsin. One of the key things that led me to Erik’s was the extensive training they provide to employees. They paid for me to stay in the twin cities for two days for training. In addition to that, they also had a first ever company wide training event called Camp Erik. It was a weekend packed with road bike demos, mountain bike demos, e bike demos, seminars, activities, and all around awesomeness. I got to bond with a lot of my co-workers and event Erik “the bike man” himself.
So far I have enjoyed my time with the company and it feels great to help get people on bikes everyday. I also am a store merchandiser, so I spend a lot of time organizing the store and creating window displays. In addition to that, I also get to work events as a wrench from time to time. I got to work the Horribly Hilly Hundreds ride and will be at the Wright Stuff Century and the Wisconsin Women’s Century this upcoming weekend. Please say hi!
After settling into the new job, the Spoke Haven ride season started. We’ve set up an alternating schedule with Team Luna Chix Madison. We ride the first and third Thursday of the month as well as the first Tuesday of the month for the famous Taco Tuesday rides. This riding season has been great! We have more regular riders than ever and the club is growing. We average between 15-20 ladies per ride with a rotation of regulars. We’ve all been keen on socializing after every ride whether it is a beer at Capital Brewery or nachos at the Coliseum Bar. The ladies are always up for a good time! We plan on continuing our rides through September and taking some time off to plan for next year and figure out a way to run the club through the website rather than Meetup as we pay for both and would rather not charge such a large fee for the club. ($30 isn’t much to some, but we want to remain accessible!)
In addition to the new job and the club rides I have been keeping busy with my Bike Fed board seat. In the early spring months we had our first ever pilot run of Fed Up With Winter. It’s and indoor cycling event that took place at three of our local studios. We were able to raise a couple thousand dollars via the event and hope it will grow this coming winter.
Another cool event the Bike Fed promoted was Ride On Chicago. It is a ride put together by People For Bikes where riders raised money for the org and spent their days riding from Minneapolis down to Chicago with a stop in Madison. Saris hosted a brat cake breakfast at their headquarters to welcome riders and community members. There was then a ride up to the Cap Square for more socializing and discussions on issues related to transportation funding for bike/ped projects. The event was great and I got to meet some really cool people.
The next big Bike Fed to do was the board/staff retreat at an undisclosed location near Wisonsin Dells. When I arrived I was greeted by a house full of cycling advocates and an ice cold beer. Not a bad way to start a weekend! Many of us set up camp in the yard to enjoy the beautiful weather and scenery. We all chatted into the night with food, beer, and a campfire. I can’t convey how amazing it feels to bond with people from all over the state and our passion for making cycling a viable and safe form of transportation. Madison isn’t a bubble, there are others who want to make their cities cycling Meccas!
The second day of the retreat was lead by board chair Peter Gray. We had large group discussions on a number of subjects. Long term goals and visions were set, then each board subcommittee broke off to discuss how to set plans in motion to help reach our goals. We regrouped after and were able to get a clearer picture of the needs of the Bike Fed staff and the organization as a whole.
It can be difficult to convey the work that the Bike Fed does to the general population. Sure, a lot of it is lobbying for bicycle rights, infrastructure, and vulnerable user laws. There is so much more than just the political aspect that occurs every day. Our share and be aware ambassadors are engaging community members and teach kids how to safely ride their bikes. We have a bike shop dedicated to job training and discounted service for those in low income areas. Our planners work with the DOT and local governments on how to improve multimodal transportation in their cities. That doesn’t even count all of the work that goes into rides and events hosted by the Bike Fed! Believe me when I say that if someone is hmm-ing or haw-ing over what their Bike Fed membership does for them, I have a laundry list of how the Bike Fed directly affects them. Also, you get sweet discounts at pretty much all bike shops in the state 😉
Needless to say it’s been mighty busy over here and again, sorry for the lack of updates. We are working on transitioning more club related items to the website and will continue to keep a regular blog. There are so many incredible events that we can barely keep up. Some new women’s groups and rides have popped up in our area, so we will try and do features as we have time. Thanks again for checking in and we will continue to champion fun events and rides for the women of the Madison area.
Check out more up to date happenings at Facebook. Just type Women & Bicycles Madison in the search and join the group! We also have upcoming rides at meetup.com/spokehavencyclingclub