Radical Adventure Riders Madison

Wow. I’m very bad at updating the website! So much has been happening, so I’ll just catch everyone up to speed. A few months ago Radical Adventure Riders announced there was going to be an opportunity for strategic chapters to form under the RAR name to work for equity, inclusion, diversity, and accessibility in the cycling space.

Chapters would focus on creating a safe space for femme-trans-women-non binary as well as BIPOC (black, indigenous, people of color) to participate in many facets of cycling. All things as a queer woman in the cycling world I have been trying to work for and have been met with the unfortunate patriarchal resistance to change or acceptance.

Fortunately when I saw there was the option of forming a chapter, I had put a call out on social media. At that time an acquaintance (KC Cross- who is doing some amazing work in the Arkansas and now Austin cycling space!) I had made at my old CrossFit gym had seen on RAR’s discord that there were others in Madison looking to get a chapter going. I got connected with a woman named Allison and had also ended up connecting with six other individuals who were looking to create a unique and welcoming space in Madison for the community to become more accessible and to grow.

Myself, Allison, Kristin (of Monday 40 fame), Keely (Shred Shed legend), G (now running Cargo Bike Shop Madison), Cami (a friend I met through selling her a bike!), Cami’s friend Kaylee (super fast lady on a bike), and Natalie (graphic design wiz for Trek) all met and are the leadership team that makes up the Madison RAR chapter.

We were able to put together a good enough proposal for a chapter to be selected as a non-funded entity. Meaning, we don’t get a stipend from sponsors, but still fall under the RAR umbrella. The funding hasn’t been an issue as we are lucky to be in a very bike-centric city with 20+ bike shops, miles of amazing riding through out and close to the city, as well as a heap of awesome new BIPOC lead orgs that we plan on collaborating with to use our connections to get more people on bikes!

Our first few events took place a couple of weeks ago. There was a Madison West & East side ride to the LGBTQIA+ owned Delta Beer Lab where we rode casually to meet and socialize. That same weekend we then did a more challenging 40+ mile ride to Gibralter Rock, a very beautiful natural overlook of the Wisconsin Driftless region. The ride was also tied into a fundraiser for the national RAR organization and their SJ Brooks scholarship that provides gear and a stipend to FTWNB and BIPOC individuals to allow them to travel by bike for a trip.

Our third event was a Madison classic ride, which is the Lake Loop route around Lake Monona. A very great way for anyone to dip their toe into cycling around these parts.

The most recent event happened today at Black Saddle Bike Shop. A newer shop on the North Side of Madison and will likely be one of our closest partner shops outside the Cargo Bike Shop as they are one of the only shops in the city to have taken the RAR Industry Pledge to educate themselves on how to become a safer space in the cycling community. They work to fight against misogyny, racism, sexism, and homophobia.

Today’s event was a Bikepacking 101 social event. Some of our core leaders, including myself, brought fully geared up bikes to show how we set up for bike travel as well as discuss options for riding loaded. We also discussed some of our favorite routes, what gear we like, why we chose the bikes we did for bike packing, and held a raffle with some nice swag care of some generous folx.

The event is a way for us to help get others ready for a bike overnight trip that Black Saddle is hosting next weekend to New Glarus Woods State Park. A nice ride on some of our rail trails to make it accessible and safe for folx to try out bike packing in a group environment.

Black Saddle is even offering up a gear lending option to folks who want to try out bikepacking, but aren’t quite ready to invest in all of the gear. RAR Madison’s leadership team also is offering up gear to lend for anyone wanting to participate in the trip.


August 21st, 2021
Rides leaving at 11am or 5pm from Black Saddle

RAR has another upcoming event next week on Wednesday. A rescheduled ride from Parisi Park in Middleton. It’s a 19.4 loop heading West to the Cross Plains area. Meeting time is 5:45pm with roll out at 6pm. Details can be found by heading to @rar.madison on Instagram.

Be on the lookout for more events and content relating to RAR Madison. We have some events in the planning phases that include mountain bike rides, educational mechanical clinics, paved trail rides for beginners to group riding, fall bike packing, and more! We’re also working on building up a gear library for lending as well as a loftier goal of being able to get bikes in the hands of folx who need them for transportation as well as participating in adventure cycling at the local level.

If you’re interested in being a part of RAR Madison or donating funds, gear, or time please reach out to us on Instagram! We’d love to have community involvement.

Wisconsin Bike Summit 2016

The Wisconsin Bicycle Federation is hosting the Wisconsin Bike Summit on Saturday, May 21st 2016. The Summit is being held at UW-LaCrosse in cooperation with the Midwest Active Transportation Conference (taking place May 20th).

Details on presenters and panels to be announced at a later time. Please check the Wisconsin Bike Fed website (www.bfw.org) or Facebook page for more details.

Please click here for information on where to sign up to attend.

 

Wiscowood Reduces Waste while Creating Bike Themed Wood Products

We’ve been meaning to post about Wiscowood since we saw their Kickstarter campaign pop up in our inbox. They are a small Madison based company who have utilized local hacker space, Sector67, to produce bookmarks, journal covers, coasters, jewelry, and now wallets out of reclaimed wood.

Each item is unique to the wood that is used and images are burned into the wood with a laser. Their website and Facebook page have lots of great photos showing the process of how they make each item. (Images below were taken from their sites.)

Wiscowood launched their Kickstarter campaign with hopes to produce wood wallets and offer a wide range of designs and even an option for local bike shops or cafes to buy in with a set of wallets with a point of purchase display.

The campaign ends TODAY at 5pm Central time, so if you like what you see and want to support local small businesses in the age of Amazon, Wal-Mart, and the other big corporate evils…head on over to the campaign to donate and get yourself or a friend a cool, new wallet!

Trail Building with the Capital Off Road Pathfinders

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I’ll admit it, I’m not all that involved with mountain biking or off road cycling in general. It’s not that I don’t enjoy it or have interest in it. The fact is I’m fairly new to the world of off road cycling and I (sadly) don’t have a mountain bike in my stable.

Not owning a mountain bike has been an excuse for me to not be involved with our local trail systems or the groups who maintain them. It took attending this year’s Bike Summit to have a light bulb go off in my head..if I’m making excuses to not learn more about our trail systems and I’m a pretty involved cycling advocate, then what are other people using as their excuse?

I decided, there would be no excuses for me. I promised myself that I’d start getting more involved with our local off road cycling clubs and help spread their gospel.

Luck for me, the Capital Off Road Pathfinders (CORP) had posted that their last big trail work day of the season was coming up at the end of October. Great! I now had a time, date, and commitment to look forward to.

The trail work was set to start at 11am. Staying true to myself, I of course showed up at 11:30. I was glad to see three other ladies from our Spoke Haven/ Women & Bicycles Meetup were already hard at work. They of course gave me flack for showing up late and said they thought I wouldn’t show up. I showed them! 😉

Without skipping a beat, the work leader Nick gave directed me to help rake some of the fresh dirt laid on the trail. The city donated a huge load of it to help smooth out some of the rough patches on the trail.

We were working on the outside loop of the new Seminole Trail System to create smooth and fast riding sections. Wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow of dirt was poured along the section of trail. We continued to rake, tamp, and repeat. The one particular section we were working on had a lot of old plate glass and MDF chunks, so we spent a good portion of our time trying to remove as much debris from the area as possible. Most of it was buried off the trail, but we made sure to get a nice coverage of dirt and installed signage for riders to stay on the trail, so as to not run into the glass graveyard.

While we were working, there was a lot of shop talk going on between the volunteers. Discussions about various trail projects, what the goals for the new trails were, the history of CORP, and how to get more women involved in the group. Everyone was super friendly and  the CORP crew was glad to have a good group of volunteers. There were probably about ten of us total working on various aspects of the trail.

The day’s projects included pouring and raking the dirt. A couple of the guys built a berm (a term for part of the trail where a sharp turn is placed and a wall of dirt is built up to ride on to gain speed). We dug some sharp rocks out as well as smoothed out some rocky sections. Branches and trees were removed to help maintain a wide path. We did some weeding as well as work on evening out spots that would have drainage issues in the spring. At the end of the day we even worked on building a small feature riders could use to do a mini jump or just opt to roll over.

We spent about 4-5 hours working on various parts of the trail. Overall the group felt really good about the progress and after it was all said and done we were encouraged to ride the trail to help pack down the new dirt! Sadly I left my cross bike at home, otherwise I would have put a couple laps in. The outer loop is very beginner and was designed that way so new riders can get a taste of riding dirt. It’s also a family friendly loop for the little ones to take their push bikes or trail a bikes on.

Various cycling clubs have also expressed interest in hosting cyclocross events on the trails, so it will now be the premiere spot for new and intermediate riders to get a taste of dirt without having to leave the city!

I have to say, I’m really glad I decided to lend a hand with the trail building efforts. I learned a lot about the hard work and dedication it takes to create our trail systems. Hopefully we can continue to get a group of ladies out on the weekends or weeknights to continue to build and improve trails. Even if you don’t own a mountain bike, you can help build an opportunity for others in our community to ride.

Now I’m off to pick out more parts for my fat bike build to go enjoy the fruits of my labor 🙂