Madison B Cycle Offers 50% OFF Memberships!

bcyclehalfpriceweekWe couldn’t help but post this awesome news! Madison B Cycle is offering 50% off of memberships from October 20th-24th. This is an amazing opportunity for folks to try out the bike share system for a fraction of the cost. $2.50 for a daily pass?! There’s not much in the world that you can purchase for $2.50. Not even a decent cup of coffee is $2.50 (assuming you tip your baristas)!

This means you can ride all around the city for up to 30 minutes per trip, dock the bike, checkout a new new one or the same one once docked, and continue on exploring. If that’s not a cheap date, then I don’t know what is.

Many of you will argue that you already own a bike or B Cycles are heavy or some other excuse. We live in an 8 bike house hold and we still find ways to use B Cycles. Often times if we have to drive downtown, but want to stay parked in the ramp, we’ll B Cycle to get to a restaurant, bar, or meeting place to get their faster than walking. B Cycle is a great way to get to the Badger game without having to find a place to park the bike or worry about your your bike if you stay longer than the Bike Valet allows.

I personally love B Cycle because I don’t always want to leave my fancy bikes downtown. It’s a huge pain to lock up my bike with several locks, remove all the lights, and other easily snatched items. B Cycles have built in lights, baskets, and locks! Oh and just docking it is way faster than having to lock a regular bike.

Honestly I could spend all day telling you why B Cycle truly kicks ass, but I’d rather you buy a day pass or cheap membership to try it for yourself 🙂

I should also state that UW Students and Employees get discounts on B Cycle memberships and I believe it’s for even less than the $32 for the annual pass, so B sure to check that out!

2014 Wisconsin Bike Summit & the Saris Gala: Part 1

The 2014 Wisconsin Bike Summit & Saris Gala have come to an end. While I’m sad the whirlwind of events and planning is over, I’m happy to have my life back to normal!

My participation in the events always starts a few months before. One of my jobs is to assist the Bike Fed (as a representative of Saris) with obtaining high quality donations for the silent auction, raffle, and live auction.

Two weeks prior to the event I get pulled into a conference room with a computer, projector, and a butt load of donation items that need to be packaged together. The packaging is the easy part. It’s the assigning a package number, creating a bid sheet, creating a display sheet for each package, inspecting each individual sheet, printing the sheet, and having to put the sheet in a frame or on a clipboard that is time consuming and slightly soul sucking.

The reality is though that the work isn’t that bad and it’s completely satisfying to see all the hard work come to fruition and to see people’s excitement each year during the event.

This is my third year working with Saris and the Bike Fed on these events and I hope to continue to help the event in its success.

Moving on…
The Wisconsin Bike Summit is awesome. Last year I presented and only got to stay for my presentation, but I managed to carve out some time this year to stay for the majority of the event.

Since I was attending a bike summit, I decided to hook my trailer up to my Soma (double cross) and roll on down to Edgewood College. Edgewood was our gracious hosts this year and I can say with confidence that they were much easier to work with than the Inn on the Park. Nothing against the Inn, it’s just that Edgewood has a more welcoming vibe. Not to mention better options for parking and exposure to impressionable college kids who seemed pretty interested in what all the hoopla was about.

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I promptly parked my bike in the provided event parking racks and headed into Preston Hall. I checked in, picked up my name tag, and stuck an awesome “I BIKE. I VOTE” button on my shirt. When I entered the main auditorium I was greeted with a gaggle of my Saris co-workers from the commercial parking department as well as our CEO, Mr. Chris Fortune. Hellos were traded and I then headed over to grab some delicious Colectivo coffee, fruit, and a pastry. A few more familiar faces in the crowd prompted hellos and the opening remarks began.

Dave Cieslewicz (executive director of the Bike Fed, ex Madison mayor, and all around cool guy) talked for a bit before introducing Chris Fortune, who then introduced Michael Johnson from the Boys & Girls club of Dane County. Michael shared some great stories about how he became involved in cycling and what the local cycling community has done for the Boys & Girls club with their annual bike fundraiser.

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After the opening remarks, the first break out sessions started. The Women & Bicycles session was on of the first of the day and ended up being in the auditorium. Myself, Carolyn Dvorak (leader of the program), and Krista Crum of Madison B Cycles each presented. Each of us covered different topics on women’s cycling with some cross over, but we each brought some great information to the table.

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My focus was on what we were doing with the Women & Bicycles program in Madison. I discussed our Women’s Cycling Meetup, the Taco Tuesday rides, workshops, and partnerships with key businesses and groups.

After our session was done, I had the opportunity to chat with a good amount in people who were interested in my work and the work of the program. There were lots of great audience questions regarding how to encourage women riders, how to get women of color involved in cycling, and how to keep busy moms biking.

There was a second women’s session after our session in the auditorium, so I stuck around and watched the presentations. Renee Callaway moderated and presented. She spoke about cyclocross and getting women involved with the local race scene. Heidi Ploeg discussed her experiences of bike touring across the US as well as in the Netherlands. Amanda Schultze discussed the state of women’s cycling regarding to marketing and product development. She also showed some examples of market research she, as well as her Trek colleagues conducted and what the results were. Last, but not least, Kathy Mock discussed the Wisconsin High School Cycling league and how their program is reaching young girls/women who wouldn’t normally be involved in traditional school sports.

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Each of them had very different presentations, but all were incredibly informative and was glad to see such a fantastically diverse number of topics being covered relating to women’s cycling.

Once session two winded down, there was a box lunch and special guest presenters. The award for the Wisconsin Bike Fed’s Youth Advocate of the Year award was awarded to Dennis Taylor, a 12 year old from Milwaukee. Dennis was recently hit by a stolen SUV and the driver fled the vehicle. Maintaining a positive outlook, Dennis decided to help raise funds to install speed bumps in his quiet neighborhood. The Bike Fed has also helped to get Dennis set up with a new bike and gear for riding!

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The featured guest presenter of the day was ex Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak. R.T. helped establish Minneapolis as one of America’s premier cycling cities. His presentation helped instill faith that Madison and other Wisconsin cities can still work at obtaining Platinum level bike city status, even with a Republican majority. Minneapolis faced similar challenges when Michelle Bachmann was in office.

After lunch I ended up tying up some loose ends before the Gala set up started. I also had the opportunity to chat with Director Dave himself as well as the wonderful Peter Gray (bike advocate and midnight rider) and Jay Ferm from Planet Bike.

One of my favorite aspects of the Bike Summit is being able to socialize and bounce ideas off of other advocates. The networking aspect of it is huge and often leads to some really great collaborations.

I look forward to being a part of the 2015 summit and encourage everyone to attend the summit. If you are a cyclist in the state of Wisconsin, there’s no excuse NOT to attend!

Trek CXC Course Preview

Last night I had the opportunity to pre-ride the Trek CXC Cup course. With nothing to compare it to (I didn’t get to ride last year’s course) it’s hard telling if it’s better than last year. I did hear a number of riders say they enjoyed it and that the “sketchy downhill” wasn’t as gnarly as it was last year. I saw one rider take a spill down it as she had opted to ride down it and not run the bike down. Even running with the bike down it was tough because a) bike shoes have crap for traction b) it was short and really steep.

The course has a lot of what I would call “fast” sections where you can definitely make up time that you’ll spend navigating sharp turns and running with the bike. In the “forest” section it’s a bumpy ride, but that leads you to a short section of pavement and then grassy flats.

The start has a short uphill and then the section of hairpin turns that could make or break someone race. If you can navigate them well and not get caught in the inevitable clusterf*ck…you’ll do well. After the pin turns, you cross over the pavement to get to “sketchy hill”. I would probably run down it so as to not completely crash out. You then get to a short fast flat and reach a hill that I would probably opt to run up, but some riders may be able to ride it and not waste the time having to clip back in. The route then takes you through a grass section and you hit two barriers you have to go over before you hit the little forest section with the bumpy ride and then to more grassy area and you eventually get back to the start.

There were a couple of times while I was on the course where I pulled over and watched how others would navigate obstacles. Was it faster to stay on the bike and shift into small gear to ride up a steep hill or was it faster to put the bike on the shoulder and run? Should I ride the inside or outside of a line to make sure I don’t crash into a the gates lining the course?

The best part was that most of the other riders out there (at least the ladies…the guys, not so much) were all very supportive and helpful. They could probably tell I was a total noob, but at least they were nice about it.

I must admit that I’m not that big into racing in general, but riding on the course made me want to get a license for the day so I could take a stab at it. What I think I love most about ‘cross is that you need the speed of a road racer and the bike handling skills of a seasoned mountain biker to be good at it. Tackling the barriers, sandy pits, hairpin turns, and ruts all takes practice. The challenge is what makes it intriguing, as well as the short race times. Most of them don’t last longer than 30-45 minutes.

I look forward to getting more involved in the local ‘cross scene. Madison has some pretty die hard racers and super fans. Who knows, maybe I’ll end up getting my racing license and entering into the Cat 4 field. I’ll probably get my ass handed to me, but at least I’ll be having fun!

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The Trek CXC Cup is happening all weekend long at Trek’s world headquarters in Waterloo. Stop out to watch the race, visit the expo, and have a good time cheering on the riders!

Wisconsin Bike Fed Launches Strength in Numbers Campaign

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Bicycle Advocacy groups are popping up all across the United States. It seems to be the new trend in alternative transport initiatives. Most of you should know that the Wisconsin Bike Fed is one advocacy group that has been around the longest. For almost 26 years, the Wisconsin Bike Fed has worked to lobby for cyclists rights, help create the Safe Routes to School program here in Wisconsin, and have hosted a plethora of outreach events to communities throughout Wisconsin. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. We could spend hours talking about all the work that the Fed has done for this state, but we’ll spare you.

The Wisconsin Bike Fed wants to continue to grow. They want to offer more to their members and they want to continue to improve upon all their years of hard work and dedication to the state of Wisconsin. That’s where the Strength in Numbers Campaign comes in. The campaign is a way for current Bike Fed members to take to the streets and encourage other cyclists and non-cyclists alike to join the organization.

The incentive based program allows members to share sign up information online. In the applications there is a referral area where new members can give credit to the member who encouraged them to sign up. For each member you sign up, you get an entry to win either a brand new Trek FX 7.1 flat bar road bike or a Trek X Caliber mountain bike. Get 5 new members and you not only get 5 chances at winning that sweet new bike, but you also get a limited edition pint glass!

The person who signs up the most new members wins an awesome Door County getaway package including dinner at the famous goat topped restaurant, Al Johnson’s! Not to mention a one night’s stay at the Scandinavian Lodge and TWO entries to the Door County Century.

If all of that isn’t incentive enough to join the Bike Fed, we don’t know what is!
Head on over to the following link and let them know Cassandra at Spoke Haven sent you 🙂
http://wisconsinbikefed.org/join/individual-members/

Ladies Night @ Machinery Row!

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We’re super excited about this event Machinery Row is putting on! It’s been said that women and minorities alike are looked over greatly in the cycling industsry. Numerous studies have shown that both groups will be the largest population of consumers in the next generation. Most women make the major financial decions in their households, so opening up this world to them will show we support them and appreciate their hard earned dough.

Our goal is to help facilitate more events like this and reach out to women who have been put off previously by their local bike shop experience.

Two thumbs up to Machinery Row for reaching out to the ladies and we can’t wait to enjoy this wonderful night!