Madison cyclists organize winter group rides
Bike Winter started in Chicago with a network of winter bicyclists hosting fun events and the idea spread to Milwaukee and now Madison.
The aims of Bike Winter are, of course, to promote winter biking through sharing tips on staying safe and warm, and organizing social gatherings for winter cyclists. The Chicago contingent has built a strong membership over the years and planning for events there start in the summer. The Madison group, of which this writer is a member, got a late start in early November but has already attracted more than 100 "friends" on its Facebook page.
The Madison group started by organizing events in December, including a winter bicycling fashion show, a kickoff ride event and a Santa Cycle Rampage. The group is also spearheading snow biking rides on days when the city of Madison declares a "snow emergency."
The kickoff winter ride took place December 15. At the fashion show a week later, a good number of participants and interested viewers turned out to see the different gear people use to ride in the winter. Future plans include demonstrations of winter biking technique and safety, such as constructing studded tires.
A Bratwurst Triangle ride is in the works to have Chicago riders make their way to Madison and/or Milwaukee, partly by train, before returning to Chicago. This ride would be in late February. A ride of this sort was last held in 2007 when a big winter storm passed through the area.
The hope is that Madison Bike Winter will allow newcomers to benefit from the institutional knowledge of experienced winter bikers. Biking in cold weather and snow can be easy with the right gear and attitude. Madison Bike Winter will act as a resource and outlet for winter cyclists coordinating their own activities around Madison.
To find out more about Bike Winter, go to www.bikewinter.org or search for Madison Bike Winter on Facebook.
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