As the mercury drops and snowflakes fall, many cyclists put their steed to bed for the winter. Not so for a group of riders part of Madison Bike Winter (at this point over 730 strong). Started by Aaron Crandall a few years back, this group has been showing the Midwest how it's done in the winter months. Many cyclists are familiar with summer bike to work weeks held around the country but aren't familiar with the winter version. For Madison Bike Winter, this is the week to introduce and encourage cyclists to ride in the winter and celebrate with those that already get out there and play in the snow (even though we haven't seen much this year yet).
How did I get involved in all of this? Simply put, misery loves company. I have to admit that I'm not that fond of winter. Growing up in Minneapolis, I found ways to "get through" without going crazy. Skiing, speed skating, dog sledding, winter camping and winter biking all made the cold months a tad more bearable. The one winter I lived in Hawaii was actually heaven. There just weren't enough bike routes to make me stay on the big island (I do have my limits). So knowing that I'd be in a Northern climate for awhile, I decided to make the most of it and join Madison Bike Winter. It hasn't let me down! Although there are days that riding feels like pulling teeth, I look at it as an adventure. There is a quote from Sigurd Olson that sums it up best...
"You cannot turn your back on any challenge, physical or mental. If you do, you diminish yourself, and the next time it will be easier to say 'no, I can not do it'. If you take the hazards as they come and survive, you will be stronger and better and the trip will be a milestone in your life, one you will always know as a turning point."
Although I was unable to attend every activity, I captured a few of the highlights.
|Jason talking about physiology (Aaron and I are in the front row)|
Monday was absolutely packed with a "bike to meditate" at Monona Terrace, an after work party at B-Cycle and a MEAThead no-drop ride around lake Monona.
|Stray Cat staff handing out free coffee to commuters|
|My yoga for athletes class|
|Single speed ride to Great Dane|
|Ali's yoga for cyclists class|
Friday we celebrated an end to a wonderful week by gathering at Brocach Irish Pub on the capitol square. I was so happy to see such a huge turnout and even happier to meet some folks I hadn't met yet.
|"Final Fiesta" party at Brocach|
To cap off the week, Saturday we rode down to the winter farmer's market for local goodies and followed it up with an urban spin.
Thanks to all of you who participated in these events and an enormous THANKS to those who put the events on and donated raffle prizes (special "thanks" to Machinery Row who not only handed out coffee two days but gave us discounts all week). Let's hope that we inspired other communities to celebrate winter vs. dread it. For more information on Madison Bike Winter, please visit it's facebook page