Monday, September 17, 2012

One heck of a house party

The Capitol Pedaler
It's Thursday night.  The Packers are playing the Bears.  Any other time, this showdown--amongst two of the largest football rivals--would occur, every Wisconsinite would hole themselves up in their home in front of a 50 inch screen t.v. or head to the nearest bar.  But not this night.  Instead, about a hundred local cyclists gathered at Tex Tubb's to celebrate cycling and support what the Wisconsin Bicycle Federation does for them.

As a board member, I planned this shindig a couple months ago in hopes of sharing what the bike fed has been up to, introducing those not familiar with us, and of course, raising some funds and getting people to join.  I did not ever think the Packers would be playing...on a Thursday.

Savvy event organizers will look far ahead on the calender to see if a football game is planned on the day their event is.  For those of you not from Wisconsin, I'm not joking when I say the entire city disappears if the Badgers or Green Bay are playing.  Cyclists joke it's the best time to ride since no one is on the road.  Alas, I wasn't "savvy" and was concerned very few would show after I, along with the bike fed staff, had worked so hard to pull this party together.

Our faithful staff and volunteers
I shouldn't have worried.  There is something so magical that happens when a cycling event is put on in Madison.  People show up--in almost any weather condition.  I swear die-hards would have been there even if tornado sirens were blaring.  As friends and new acquaintances, from all types of riding circles, came through the doors, an overwhelming warmth spread throughout my body.  I really began to appreciate the true meaning of our cycling community.  We may all ride for different reasons, and all own different types of bikes, but we are all bound together with the love of two wheels.

I guess the act that bowls me over the most is how local businesses jump at the chance to contribute to bike events.  I've had the pleasure of putting on other gatherings in the past, and I can only think of two instances where people have turned me down for donations or use of their space.  It's an amazing thing to hear someone say "You know, I'm not much of a cyclist, however, I really support what you're doing...I'd love to help out."  When the planning stage was still in effect, I was greeted with a "yes" by everyone almost immediately.

The Krause Family Band

What came out of this party?  I'm so pleased to say we raised $1,256 and got twenty-five new members!  Now the bike fed is twenty-five more people strong.  So here is where I have to send out my heart felt "thank-you's".  First, I want to acknowledge everyone that showed up--this includes all the volunteers!  YOU are all the face of Wisconsin cyclists and the bike fed couldn't exist without you.  Next, the Foodfight crew--especially those at Tex Tubb's.  Foodfight has supported so many of my events with space and product.  They are truly a bike friendly business.  There are no words for my gratitude towards the Krause Family Band.  They played for over two hours and I'm sure got a ton of new followers.  Finally, the Capitol Pedaler came out and gave us rides on the Big Red Bike which made us all feel like kids again. 

Although winter is fast approaching, there are still many more opportunities to tune into your local bike community.  Check out the bike fed event page...and you'll be on your way!


  1. Not that winter is a cause to stop cycling! Everyone should check out the Madison bike winter scene. Many of us bike year round and while different, there is a lot of fun to be had on those two wheels even after the snow falls!

    1. You are so right Nathan! In Madison, our first Winter Bike meet up is on Thursday, September 27th at the Malthouse on East Washington. If you're new to winter biking, this is a great time to get started.