Wednesday, August 6, 2014


Some of the future bikabout ambassadors for Madison, WI

You've most likely heard the term "walkabout"--when a young Aboriginal male goes on a wilderness journey lasting up to six months--but have you heard the term "bikabout"?  If not, do yourself a favor and get acquainted with not only this term, but this new business.

Megan Ramey, the owner of bikabout, is on a mission.  A mission to make cities more bike friendly, show people they can travel to cities they may not know, use a bicycle as their form of transportation, and give visitors to these cities incentives, like discounts to other businesses, for biking.

Megan with her daughter 
This all started when Megan, her husband and their child took a trip to Europe.  She was amazed how easy it was to get around the cities by bike and all of the websites, which supported cycling in the cities, were easy to access.  Here in the United States, not so much.  Megan found she had to have hundreds of different links just to piece a bike friendly vacation together.  And this is what got her thinking "Why does it need to be this difficult, and maybe I should design a website where people can go and have most of their questions answered."  And this is how bikabout began to roll.

This week, Megan and her family visited Madison, Wisconsin.  Madison wasn't new to them since she has several ties here.  It only made sense to add this to her first year's tour.  Athens came before Madison, and Minneapolis will follow next week.  Essentially, she puts a call out to folks in the bike community in each city, asks them to spread the word, and then comes into town to have a welcoming social.  Megan's job is meeting with bike friendly businesses to see if they want to be a part of bikabout and then meeting with potential ambassadors asking them to design fun routes in and outside of the city.  All of this information will then go onto the website and facebook page, hopefully helping others visiting these cities.

You can even travel with pets by bike!
Personally, I love this idea.  I've always said exploring a city by foot or bike is the best way to really get to know it.  You see more, you get connected with the locals (often times because you have to ask directions), you stumble upon the coolest restaurants and bars and you learn to slow down.  Honestly I wouldn't visit a city any other way, so you know I'll be using this website, which is free to travelers by the way.  The icing on the cake is bikabout is dedicated to donating 25% of their earnings to local bike advocacy groups.  Our social today asked everyone to donate $5 to the Wisconsin Bicycle Federation.

Sadly, Megan and her family have to return home to Cambridge at the end of the summer.  But before they do, they will be visiting and holding bikabout ambassador socials in Minneapolis, Seattle, Portland, Vancouver and Chicago, followed by Fort Collins in late fall.  If you live in any of these cities, or have bike connections in them, please shoot a message out to Megan.  After all, her site is about getting input from locals and "those in the know".

Part of our group meeting for the bikabout social

Megan does a great job making the gatherings fun

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