Super Commuter Preview   by mark on Mar 17, 2015

Here's a preview on our Spring Super Commuter, David Pulsipher. David had so much useful knowledge on commuting that we couldn't fit it all into our profile. I wanted to share this bit that didn't make it in. Enjoy!

"What I would say to 1st timers - don't feel like you have to have everything figured out at first. Acknowledge, and be comfortable with the fact that you will learn as you go. You will learn what types of clothing work for you. You will learn what type of bike is comfortable, convenient. You will learn how to fix what you need to fix, and also what you can't. The internet has so many communities out there for bicyclists. Overall I would say we are a very kind/welcoming group willing to share experience and information. Basically, don't be afraid of being new."

Shifting Gears: A Cyclical History of Badger Bicycling Opens Soon   by mark on Feb 17, 2015

In this new exhibit at the Wisconsin Historical Museum, you'll travel through 130 years of Wisconsin cycling history. Showcasing the crucial role that Wisconsin has played in two national bicycling eras, the "Shifting Gears: A Cyclical History of Badger Bicycling" exhibit features historic bicycles and artifacts, intriguing images, and virtual interactive experiences. Discover how the long, colorful, and sometimes contentious story of the growth and development of cycling in Wisconsin in the late 1800s is once again playing out today.

Dates: Feb 27 - Oct 15, 2015

Times: Tuesday—Saturday: 9 am—4 pm
Closed Sunday and Monday

Visit the Wisconsin Historical Museum online for more info.

World Winter Bike to Work Day   by mark on Feb 13, 2015

Today is World Winter Bike to Work Day and Planet Bike celebrated the occasion with our now annual WINTER Bacon on the Bike Path. We were joined by the good folks of Madison B-Cycle and cooked up several pounds of Nueske's bacon along with a couple dozen doughnuts from local Greenbush Bakery and EVP coffee! Thanks to all that came out and thanks to all the bike commuters out there! Check out the full photo set on our Facebook page.

Action Alert - Wisconsin   by mark on Feb 05, 2015

Repost from the Wisconsin Bike Fed:

Governor Scott Walker has introduced a two-year state budget that has tremendous negative implications for cyclists and for biking safety.

The Governor’s budget (Senate Bill 21) would:

-Repeal Wisconsin’s successful Complete Streets law. The law requires that bicyclists and pedestrians be taken into account whenever a road is built or reconstructed with state or federal funds. There are all manner of ways to get an exception if the project would be too expensive or if use by bikes and pedestrians is projected to be too light. The law works well in practice. Yet, the governor chose to eliminate it altogether. This would mean many fewer safe places to bike.

-Cut the Transportation Alternatives Program by $2 million. The governor would eliminate all state support for this program, leaving only federal dollars. TAP is used for a variety of pro-biking initiatives, including bike plans and facilities.

-Fund (named for iconic Republican Governor Warren Knowles and Democratic Governor and Senator Gaylord Nelson) works to purchase and protect land for future generations. Funds for state trail purchases are included in the program. The governor would stop all purchases for over a decade.

Just ten days ago the Bike Fed had been assured by the governor’s office in a face-to-face meeting with one of his aides that he would not propose the repeal of Complete Streets in his budget. A week and a half later the governor did just that. We were also led to believe that there would be no cuts in TAP. The Stewardship Fund repeal came without any warning whatsoever.

The Bike Fed will be working hard to fight each of these changes.

You can help by contacting the governor and your legislator to call for a reversal on these three items. The message is clear:

Restore Complete Streets.
Replace the $2 million in TAP.
Restore the Stewardship Fund.

Find your State Legislator

Contact the Governor

The budget will now be taken up by the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee, which will be holding hearings around the state. We will get you the list of times and places for hearings when we have them. The budget won’t likely come up for final votes until June.

The Bike Fed is hard at work with coalition partners and friendly legislators to overturn these horrible decisions. But we can’t do it without your support.

Please contact the governor and your legislators as soon as you can.

Winter Bacon on the Bike Path, reminder #1   by mark on Jan 27, 2015

Madison's Bike Winter Week, formerly known as Winter Bike To Work Week, has been set for February 9-13. The agenda for the week is still being finalized, but anticipate commuter stations at least 1 of the days with other events throughout the week.

Friday, Feb 13, is the official International Winter Bike to Work Day. Planet Bike and Madison B-Cycle will once again be setting up on Crazylegs Ln, across from Camp Randall, to serve up Nueske's bacon and some hot coffee. We're hoping for warmer temperatures than last year's sub-zero event!

Embracing Winter   by mark on Jan 20, 2015

In a perfect world I’d never have to spend more than 2 minutes getting dressed for a bike ride; getting frostbite on exposed skin would never cross my mind and the thought of road salt corroding my precious ride would be laughable. But living in Wisconsin these are all things I’ve learned to deal with. Contrary to what warm climate dwellers may think, Midwest winters are extraordinary.

I haven’t always been in love with winter. The cold for days on end can really play with your emotions. I’ve spent many days wishing for warmer weather; questioning my choice to live in Wisconsin. A few years ago I made a conscious effort to make the most of winter. I bought a set of nordic skis and started hitting the corduroy. I dusted off my running shoes for some frosty morning runs. I pulled out my snowshoes and started exploring the wooded areas surrounding my home with my wife. Not only has it made winter bearable but I actually look forward to the snow and cold as fall draws to an end. I love setting out and finding something new (below is a hot spring fed creek I came upon while snowshoeing).

The key for me is to stay active and keep things interesting. Wisconsin winters offer no routine, especially these days. You never know if it’s going to be -5 degrees with sun blazing or 30 degrees and rain. Today is a perfect example. I check the weather this morning to see that the mercury was topping at 31. Too warm to ride my fat bike on trails so I quickly set my road bike up for a morning ride through the countryside. Within the first 5 minutes I nearly crashed two times. 31 degrees and a light drizzle created some hidden ice patches. It was enough to convince me to cut it short and head to work. Rolling with the punches is necessary on days like today. I’m harboring hope that I can squeeze in a ride on the way home but I’ve learned to never count on it.

So long, and thanks for all the lobster   by jay on Jan 13, 2015

Hello world,

It is with bitter sweet feelings I share that Jeff Miller has decided to move on from the Alliance for Biking & Walking. You can read the announcement here.

Planet Bike has been a primary supporter of the Alliance for more than a decade. In that time, I have seen Jeff transform the Alliance. Prior to Jeff's tenure, the Alliance struggled to communicate its mission, form partnerships and raise money. Six years later Jeff leaves a healthy and secure organization with some of the strongest partnerships in the bicycle advocacy movement.

I am personally sad to see Jeff go because it means I will get less time with this generous and funny person.

But there is a sweet side. Jeff now has a family. As any parent knows, family changes ones priority and perspective on life and career. And Jeff has personally grown enormously in his skills, capacity and network. Jeff is one of the most highly motivated and productive people I know. I have no doubt he's on to bigger and better things and I can't wait to see what he does next.

I blogged about Jeff's arrival at the Alliance back in 2008. In case you skip it, the famous lobster bike is below.

Hoping to work together again,

Vortex Dress Code   by mark on Jan 07, 2015

In the midst of a polar vortex I always like to put out a reminder on biking in brutally cold temperatures. This morning on my 45 minute commute to work, the temperature was hovering around -6F with the wind chill at -25F. However, I was completely comfortable riding in the proper attire.

Hands and feet have always been the biggest challenge for me so I will start there. I’ve taken the easy way and gotten myself a pair of 45NRTH Wolvhammer boots. These have been amazing for me. I ordered a size up and paired them with a mid-weight merino wool sock. I have yet to ride in a temperature cold enough to bother my feet. The only other set-up that has come close in the past is a pair of winter boots, wool socks, and flat pedals. I love my clipless pedals so I went that route.

Keeping my hands comfortable has been a research project in trial and error for me. What I’ve ultimately settled on is a pair of mid-weight fleece gloves underneath a fleece-lined and windproof Outdoor Research mitten. They have high cuffs to keep out the elements and my hands stay toasty warm.

You’ll hear this preached by any winter commuter; layers are the key to staying warm. Layers allow you to add more when you’re cold and remove when you’re too warm. A good rule of thumb to keep your core warm is to start with a wicking baselayer, add an insulation layer on top of that, and finish with a windproof shell. On the bottom I start with my standard biking bib shorts and an insulated/windproof shell pant. If it’s really cold I’ll add an additional layer in between.

I even use layers above the neck. My go-to items are a merino wool balaclava, merino wool gaiter, windproof and thinly insulated hat, a helmet with only a few vent holes and glasses or goggles. I typically wear the cap over the balaclava with the gaiter over it all. Then my helmet on top keeps everything in place. Once it drops below -5 I try not to have any exposed skin.

But even being a seasoned winter commuter I am always experimenting and fine tuning. On today’s ride I tried out a couple of new combinations. I added insulated knee warmers under my pants with gaiters over my boots. That was a winning combo on the bottom.

On top I used a single wicking short sleeve baselayer with built in windstopper front and insulated arm warmers. All this was under my insulated and windproof jacket. I was definitely warm enough, too warm in fact. I think I would have been good if it wasn’t for the backpack trapping heat in.

I’m always an advocate for using what works whether it is made for biking or not. There’s no catchall combination that will work for everyone. Keep riding and keep experimenting with what works, and when you do, share it!


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