I need ideas for promoting winter bicycling!
September 13, 2011 8:40 PM   Subscribe

Give me your great ideas for promoting winter cycling in frigid Wisconsin!

Tomorrow night, my local Bike Winter chapter has our first meeting. This will be our second year promoting winter cycling in Madison. Last year, we had a winter cycling fashion show (with reverse stripteases!) and some urban group rides with various themes and not-themes.

I'd like to bring some awesome ideas to the table for this year, but I'm not a terribly creative person. Give me some awesome ideas for this year! We're looking for anything that increases positive feeling toward winter bicycling, particularly showing folks how safe, comfortable, easy, and rewarding it can be to ride bikes in the colder months.
posted by yomimono to Travel & Transportation around Wisconsin (8 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Frigid Wisconsin???? I live north of 60 in the Yukon where serious winters exist - OK, actually, it may be a fact that you actually get way more snow, blowing snow, blizzards and cold weather than we do but it does sound impressive when you say you come from the Yukon doesn't it? I do a lot of walking myself but there is a very active cycling club up here that goes all year long. Check out their website which will give you some ideas as well as contact up here to help you out.
posted by YukonQuirm at 8:44 PM on September 13, 2011

I'm sure you've looked at Bike Winter Chicago for basic ideas... and I think that's Mefi's own Juliet Banana on the front page, or some sort of clone. An idea, however, would be to have a "fender bender", some time in late October/early November. Start at a amenable bike shop, where people can get fenders, and other inclement cycling gear, if they don't already have them, and then proceed to bike together to two or three attractive pubs or locations for food and drink to reward your cyclists.
Winter cycling is a combination of hardy temperament and having the proper gear. The key would be to line up the bike shop carefully and then hey! it's fun party on wheels that you could do every month or so.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 8:53 PM on September 13, 2011

Here on Boulder they have a Winter Bike to work day with prizes and free food and other neat stuff.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 9:04 PM on September 13, 2011

I live in Madison and commute by bike from March through November. If you want me to stay on my bike the other four months, you need to tell me the city has a plan for keeping ice off the bike paths, or teach me a technique for not slipping on it, because that is scary. I don't mind the cold at all (I chose to live here, didn't I?) but I don't want to feel at risk of falling. Feel free to MeMail if you want to have a more in-depth conversation with a representative eight-month Madison cyclist.
posted by escabeche at 9:30 PM on September 13, 2011 [2 favorites]

Juliet Banana is severely underdressed.

I bike year round in Chicago and I used to do it in Madison. I'm aware of Bike Winter Chicago mostly because of their sticker campaign, but also because of their fun rides that are either put on by them or are taken under their wing--namely the Three Floyds Ride, a 60 round trip to a brewpub in Indiana, and the Santa Rampage. If I were in Madison and someone planned a January ride to New Glarus I'd be all over it (although I know New Glarus isn't a brewpub.)

Having figured out the gear I need the hard way in Wisconsin (ask me about my ride during finals week when we had -60 wind chill), I haven't really needed Bike Winter's tips and tricks, but I've been impressed that they've had Make Your Own Balaclava nights and other how-to events. When I was a student I had very little money for gear, so any tips on how to stay warm on the cheap would have been very welcome.
posted by hydrophonic at 11:49 PM on September 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

If you want me to stay on my bike the other four months, you need to tell me the city has a plan for keeping ice off the bike paths, or teach me a technique for not slipping on it, because that is scary.

Well, to paraphrase a Swedish saying "there is no bad weather, only inappropriate equipment." I ride year-round in Stockholm. Studded snow tires are what you need. Buy the Nokian if you can. They use ceramic studs and don't wear out as quickly in an urban environment.
posted by three blind mice at 3:06 AM on September 14, 2011 [2 favorites]

Visit the bike shops around town and find the one that (1) has the best selection of snow tires and studs, and (2) is most knowledgable and friendly. Then invite them to do a presentation at one of your club meetings (with a title like "Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Bicycle Snow Tires"), including a drawing for a free pair of snow tires (which the shop donates). Your members will love it for the info and free tires, and the shop will love it because it advertises them and their tires. Win-win.
posted by exphysicist345 at 6:42 PM on September 14, 2011

Icycle challenge.
posted by Chuckles at 12:44 AM on September 16, 2011

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