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M A G A Z I N E 22 J A N U A R Y 201 9


SANTA IS BACK. Brewed by our bike-crazy friends in Belgium, this traditional European holiday bier pays homage to a favorite Milwaukee holiday tradition - the Santa Cycle Rampage. Warm up from your winter adventures with flavors of dark caramel and candi sugar with hints of rich fruitcake, cloves, and peppery spices, available for a limited time each year only at Lowlands Grand CafĂŠs.

L OW L A N D S B R E W I N G . CO M


Headquartered, designed and engineered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Manitou would like to thank all the people who dedicate their time to making our home a great place to ride. www.MANITOUMTB.com www.HAYESCOMPONENTS.com


THE ONLY VARIATION IN NUMBERS COMES FROM WHAT YOU ATE FOR BREAKFAST

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Eastside Fade Series A premium single-speed/fixed gear bike developed and tested on the busy streets of Milwaukee. Combining the comfort and quality of 4130 chromoly steel with traditional track geometry, the Eastside gives the rider an aggressive, responsive and comfortable ride. The Fade series comes in 5 unique color-ways and makes for the perfect urban explorer.

Wisconsin Bike Fed members receive 10% off Fyxation products.

F Y X AT I O N . C O M


CONTENTS M A G A Z I N E 22 J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 9

Bike Across the Bay / 8 ROAM: Winter Rendezvous / 16 Route of the Badger / 24 Safe Streets / 28 Updated Oak Leaf Trail signage / 32 RAW 2019 / 38 When In Rome... ride your fat bike! / 44

Riding across Chequamegon Bay during the 2018 Book Across the Bay event. Photograph by David Schlabowske

WisconsinBikeFed.org

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Santa Cycle Rampage Diaspora The Santa Cycle Rampage began in Milwaukee about 18 years ago with a handful of year-round commuters looking for a fun winter ride. That little ride now attracts thousands, and as ride veterans move to other cities, they have spread the Rampage joy. There are now sister events as far away as, Boston. The Madison Rampage appears to be gaining critical mass, as you can see in these photos. photographs by Mark Renner

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I

ISSUE 22 – January 2019

STAFF Baltazar De Anda Santana/Dane County Program Director baltazars@wisconsinbikefed.org

Carolyn Dvorak/Southwest Region Director

carolyn.dvorak@wisconsinbikefed.org

Kristin Kanitz/Membership Services Coordinator

kristin@wisconsinbikefed.org Grace Labinski/Bookkeeper

grace@wisconsinbikefed.org Jake Newborn/Youth Education Program Manager

jake.newborn@wisconsinbikefed.org

Dave Schlabowske/Executive Director

dave.schlabowske@wisconsinbikefed.org Jessica Wineberg/Deputy Director

jessica@wisconsinbikefed.org Board of Directors

Traci Elliot, Chair, Steve Arnold, Secretary, Dave Jablonowski, Treasurer Bob Burns Dan Goldberg Kristie Schilling Sarah Drillias Keith Laughlin Elisa Sibilski Ted Galloway Melissa Putzer John Siegert Magazine Staff

Editor: Dave Schlabowske

Art Director: Peter DiAntoni

The Wisconsin Bike Fed Magazine is a complimentary addition to Bike Fed Annual Memberships.

Reach us at (414) 255-0369 or WisconsinBikeFed.org

don’t know anyone who is looking forward to 2019 more than the staff at the Bike Fed. We are really excited about our Advocacy 2.0 vision to unite people around the state who care about bicycling, safety and trails. This is the first time in a long time that we have a clear plan with measurable goals to unite people from all across the state move cycling forward in Wisconsin again. Due to federal rule changes, we have lost Share & Be Aware, our statewide safety program. That was our biggest and most popular program and has been successful enough that our fatal crash numbers are below the new government limit for states to qualify for federal safety program funds. We don’t want to stop a good thing though, so we launched our Safe Streets Wisconsin fundraising campaign to try to raise $100,000 to continue this vital program. Our hope is that there are at least 1,000 of you out there who might donate $100. If you have been passed to closely by a car, honked at in a crosswalk, or shook your head at someone else’s bad behavior on a bike that gives other cyclists a bad reputation, please consider donating at wisconsinbikefed.org or mailing us a check. While filling that funding gap is a challenge, our conservative 2019 budget projects we finish the year in the black. With the excitement about the Ride Across Wisconsin route from La Crosse to Green Bay and registrations already ahead of last year, we could finish the year better than our conservative projections. Budget cuts are a challenge, but they have forced us to tighten our belts more, downsize our offices, and institute some overdue costbased accounting reviews of all our programs. While not everything a non-profit does must pay for themselves, with less revenue and fewer people on staff, we simply have to be more selective about where we put resources. So while I love print magazines, advertising revenue does not cover our costs and reduced staff made it hard to meet deadlines. So we are going from four quarterly issues to one larger April Ride Guide Issue. We have an idea for three other quarterly print mailings, that will be cool, but not nearly as expensive. To take the place of those missing issues, we are excited to update our website to be more like an online version magazine, which will allow us to have a better online calendar, share routes and video. Watch our blog and email updates for more details, and enjoy this final, late, winter issue.

Dave Schlabowske —Executive Director WisconsinBikeFed.org

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BIKE ACROSS THE BAY STORY & PHOTOGRAPHS BY DAVE SCHLABOWSKE

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WisconsinBikeFed.org

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BIKE ACROSS THE BAY

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D

espite the regular stream of cars driving across the ice road between Bayfield and Madeline Island, Mike and I can’t help but pause a bit at the blaze orange “TRAVEL AT YOUR OWN RISK” sign and think about the more than 150 feet of water that lies below the ice road. I look down as I step on the pedal, and I am reassured by the two feet of clear black ice below my studded tires. After a few photos by the warning sign, we pedaled off on our two-mile route across Lake Superior, two ice road bikers out for a Saturday morning ride in the middle of February. Once we landed on Madeline Island at La Pointe, we continued on to Big Bay State Park where we explored the island shore looking for frozen sea caves. We didn’t have any luck, but we enjoyed hiking and biking along the gorgeous shoreline before we turned back for the return trip to the mainland. If you are looking for a unique midwinter getaway and are intrigued by the thought of riding across the frozen Lake Superior, the Bayfield Peninsula offers a host of other fun, accessible adventures. You don’t even have to own a fat bike as the local bike shops rent them. You can even rent bikes with studded tires. Just be sure to call ahead to reserve one. The middle of February is a great time to go because the ice road is typically frozen by then. The earliest the ice road has opened since they have been recording it is January 14th. The longest it has stayed open was 90 days, but the season is typically only about 50 days now. The ice is checked daily, and the ice road is plowed to keep it clear of drifting snow and lined with old Christmas trees as markers. I like to time my winter North Coast trip to coincide with the annual Book Across The Bay ski and snowshoe race. Book Across the Bay attracts thousands of people who come to race across the frozen Lake Superior from Ashland to Washburn. The 2019 race will be on February 16th. As usual, it the event is held at night and the entire 10 Kilometer groomed course is lined with candles in ice as luminaries! I don’t enter the race, instead, I ride my fat bike from the finish in Washburn, out to the giant fire-breathing dragon snow sculpture located in the middle of the course. I ride outside the luminaries, explore some of the beautiful Lake Superior shoreline and hang out by the dragon to cheer on the racers. Then I bike back to the finish party, where they have a huge bonfire, bands, beer, and food inside a big heated tent. Sunday morning, the local riders from the North Coast Cycling Association (NCCA) host a Bike Across the Bay race from the Harbor View Event Center in Washburn. The race has a Le Mans style start and is open to riders of all ages and abilities. While there are quite a few super fast racers out to win, like most fat bike races, the majority of the people just enter to have some winter fun and get some exercise. So don’t be deterred even if you have never done a race before.


If you are looking for a unique midwinter getaway and are intrigued by the thought of riding across the frozen Lake Superior, the Bayfield Peninsula offers a host of other fun, accessible adventures.

WisconsinBikeFed.org

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BIKE ACROSS THE BAY

Other adventures to try are riding the amazing groomed fat bike trails at Mt. Ashwabay. Those trails are part of the Chequamegon Area Mountain Bike Association trail network. Check the NCCA Facebook page for conditions and for details about their regular Saturday fat bike ride series. Of course, the other incredible adventure to watch for are the frozen sea caves in the Apostle Islands. When winter conditions are just right, Lake Superior freezes around the islands and people can walk or ski out to visit the sea caves. It is not legal to bike out to the Apostle Islands because National Park Service rules only allow bicycles where they are officially designated. Since nobody imagined fat bikes and studded tires back when they designated the Apostle Islands a National Park, bikes were not designated uses. The ice caves are located at the western end of the Mainland Unit of Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in far northern Bayfield County. There is a parking area with stairs to the beach (ice in the winter) at the end of Meyers Road.

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WisconsinBikeFed.org

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BIKE ACROSS THE BAY

When I visited in 2015, I was able to find very cool frozen sea caves off the cost of Big Bay State Park on Madeline Island as well as by Cornucopia and just north of Washburn. Those caves are not part of the Apostle Island National Lakeshore, so it is legal to ride bicycles in them if you find any. Shore erosion and varying ice conditions mean the shoreline and caves can look very different from year to year. I typically keep my fingers crossed and check with the locals for ice conditions.

Bayfield Area Bike Shops: Howl Adventure 35265 S. County Hwy J, Bayfield, WI 715- 779-5561 ​bike@howlinbayfield.com Bay City Cycles 412 Main St W, Ashland, WI 54806 (715) 682-2091 baycitycycles.com

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WisconsinBikeFed.org

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ROAM Winter Rendezvous

First annual winter bikepacking weekend Story and photographs by Dave Schlabowske Illustration by Caressa Givens once asked someone I met in an elevator if they wanted to go winter camping with me. It was winter, I was carrying two panniers and still had my helmet on when a guy in the elevator told me he commuted by bike all winter too but wished there were more fun rides to do. This was years ago before there were fat bike races every weekend. I told him I had plans to go winter camping that weekend and invited him along. He laughed a little nervously, said he had other plans and got off at the next floor.

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WisconsinBikeFed.org

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As a way to introduce more people to winter camping without scaring strangers in elevators, I decided to organize a three-day weekend of winter camping and general Northwoods tomfoolery February 8th, 9th, and 10th at our inaugural Chequamegon Winter Rendezvous. This family-friendly weekend will be held at ROAM Adventure Basecamp in Seeley, in the heart of the Chequamegon Area Mountain Bike Association Trails and next to the American Birkebeiner Association trail. So you can ski or bike right from your campsite! For those who are not sure they want to camp in a tent, ROAM has four amazing heated cabins. The cabins are Danish Modern style, sleep up to six, and have both electricity and heated floors. All you have to bring is a sleeping bag! ROAM also has heated showers and flush toilet bathrooms, to add a bit of glamping style even if you are camping outside in a tent. In addition to the four cabins, ROAM has 30 campsites, all with fire rings, and firewood available for purchase. There is no cost to join us for the weekend, except for the fee to reserve a campsite or cabin. This is all on a first come, first serve basis, so reserve a spot soon if you are interested. You can come for all three days or just part of the weekend. 18

Those who want to ski or do something else are welcome to skip any of the planned activities. This weekend is all about having fun, so feel free to ski or make your own plans. The group rides will be slow, no drop rides. The CAMBA volunteers groom 75 miles of trails, so we have plenty of options for rides. Skiers have access to the 90 miles of Nordic trails groomed by the American Birkebeiner Association. This weekend should be fun for winter camping newbies and experienced cold-weather adventurers alike. Because of the comforting amenities at ROAM, the weekend is a great chance to for newbies to try winter camping for the first time. For more experienced campers, this is a chance to see other people’s set-ups, trade winter camping tricks, or even test new gear or clothing. Thanks to one of our Wisconsin expat pals who now works at Hyperlite Mountain Gear, we will even have a bomber Ultamid 2 demo shelter set up for people to try! When it comes to portable shelters, few designs have been as thoroughly time-tested and proven as the pyramid-style Ultamid. Despite the fact that the Ultamid 2 only weighs a tad over a pound, the 100% waterproof Dyneema® Composite Fabric used to make it is incredibly strong. Don’t miss out on this chance to be part of the first inaugural Chequamegon Winter Rendezvous!


General itinerary for the weekend: Friday, February 8, 2019:

2 PM to 4 PM, Set up camp at ROAM 4 PM 5-mile bike ride from ROAM to the Sawmill Saloon in downtown Seeley for happy hour and dinner (Old Fashioneds and fish fry!). 8 PM ride back to ROAM 8:30 PM to 10 PM, Campfires and BYOB back at ROAM

Saturday, February 9, 2019:

8 AM to 10 AM, Breakfast and coffee on your own at ROAM or back at the Sawmill. 10 AM to Noon, Group ride on CAMBA trails leaving from ROAM Noon to 1:30 PM Lunch on your own or back at the Sawmill 2 PM to 4 PM Ride CAMBA trails leaving from the Urenholdt Trailhead 4:30 PM to 7 PM Dinner at Sawmill or ride back to ROAM for dinner at camp 7:30 PM to 9 PM Optional night trail ride (bring good lights!)

Sunday, February 10, 2019:

8 AM to 10 AM, Breakfast and coffee on your own at ROAM, break camp 10:30 AM to 1 PM, Group ride on CAMBA trails leaving from a different trailhead TBD WisconsinBikeFed.org

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What to bring: • A tent or shelter • A sleeping bag rated for the forecasted temperature

• A sleeping mattress (cabin campers don’t need these as the cabins have mattresses)

• A camp stove, cookware, utensils, and coffee making system

• Food you can prepare for any meals you

plan to eat at ROAM (you can eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the Sawmill if you prefer)

• Coffee • Beverages such as hydration mix, hot

chocolate, or alcoholic beverages of your choice for around the campfire

• Snack food • Cold weather clothing for riding and sitting around camp

• Cold weather footwear for riding and sitting around camp

• A fat bike and/or cross country skies • Bikepacking bags, panniers, or small back-

pack to carry spares or ditch a layer of clothing after you warm up on the group rides.

• Spare tube, multi-tool, and mini pump in case of a rare flat tire on the group rides.

• One or two insulated water bottles • Cash for hot showers (there is a change machine)

• Money or credit card for the Sawmill

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Learn more at AAA.com/Bicycle 22 Bicycle transportation service is counted toward your allotted roadside assistance service calls per member, per membership year. AAA will transport you and your bike to any point of safety within the limits of your coverage. Please see AAA.com/Bicycle for full terms and conditions. 17-MS-2421


CHEQUAMEGON AREA MOUNTAIN BIKE ASSOCIATION Big Woods

Endless Trails

The Chequamegon Area – of beautiful Northwest Wisconsin

Our Trails

Area Events

• 125 miles of sweet single track, including 75 miles of interconnected trails • 200 miles of other mapped and marked off-road routes • 50 miles of groomed winter fat bike trails and routes • Hundreds of miles of remote, low traffic, scenic gravel riding

• Borah Epic • Hungry Bear 100 • Chequamegon 100 • Women’s Weekend • Longass Ride • Boogie in the Barn • Salsa Ride Camp • Seeley Pre-Fat • Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival • Singletrack Sunday • Big Fat Race • Fat Bike Birkie

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Coming late spring 2018

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CHEQUAMEGON AREA MOUNTAIN BIKE ASSOCIATION P.O. BOX 141 • CABLE, WI 54821 715/798-3599 CAMBA@CHEQNET.NET


Route of the Badger

CONNECTING WISCONSIN: The Legislative Trails Caucus Is Born Brian Housch

RTC Midwest Region, Policy Manager

Willie Karidis

Route of the Badger Program Manager

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On October 18th, 2018, an active and enthusiastic crowd of public officials, trail advocates, business owners, and avid cyclists gathered at the Wisconsin Bike Fed offices and Velobahn Coffee & Cycle to kick off the state’s newly formed Legislative Trails Caucus. Championed by Rep. Evan Goyke of the 18th District, the Wisconsin Bike Fed and Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC), are working to build a bipartisan group of state-elected officials to connect people, places, and opportunities across the Badger State in new and impactful ways. As highlighted by Rep. Goyke in his keynote speech from the event—trails have the potential to break down walls and create significant recreational, health, economic, and other quality-oflife benefits for all communities. This couldn’t be truer than in Wisconsin,

Wisconsin needs a state-wide Trails Caucus. A Caucus is an opportunity for legislators to discuss issues and implement policies that they care about. Goyke explained, “The Trails Caucus is an opportunity to tear down partisan and parochial walls that prevent us from talking to one another. If you think about a trail, a trail is really a great vehicle for this. We have a number of State trails that start in one Republican district and end in a Democratic district next door. What a great way to bring neighboring viewpoints together to collectively support shared infrastructure in their districts.” In 2006, Wisconsin was a trail leader among Midwestern states; a decade later, the Badger State is trailing behind its neighbors that realize intentional investments in trail networks such as Michigan’s 2000+ mile

“ We believe the ROTB could be a catalyst to

fill in other gaps and build a truly connected intrastate trail network and make Wisconsin the top trail state in the nation! ”

which has many trail projects on the horizon that have trail advocates ramping up efforts ten-fold. The Route of the Badger (ROTB) is being driven by a diverse and gritty coalition working to transform rural, suburban, and urban areas throughout southeast Wisconsin. The vision is to build a powerful 500-mile inclusive trail network with new opportunities for physical activity, tourism, recreation, transportation and stronger businesses along this route that will connect seven counties. Though Wisconsin already has thousands of miles of trails across the state, we believe the ROTB could be a catalyst to fill in other gaps and build a truly connected intrastate trail network and make Wisconsin the top trail state in the nation! To be most effective, to build the strongest coalition to advocate for trail projects like the ROTB,

Iron Belle Trail and in dedicated funding programs such as Minnesota’s new Active Transportation Program, are necessary to remain competitive and attract businesses, jobs, and talented people. With better policies and smart planning, Wisconsin could build out its existing trail infrastructure to capture the full economic and health benefits of trail networks. However, the development of trail networks is a complicated business. Different landowners, railroad negotiations, and funding mechanisms as well as city, county, state, and federal laws all provide potential roadblocks to successful completion of individual trail projects. The Trails Caucus is an opportunity for legislators to work on solutions for navigating the complexity of real estate acquisition, trail building, and maintenance. Members may also consider creating new funding WisconsinBikeFed.org 25


Route of the Badger policies to help local, largely volunteer groups develop and maintain their trail projects as well as regional projects like the Route of the Badger. This has been a highly successful strategy for states such as Ohio. Their RTC is working with a diverse group of stakeholders representing all trail types to engage state elected officials and support the Ohio Legislative Trails Caucus, which currently has 30 members representing a nice balance of Republicans and Democrats as well as Representatives and Senators. The Ohio Caucus has been a force of change, motivating agencies to collaborate on a new state trail plan and comprehensive trails website. Members have shown their strong intent by passing a concurrent resolution in both houses to make 2018 Ohio’s Year of the Trails. While symbolic, the declaration is important in that it formally recognizes the popularity and value of trails. Goyke asked for our help to, “Commit to paying attention about the Trails Caucus. Communicate with your state elected officials in state government. Call your elected officials, have a meeting with them, invite them to go on a bike ride on your favorite mile of your favorite trail to discuss why this is important to you and important to the community you live in. This is the first step, the kick-off, the birth of the Trails Caucus. We will hopefully have lots of productive bipartisan discussions to develop policy and funding come out of this effort.” Encourage your state Senator and Representative to join the Wisconsin Legislative Trails Caucus via https://rtc.li/WI_caucus. Currently, there exist approximately 340 miles of trail infrastructure, and project leaders—including RTC and Wisconsin Bike Fed—are in the early stages of developing the additional 160 miles to create a seamless system. When complete, these projects will change the way hundreds of thousands of residents and visitors to the state get around, stay active, and recreate.

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“ We are in the early stages of

developing the additional 160 miles to create a seamless system. When complete, these projects will change the way hundreds of thousands of residents and visitors to the state get around, stay active, and recreate. ”


Can You Put a Price on Safety? by Jessica Wineberg

T

he Bike Fed is launching a major fundraising campaign to raise $100,000 for Safe Streets because the past federal funding for Share & Be Aware is no longer available. Although we get more requests than we can accommodate for Share & Be Aware Ambassadors to teach classes and attend local events across the state, without your support, the popular safety program is at risk. Please donate to this important program that improves safety for all of us. If just 1,000 people will donate $100 each, we will have $100,000 to support Safe Streets. Please make a donation of any amount. Even $7 dollars can provide one driver or biker with a seat in a class. If you want the money you give make it safer where you ride, check the box to keep your donation local. For instance, if the folks in the Fox Cities raise $30,000, those funds will support staffing and programs in that area. In eight years, S&BA Ambassadors around the state have held 982 classes and attended 1,541 community events to teach and talked about bicycle and pedestrian safety to 228,880 people, reaching every county. Through social media and traditional advertising, we have reached millions more people with safety information and encouragement messages for how all road users can legally and safely share the road. This program is efficient and effective and needs your support.

Please make a donation today to keep safety education programs ongoing in Wisconsin.

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WisconsinBikeFed.org 29


If you are one of many people who have been passed too closely by a car, been honked at for trying to cross the street in a crosswalk, or frustrated by scofflaws who give all bicyclists a bad reputation, here is your chance to take some action and make a difference!

Please make a donation today to keep safety education programs ongoing in Wisconsin. We have done all this at a cost of less than $7 per person for classes and events and only $.08 per person for our media program. Despite the success and low cost of the program, recent federal rule changes now limit the use of Highway Safety Improvement Program funds to infrastructure projects. Our past funds can no longer be used for safety education or encouragement programs of any kind. Your donation will help support the priceless goal of safer biking in Wisconsin. Please make a donation today to keep this safety education program for all road users in Wisconsin going.

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UPDATED

OAK LEAF TRAIL SIGNAGE By Dave Schlabowske photographs by Peter DiAntoni

The Wisconsin Bike Fed is excited to partner with Milwaukee County Parks and the Chris Kegel Foundation on a transformational project. Beginning this spring, the Milwaukee County Parks signature Oak Leaf Trail will be a lot easier to navigate thanks to 35 new detailed wayfinding signs.

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WisconsinBikeFed.org 33


UPDATED

OAK LEAF TRAIL SIGNAGE

The Chris Kegel Foundation donated the funds, and the Wisconsin Bike Fed completed the mapping and design in consultation with staff from the Milwaukee County Parks Department, who will also install the signs next spring. The new signs are going to be a real game changer! With 125 miles of trails across nearly 1,200 square miles of Milwaukee County, the Oak Leaf Trail can be difficult to navigate. While paper and Google maps can be helpful, when you are out riding a trail and come to an intersection, it is so much more convenient to simply look at a sign to help find your way. The new two-sided signs have a system-wide map on one side and a detailed map of the area around each sign location on the other side. The trail system 34

is segmented into 12 lines, loops, and other trails – each one color-coded and named. The mapping system used for subway or bus lines was our inspiration. For example, now you will know you are riding on the Yellow Kinnickinnic Line which will take you to the Red South Shore Line. If someone asks you for directions, you can tell them “just take the Orange Menomonee River Line to the Brown Drexel Connector.” So wonderfully easy to understand! While these signs will be a wonderful new asset for riders on the Milwaukee County Oak Leaf Trail, the Chris Kegel Foundation has plans to fund similar wayfinding projects on other trails around the state. The Bike Fed will continue to


IMAGE BY THE WISCONSIN BIKE FED

BIKE CAMBA’S MT. ASHWABAY CLUSTER, 2 MILES SOUTH OF BAYFIELD ON SKI HILL RD.

help with mapping and design. The thought is that in the same way standardized signs make it easier to navigate roads and highways, similar standards can help people navigate trail systems. After Milwaukee County Parks installs the signs this spring, we will let you know about future plans for more signs on other trail systems. The Bike Fed could not be happier to have had the opportunity to be a part of this project. Thanks to the Chris Kegel Foundation for the support and to the staff at the Milwaukee County Parks Department for inviting us to partner with them on this much-needed trail system improvement.

Plan your trip & request a FREE Visitor Guide

visit B A Y F I E L D . O R G

•

or call 7 1 5 . 7 7 9 . 3 3 3 5


UPDATED

OAK LEAF TRAIL SIGNAGE Front Each of the 35 wayfinding signs will have an Oak Leaf Trail system map on one side and a local extent on the other. To help make wayfinding easier and make it easier to give directions, we have divided the Oak Leaf Trail into different color-coded segments with unique names.

OAK LEAF TRAIL MILWAUKEE RIVER LINE KIMBARK PL

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BLVD

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Back On the opposite side, each sign will feature a local map that shows the area directly around the sign. This local map will include important amenities, like bathrooms, water, and other park facilities. The zoomed in extent will be the same scale on each map.


FOOD DRINKS COFFEE LOUSY SERVICE 630 S 5th St., Milwaukee FUELCAFE.COM


2019 RAW 2019 RAW 2019 R NEW YEAR, NEW CHALLENGE

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RAW

2019 RAW

La Crosse to Lambeau Tackle the Badger State

August 16-18th, 2019 225 Miles: 1 & 2 Day Options By David Schlabowske

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fter four amazing years, we are moving the start of the Ride Across Wisconsin to La Crosse and the finish to Green Bay. We had incredible growth in registrations early, but our registration numbers were down a little in 2018. Then last year at the finish party, some of our riders who have joined us every year told us they might not come back in 2019 unless the route changed. That gave us pause. Since our inaugural ride in 2015, a group of those firstyear RAW Founders has been encouraging us to move the start to La Crosse and the finish in Green Bay. A couple of the riders own hotels and businesses in La Crosse and Green Bay. They said that while they like the route, it bugs them a little to start a ride across Wisconsin in Dubuque, Iowa. They even went so far as to figure out a nice route and have been riding between La Crosse and Green Bay on their own ever since. They called their 225-mile ride “Slaying the Badger.� This is a fast group of riders, and they average about 20 mph (not including stops) the entire 225 miles. 40

Despite the encouragement from this group of Bike Fed members and RAW Founders, we hesitated to move the route because 225 miles seemed too long even for most of our regular RAW riders. But with our numbers down slightly and those requests to move the route from finishers last year, we reconsidered. We included questions about moving the route in our 2018 post-RAW rider survey. The results of that rider survey could not have been more clear. While everyone said they really liked the original route across our southern border, the vast majority of responses were in favor of a route change. We specifically asked about moving the ride to La Crosse with a 225-mile route that finished in Green Bay. We were surprised that the vast majority of riders said we should move to La Crosse with the longer route. Even more of a surprise, most respondents said they would choose a one day, 225-mile option over a two-day option!


Between the survey results and offers of help from our members in La Crosse and Green Bay, we decided to move RAW. We are still working out some of the details, but we couldn’t be more excited about the move to theses iconic Wisconsin host communities of La Crosse and Green Bay. The longer route now offers two legitimate days of riding for those who don’t want to power through 225 miles in one day. So while the two-day options was never popular with our original 175-mile RAW, we think the attractions in La Crosse, Plover and Green Bay will make for a really fun two-day Ride Across Wisconsin. Day one from La Crosse to Plover will be 135, still a pretty long ride. Day two from Plover to Green Bay will be 90 miles, which will allow people to start a little later and finish with plenty of time to celebrate riding across Wisconsin when they get to Green Bay


The new route offers us a chance to highlight these three bicycle-friendly Wisconsin communities. So rather than pull all our riders into an arena for a Q&A with Jens Voigt as we have done in Dubuque, the 2019 RAW will feature outdoor beer from Pearl Street Brewing and food at the drop-off/start location in Riverside Park. The many great local restaurants, breweries, distilleries and retail shops will welcome RAW riders, family, and friends with specials and discounts, so we encourage everyone to get out and explore La Crosse Friday night. Due to the longer route, the start time Saturday morning will be earlier. We have been starting at 6 am from Dubuque, but we will start at 5 or 5:30 am in La Crosse. The overnight location in Plover, just south of Stevens Point, includes a party at the beautifully redone Pacawa Park. With only 90 miles to go the next day, two-day riders will be able to enjoy the Saturday night party, featuring beer from O’so Brewing and Great Northern Distillery, both located nearby! There are also three hotels conveniently located within half a mile of Pacawa Park. Two-day riders get baggage transportation included of course. The route to the finish in Green Bay will go past historic Lambeau Field (photo op!) and end at Hagemeister Park on the beautiful City Deck along the Fox River. Hagemeister Park was the first home of the Green Bay Packers, and it doesn’t get more Wisconsin than that! Green Bay is also home to plenty of craft breweries, restaurants, and retail stores, so we encourage riders, family and friends to spend the night and enjoy all Titletown has to offer. It is bittersweet to leave the original route. We have made many friends in the past four years of riding across southern 42


Wisconsin. We will especially miss our annual visit with the dairy farmers and 4-H kids along our route who hosted rest stops. We also want to thank the countless businesses and volunteers from Dubuque to Beloit to Kenosha for welcoming us as we rode through your communities. Our thought is to return to that founding route from Dubuque to Kenosha in the future, so we will not say goodbye but see you soon.

For more details and to register to Ride Across Wisconsin, visit rideacrosswisconsin.com

1013 W. Lincoln Ave, Milwaukee WI 53215 www.benscycle.com


WHEN IN ROME... ride your fat bike! By Dave Schlabowske

L

ast fall when Amelia Kegel and I drove into the Sand Valley Golf Resort in Rome, Wisconsin to check out the course for a new Hugh Jass fat bike series race, my jaw dropped. I was blown away by the beautiful rolling sandy hills that make up the area. When they told me they had 1,700 acres of sand barrens, I suddenly imagined a yearround fat bike Mecca with 100 miles of purpose-built mountain bike trails. Seriously, where else in the midwest do fat bikes hold an advantage over regular mountain bikes outside of winter? Sure, fat bike aficionados will line up at the start of almost any race just for extra grins, even if they would be faster on regular mountain bikes. Heck, people roll fatties on RAW and the Horribly Hilly. But what if there was a place where fat bikes had an advantage even when there wasn’t snow on the ground? What if there was a summer version of the Fat Bike Birkie? What if there were a place with mountain bike trails like they have in Copper Harbor, but built on rolling sandy hills?

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WisconsinBikeFed.org

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I have been discussing this idea with the folks at Sand Valley Golf Resort and local bicycle advocates. I have been encouraging them to get a proposal from Aaron Rogers from Rock Solid Trail Contracting. In addition to the trails at Copper Harbor, Rock Solid has been in the news lately for transforming Bentonville, Arkansas into a national mountain bike destination. There is nothing more to report at this point, but keep your fingers crossed that this idea takes hold. In the meantime, you owe it to yourself to ride the trails they have now. A great opportunity is coming up Saturday, March 2nd at race #7 of Wheel & Sprocket’s “Hugh Jass” Fat Bike Series. The Hugh Jass Fat Bike Series has really grown in 2019, and this is one of their new race venues. “For our seventh and final race of the season, we are creating a “Hugh Jass” Weekend at Sand Valley,” according to Amelia Kegel of Wheel and Sprocket. “With the resort’s unique lodging (and affordable winter camping options), great food and drinks, and the most amazing setting, we have never been more excited! Come Friday night, hang overnight Saturday, or stay the whole weekend! We are telling you, this is the race to make sure is on your calendar.” Between the existing mountain bike trails through their incredible sand barrens, the hotel, restaurant, bar and fat bike rentals, the Sand Valley race has the potential to be truly huge.

S T -G ERMAIN . COM 715.477.2205


Race #7 at Sand Valley runs on existing trails around the perimeter of the Resort’s property. This 10-mile loop contains changes in elevation, offers riders scenic views, and explores the sand dunes of one of Wisconsin’s only naturally occurring desert ecosystems. The race begins at 11:00 am with awards to follow. Local fat bike rental company Northward Peddle & Paddle along with Wheel & Sprocket will have fat bike rentals available for racers. In addition, they will be hosting fat tire bike demonstrations for the community from 1:00 - 4:00 pm on the Sand Valley trails. The weekend will wrap up on Sunday, March 3, with a 20-30 mile group ride through the Town of Rome. Local bike group, D.R.A.F.T. (Discover Rome Area Family Trails), will be assisting with set-up and course preparation Friday, March 1. Those interested in also volunteering for event set-up or race day assistance, please contact Visit Rome, WI, Inc. at 715-325-8012 For an event timeline and or to learn more details, visit: www.hughjass.bike Sand Valley: https://sandvalley.com/ Visit Rome: https://www.visitromewi.com/


Profile for Wisconsin Bike Fed

Wisconsin Bike Fed Magazine, January, 2019  

Winter edition of our quarterly magazine.

Wisconsin Bike Fed Magazine, January, 2019  

Winter edition of our quarterly magazine.