Technically, Kevin Hardman, the Exec. Dir. of the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin, hosted the first Fed Fest at his Wauwatosa home in 2010. Earlier this year when the Bike Fed staff began planning for Fed Fest 2011, we all agreed it needed to be something that would be more inclusive or our 3,500 members across the state. We decided to let our state ambassadors and other local organizers figure out what they wanted Fed Fest to be in their communities, but try to tie them all together during the same general time period and give them a unifying identity. This year there were five locations for Fed Fest activities. If you did not have a Fed Fest near you but would like to participate next year, shoot me an email and I will make sure you get included in the early planning next summer.
The Bike Fed is doing our best to bring together the large and diverse community of people who ride bicycles in Wisconsin. Every year more than 2.5 million people race, recreate, train, tour and commute on roads, paved trails and single track in towns, villages and cities from south to north and east to west. Sometimes it is easy to get caught up in our local trail issues, our training or just biking from point A to B and forget that we all share common values and benefit from speaking with a unified voice. While people have many different reasons why they ride, we can all agree that Wisconsin is a better place to live because it is a better place to bike.
Appleton Fed Fest
The inaugural Appleton Fed Fest had much to celebrate about bicycling, here in the Fox Valley and statewide. New bikes lanes in Appleton and “Scott’s Get Up & Ride Challenge” surpassing 1 million miles brought about 60 people to the celebration from a coalition of groups including Bike Fed members, “Challenge” riders, local leaders with the Fox Cities Greenways, and community members passionate about cycling. To acknowledge the work of the Bike Fed over the past year, a representative from Congressman Ribble’s office presented the Bike Fed with a “Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition”.
But no Fed Fest would be complete without a ride, and two separate rides followed some of the new bike lanes and routes around the city and were joined by two Appleton Police Department officers. People gathered afterwards for a picnic in the park, complete with delicious Million Mile Cake! Way to go Wisconsin bicycle commuters and thanks to Scott Paper for organizing the Scott’s Get Up & Ride Challenge. The first Fox Valley Fed Fest brought together many who care about cycling in the area and state for fun, food, and rides!
- Scott Riley, Fox Valley Ambassador
Forty two people took part in Fed Fest in Eau Claire this year. Notables included Derek Parr, Eau Claire Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Commission’s vice-chairman, Brad henderson, Safe Routes to School Coordinator/advocate and nearly 20 members from local cycling club EC Velo. Before the group ride, people discussed how we are all bicycling role models every time we go out for a ride. We can make positive change in our community if we simply lead by example and obey the traffic laws when on bicycles, but also when we drive our cars.
The discussion also highlighted ways that citizens can get involved and have a voice to drive changes in our local infrastructure and general cycling encouragement. A good time was had by all and we look forward to an even bigger Fed Fest in 2012
- Matt Andrews, Eau Claire Ambassador
The La Crosse community celebrated Labor Day weekend with our inaugural La Crosse Bicycle Festival. Friday through Monday, riders gathered in Cameron Park to begin unsupported bike tours, guided by beautiful maps of the Coulee Region which included several options for routes and turn by turn directions.
Saturday and Sunday, the city streets were filled with families and friends taking urban rides. There was an architectural ride, an ice cream shop ride,and a coffee shop ride each day. Each of the urban rides were led by local bicyclists. Sunday night people gathered on Pearl Street to listen to several bands. Next year’s festival promises to be even better, so plan on coming to La Crosse for a ride.
- Carolyn Dvorak, La Crosse Ambassador
Madison hosted Fed Fest in conjunction with Moving Bicycling Forward in Madison, at which Mayor Paul Soglin’s meeting to discuss the future of bicycling in our state capital. More than 250 people attended the speech by the Mayor and other local officials. Afterword they pedaled over the The Brink Lounge for a Fed Fest pizza party. You can read more about that event in this earlier post.
West Allis Fed Fest
The Twilight on the Hank Ride on Saturday, September 10 was part of the this year’s Milwaukee area Fed Fest – a statewide celebration of the Bike Fed’s accomplishments. The setting sun cast long shadows as the 45 cyclists left Benno’s in West Allis and headed west on the Hank Aaron State Trail.
The riders turned around at 94th Place and rolled east while the Harvest Moon rose in darkening sky. Helmet high native grasses and wildflowers flanked the trail along the Menomonee River on the Marquette, Sigma, and Harley loops. When the riders turned west at 6th and Canal Streets, a blaze red sun was sinking behind a ribbon of pink clouds along the horizon. The Domes were sporting crowns of purple neon. As if in welcome, the pedestrian bridge lights came on just as the riders approached. Miller Park twinkled. Everyone’s blinking front lights led the way back to Benno’s for food and drink. - Barbara Blick, SE WI Ambassador