On a lark, I began Over the Bars in Milwaukee with a little post about a ride I did on Memorial Day in 2010. At the time I didn’t know if I would ever publish again. In the 194 published posts since then, the topics have varied from wonky policy stuff to light hearted pieces about cyclechic fashion. Whether serious or silly, it has always been my hope that each post in its own small way will help grow a sense of community and identity among people who ride bicycles for transportation.
That virtual community has grown to between 300 to 600 viewers each day. While it is great to have a “virtual”community of readers, real community comes only when people meet face to face. But unlike most members of bike clubs and teams with their matching jerseys and organized recreational and training rides, people who ride bicycles for transportation end up as the loners of the cycling community. They come from disparate areas of the city and ride to different destinations, whether it be to a job, the store or for coffee. The only time they feel part of a group is when they run into each other on the road by chance as d’Andre and I did yesterday.
Chance meetings are great, but order to offer people the chance to get together, share ideas, and hopefully grown a sense of community, Over the Bars is going to try scheduling some casual rides in 2011. First will be a Bike to Brunch series of rides beginning in April. Those rides will be held the first Sunday of every month beginning April 3rd, 2011. If there is enough interest, we can plan a second date on the third Sunday of each month. People have already suggested a few locations for brunch. If you have a place in mind, suggest a cafe or restaraunt along with a date in the comment section below.
I have some other rides in mind as well, perhaps a Summer Cyclechic ride, a ride for pie, bike to the movies or a weekly farmers market ride. There are already other people organizing similar rides in Milwaukee, and we may try to cross pollinate with the likes of Russell’s Crappy Bike Ride and the Bay View Bunch and their Biketoberfest style pub crawls. If you have an idea for a ride, feel free to suggest it. I will be happy to post rides organized by other readers of this blog. I will put them on the calendar page, which you can access at the top menu bar above. I will announce each ride in advance as they near and people can get advice about routes and menus at that time.
I hope these rides will improve our sense of community, introduce people to new neighborhood businesses and grow an awareness among business owners that getting more people to ride bicycles is good for the bottom line. So what do you think? Got a favorite spot for brunch? If so, let me know in a comment below and suggest a possible date (first or third Sunday of any month after March) for the ride.