In the Bike Fed’s first featured ride going into the cold season, our staff, volunteers and calavera painted attendees made this a hugely successful fundraiser. Some 75 riders (with Madison Police Department escorts) took to the streets in a bike procession that would celebrate life and death and the rich contributions to Wisconsin from the Hispanic community. This Day of the Dead Ride along with the Polish Moon Ride, are the Bike Fed’s first efforts to organize some signature FUNdraising rides in Wisconsin. Look for a couple additional new rides in 2015 too.
Our recipe for our new rides will continue to build on the unique rides with fun themes that made the Polish Moon and Day of the Dead successful. For the Day of the Dead Ride, we banked on families and a diverse community coming out for the calavera face paint, two bands, cargo bikes carrying a tuba player among other great instrumentalists and great food from Colectivo and Tamaleria el Poblano (and other great restaurants on East Main Street).
A lively trio of guitars that make up Mariachi Corcel (thanks to The Alvarado Group for helping make this possible) greeted registrants for an hour of registering for the ride, getting face paint ready, enjoying some food and drink and then embarking on a 9-mile tour of Madison, with Day of the Dead themed stops along the way. Thanks to the police escort, kids and parents parents alike were given the chance to feel the freedom of strength in numbers and generally open streets during a bustling Saturday afternoon ride. All the while, a quartet from Forward! Marching Band played while riding on cargo bikes, brought smiles to their faces and those that heard and saw the group ride pass by neighborhoods, parks, the zoo, and around the capital square. Photos of this joy are available to enjoy thanks to our recumbent bike/trike ambassador and generous Bike Fed photographer, Darryl Jordan.
From the square we took in a view of lake Mendota from the top of Wisconsin Avenue at Langdon and circled around State Street’s Freakfest as it setup for an evening of more bikes, music and a Halloween revelry. From there to the South West Trail, riders were helped to pause traffic to get the group into Forest Hill Cemetery and the loop around to Edgewood College and the art exhibit “La Vida y los Muertos” where many could see the footage of Dia de los Muertos in Oaxaca, Mexico and take in community made altars.
The time: The timing of this ride seemed quite good though we may consider starting the ride a bit earlier.
The music: Mariachi beforehand and marching band during the ride worked great, but we’re open to more recomendations! I would love to have one or more accordions on the ride. I could imagine 2-3 accordion players on the ride given how long the group is.
Capped registration: Emphasis must stay on the fun, not the funds. Lots of folks told us they see huge potential for this kind of ride. Just as the Polish Moon Ride, I think we will cap the ride at 450 or 500 and see how that goes. Priority registration to Bike Fed members partner organizations around the Day of the Dead theme will come first and then fill up with others!
Community involvement: Organizing this ride strengthened many relationships with community groups and promises of increased support and interest in increased community involvement. We can continue to tie this into the Walk or Wheel Challenge as well as families involved in Fire Up Your Feet as a celebration of the end of these events. We are also meeting with the organizers from UW and Edgewood student populations to coordinate with them.
Additional Business Involvement: Let us know how to get more businesses involved in bringing more layers to the celebration! Costume stores for art supplies and activities? Groceries to highlight authentic Hispanic foods that they are putting on their shelves from local vendors?!
See you next year on Madison’s Day of the Dead Ride!
And let me know in the comments below if you have any suggestions on how we can improve the ride next year.
Thanks again to Darryl Jordan for all the great photos. You can see more of Darryl’s images at the Bike Fed’s Photoshelter site.