35 Reasons Why the WI Bike Fed has Been Important for Cyclists for 35 Years
It’s incredible to think that the Wisconsin Bike Fed started out as the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin 35 years ago in 1988! From the beginning, the organization wanted to look out for cyclists and give them a voice in matters that impacted their ability to ride safely and freely throughout the state. We still do.
The organization has grown over the years…in the number of board directors, programs, and staff…and the dedication remains the same to look out for everyone who wants to ride a bike in Wisconsin. Here is a list of some of the reasons the Bike Fed has been able to make an impact over the years:
- A mission to cultivate, motivate and unite a strong community of residents, as well as business and political leaders, to move cycling forward in Wisconsin – through education, legislation, and involvement.
- Encouraging confidence in the young riders with Balance & Pedal classes, Adventure Bike Camps, and Safe Routes to School.
- Fighting successfully for the passing of Assembly Bill 64, the “bicycle bill,” in 1996 that made numerous changes in state law, including granting bicyclists for the first time the same rights as motorists and eliminating the prohibition against riding two-across.
- Teaching pilots, trainers and educators how to bring the joy of a bicycle ride through the Cycling Without Age program.
- Engaging a dedicated board of directors who act as ambassadors for the Bike Fed and bicyclists.
- Giving a voice to cyclists to help make a difference regarding bike-friendly laws, budgets, access, and infrastructure.
- Championing loyal members who motivate the Bike Fed’s work.
- Interacting with businesses, bike shops, communities, and advocacy/non profit groups on bike-friendly goals that promote safe and accessible cycling.
- Scheduling discussions with political leaders on annual Lobby Days to support budgets and legislation that benefit cyclists, communities, tourism, and economic growth.
- Introducing the first bike safety and education program in the state. Although the “Share and Be Aware” name is no longer used, the tools and techniques have been incorporated into the Bike Fed’s current education programming.
- Bringing together everyone who cares about bicycling to a Wisconsin Bike Summit over the years to share goals, best practices, information, and inspiration.
- Inspiring generous donors and sponsors who show confidence in Bike Fed’s work.
- Hosting epic events like Ride Across Wisconsin and fun events like Santa Cycle Rampage.
- Hiring a skilled staff who know what it means to bike for transportation and recreation.
- Educating communities and leaders on pedestrian safety through the MilWALKee Walks program.
- Activating a Council of Advocates who represent WI counties on local issues.
- Offering a Website filled with advocacy news, events, programs, and ways individuals and organizations can support Bike Fed’s mission.
- Recognizing that cyclists are unique – rolling on 1,2,3 or 4 wheels on roads, gravel, paved trails, mountain bike trails, and more for transportation and recreation.
- Celebrating cycling around the state through Wisconsin Bike Week.
- Publishing the annual Ride Guide magazine with exciting and informative articles along with helpful resources distributed to members, bike shops, and tourism offices statewide.
- Delivering a weekly e-newsletter that keeps folks around the state up to date on cycling news.
- Sharing free Mobile Bike Repair services in major metropolitan areas to assist residents with limited access to resources.
- Working with adults on Teaching Safe Bicycling techniques to educate young riders on how to avoid crashes.
- Creating opportunities for volunteers to make an impact.
- Setting up tents at events to share information and opportunities with participants and attendees on advocacy, education, merchandise, and membership.
- Featuring merchandise like the classic “Forward” design that keeps riders looking good.
- Representing cyclists through advocacy at the local, state, and national level.
- Supporting Wisconsin’s first statewide Complete Streets policy in and becoming the 19th state in the country to do so in 2009. Although Wisconsin was the first state to ever repeal the law in 2015, work continues to advocate for reinstatement.
- Partnering with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation and AAA on bicycle maps that help riders plan trips around the state.
- Connecting with cyclists through Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to reach them where they prefer to get their news.
- Passing along grant funding opportunities to communities and organizations that assist with local infrastructure projects.
- Providing the opportunity to purchase WI DNR state trail passes for rides on scenic state managed trails.
- Working with businesses and communities on League of American Bicyclists Bicycle Friendly America applications
- Maintaining a statewide online calendar of rides and events.
- Respecting the rich history of how far we have come, while understanding the challenge and responsibility of continuing to move cycling forward in Wisconsin.
Want More History?
Visit the “About The Wisconsin Bike Fed” webpage for more reflections of the organization’s origins, achievements, and leadership over the years.
Save the Date!
We’ll be celebrating the 35th anniversary with an outdoor party on Friday, September 15, 2023 at the Bike Fed/Wheel & Sprocket location in Bay View. Get your Aqua Net super hold hairspray, bright colored shirts, blue eyeshadow, and pleated jeans ready, and we’ll share more details this summer!
Special 35th Anniversary Offer for Members
While you are waiting to celebrate in September, Bike Fed members can get festive with a $35 donation to receive a pair of exclusive anniversary socks. Learn how to get yours HERE!