They are the team names of some of our Dane County Safe Routes Bike Driver’s Ed Camps! The Wisconsin Bike Fed held camps at nine sites with 137 bike campers entering grades 3-8 in June, July and August, 2022. All of our camps started with foundational bike skills including starting, stopping, and riding in a straight line. When campers demonstrated control of their bike we progressed to communicating with turn signals, scanning behind, and looking left, right, and left again for traffic. We took our skills off school grounds and hit the road to practice right of way and yielding at intersections. With coaching and positive encouragement, students learned what it means to operate a vehicle on the road.
Our middle school campers explored Madison by bike and practiced their road riding skills. One favorite destination was the Leopold Park Pump Track which officially opened in spring, 2022. Pump track riding is quite different from biking for transportation, but after a few pointers the campers were having a blast and practicing communication and yielding skills. Wisconsin summers are notoriously hot and humid, so we biked to several Madison beaches including B.B. Clarke, Spring Harbor, Warner Park, and Vilas Park Beach located on Vilas Park Drive where an active street was recently added.
We were lucky to have special guests join our rides this summer to help campers understand the policy and infrastructure work that is essential to creating bike-friendly spaces and communities. A big thanks to Colleen Hayes, Pedestrian Bicycle Outreach Specialist at City of Madison; Zia Brucaya, Transportation Planner at the Greater Madison MPO; Yang Tao, Traffic Engineer at the City of Madison; and Mandela Barnes, Wisconsin’s Lieutenant Governor for sharing their time and knowledge with our curious campers.
The Wisconsin Bike Fed ended summer with our first ever Dane County Adventure Bike Camp. Eleven intrepid campers rolled north, south, east, and west from our home base at the Madison Bicycle Center. The self-named “GMO Potatoes” had a blast wayfinding, exploring the city by bike, playing in many Madison parks, learning about Madison’s bike infrastructure, and roasting french fries over a fire at Picnic Point.
Finally, we want to give another huge thanks to Wheels For Winners and BikEquity for providing bikes and making it possible for our Safe Routes campers to fully participate and enjoy bike camp! We can’t wait to get rolling again next year!