Friday, August 15, 2008

Cycling Paradise

Madison continually receives accolades for its great great cycling routes, roads, lanes, shops, and overall bike-friendly nature. In recent years, Madison has been named the “Best Road Biking Town in America” by Outside Magazine (2006), and the "#1 City for Cycling” (among cities with a population between 200,000 and 500,000) by Bicycling Magazine (2006).

There’s no doubt Madison is a great place to be a cyclist. In fact, it’s one of the many reasons I decided to move back to Madison after brief stints in Aspen, Colorado, and Ann Arbor, Michigan. There’s just something about the roads, people, scenery, and small towns of Wisconsin, that simply cannot be beat. Cyclists in Madison just know they’re lucky. And never one to be complacent with top rankings, Madison has launched the following two extremely innovative bike-friendly initiatives in just the last two months.

1. Madison Offers a Different Kind of Vending Machine
Machinery Row Bicycles (a Madison bike store) and Trek Bicycle Corporation's Advanced Concept Group (Trek is also headquartered in Madison) recently partnered to bring bicyclists a “vending machine that will pump up your tires, not your waistline.” The test unit is currently set up outside Machinery Row and is available to cyclists at any time, even after store hours. The unit features a vending machine with small bike tools, accessories, and fuel. On one side of the vending machine is a bike stand, as well as an embedded video screen that explains step-by-step instructions on basic repairs, such as fixing a flat. The other side of the unit displays local bike maps and events.

2. Madison Launches Solar Energy Bike Path
Earlier this month, Madison also launched a new campus bike path which makes it much easier for commuters to connect from west side neighborhoods to the heart of campus. The path features 37 solar lights, which makes it one of the largest solar installations in the country.

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