Monthly Archives: June 2013

The Ultimate Date Night – Clips Beer and Film

20130620_204757It’s a shame that New Belgium’s Clips Beer and Film Tour only comes to town once a year, because this event is seriously the ultimate date night. Can you imagine someone saying “Hey, wanna ride bikes to the lake, drink some craft beers, and watch a movie while the sun sets?” Yes. Yes I do. For as long as we both shall live.

Ladies and gentleman, mark your calendars for next year because no one is turning down that kind of offer. And even better? You get to tell your date that all the proceeds from the beer sales go to supporting the Wisconsin Bike Fed – a local non-profit that devotes 100% of its time to making Wisconsin one of the world’s best places to ride a bike. So basically New Belgium Brewery and Wisconsin Bike Fed had a baby and named it Clips Beer & Film. And we all lived happily ever after in a state of bike and beer ecstasy. But really. This event is too good.

20130620_201713(0)

970419_10151484499687620_1454975210_nIt didn’t take much to convince the Madison B-Team to help out with this event. After all, the New Belgium Fat Tire logo strongly resembles a B-cycle…no? With the help of the Wisconsin Bike Fed and many other bike-loving volunteers, we were able to valet over 600 bikes (not including the 300 parked outside the valet) for the great Madison community so they could drink their hand-crafted brews and watch some hand-crafted films while their bikes were safely tucked in for the night. Out of all New Belgium’s Clips Beer and Film Tour stops, Madison is actually the largest – with over 1200 in attendance last year and over 1800 this year. Are we surprised by this fact? Not in the slightest. Madison-ians know how to enjoy the simple things in life – like bike riding on a Thursday evening and taking in a sunset one sip at a time.

20130620_203424Running a bike valet is similar to running a day care. People put their trust in you to take care of their precious “child” and the initial hand-off produces some one-sided separation anxiety. You do what you can to assure parents that the bikes will play nice with each other in the racks. No rough housing allowed under the B-Team watch. Then the proud parents return at the end of the film with some hesitation and concern. Is Stella okay? Will we ever find her? “She is a red Fuji. She has two wheels. And handle bars. Please help me find her.” And then the parents clap and coo at the sight of their “child” being safely wheeled toward them. They thank you profusely for keeping “him” or “her” safe. Glad to know that I am not the only one that has assigned my bike a name and gender…

IMG_20130621_124803

B-Team Tech spotted in his natural environment..surrounded by bikes.

B-Team Tech spotted in his natural environment..surrounded by bikes.

Running a bike valet is not similar to running a day care because copious amounts of beer can be found on the premises.

IMG_20130621_115322

20130620_201923

Either way, the evening was an absolute joy to participate in and we are glad that Madison remains a stop on New Belgium’s Clips Beer and Film Tour. Already counting down the days til next year…and contemplating who to invite on this perfect date…

20130620_203957

The New Belgium Crew. Livin' the dream...livin' the dream.

The New Belgium Crew. Livin’ the dream…livin’ the dream.

Lips of Faith selection.  Personal favorite? Cascara Quad.

Lips of Faith selection. Personal favorite? Cascara Quad.

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

B-Inspired: Bike Shares of Europe

Recently I, Connor MacWilliams, (one of your faithful marketing interns) took a month long journey of a lifetime through Western Europe. In between sightseeing and the occasional visit to a local pub, I was able to seek out inspiration in the form of international bike share systems.

Europe was the birth place of bike share and has been paving the way for bike share systems, like Madison B-cycle, to be implemented across the world. The first system that I encountered was DublinBikes.

dublin.logo.jpg

Rightfully located in Dublin, Ireland, DublinBikes is operated by the city of Dublin and has been running since 2009. Recently DublinBikes announced a massive growth plan to implement an additional 950 bikes and 58 stations to its fleet! Luckily for me the bike share Gods were keeping me in their sights and placed a station right outside of my hostile.

dublin.fleet.jpg

We can dream.

After visiting the wonderful city of Dublin, I wandered on to the hustle and bustle of London. The city of London has one of the largest bike share systems in the world, Barclay’s Cycle Hire.

Fun Fact: Barclay’s Cycle Hire was implemented by Mayor Boris Johnson and is widely refereed to as “Boris Bikes”

Image

Let me just start with the fact that London was a terrifying place to ride bikes. The traffic is massive and let’s just say that Londoners are too preoccupied with the well being of cyclists. Once I veered off the heavily populated roads, the ride was quite nice.

london.damage.jpg

Barclay’s Cycle Hire was ahead of the curve when it came to reporting damaged bikes. For a fleet the size of Madison B-cycle’s it is manageable to continually maintain our entire fleet. However, when you are the size of Barclay’s fleet (8,000+) a system to notify the team of damaged bicycles comes in handy.

En route to Paris I made a pitstop at the birthplace of the world’s best waffles and chocolate, the city of Brussels, Belgium. Villo! is Brussels resident bike share system with a fleet of 5,000 bikes and 360 stations.

villo.brussels.jpgThe design of the Villo! bikes, like most bike share bicycles, was a standard cruiser frame, 3 speeds and a basket to fit all the Belgium beer and chocolate possible. Brussels was a fantastic city to bike in! The roads were not heavily congested and the citizens of Brussels respected the rules of the road…aka when I rang my bell they jumped to the right.

My final international bike share destination was the home to the world’s larget bike share system, Paris.

Velib'.Paris.jpg

Vélib’ (yes that is the correct spelling…don’t ask me why) was launched in July 2007 and currently has around 18,000 bikes and 1,200 stations. The estimated ridership (per day) is around 100,000 rides. To put that number into perspective on July 10th Madison B-cycle hit our 100,000th ride since our opening in 2011. Talk about self-conscious.

Having the opportunity to travel to these incredible places has reinvigorated my love of bike share and I hope to bring some new ideas to the table that were inspired by my time abroad. Keep an eye out B-cyclers!

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Brunch on Bikes!

20130614_094330

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words, and this will definitely be true of this post. I have to tip my hat off to food critics who can accurately describe how something tastes and smells, enough so that they convince you that you are hungry, even when you are not. It’s like watching Food Network. Regardless of the meal I consumed 10 minutes prior to watching any show on that channel, I always manage to convince myself that I am still hungry and should probably grab a snack.  Or how about that grand old rule of thumb “Never grocery shop on an empty stomach.” I’m gonna go ahead and warn you readers – probably shouldn’t view this post on an empty stomach. You may just find yourself AWOL at work and munching on a coconut curry egg sandwich at Mermaid Cafe.

20130614_093340This past Friday, I (Melissa, your faithful B-cycle Brunch Tour Guide and frequent blogger), was fortunate enough to join up with Madison Eats – a local food-lovers club in Madison – and B-cycle around town while indulging in fine local cuisines. Rough work day, right?

148233_453125728084554_525482615_nWhen I first heard of the club Madison Eats, I was pretty sure I was already in in it. I live in Madison and I eat a lot of food. But Madison Eats provides some pretty unique opportunities to explore the underground and local food scene in Madison – this brunch tour being one of them. The founder of Madison Eats – Otehlia – had been doing brunch tours for years and had just recently had the stroke of genius to pair with Madison B-cycle to cover more amazing foodie havens. The staff at B-cycle was more than ecstatic about this partnership.

Below you will find my storybook account (lots of mouth watering pics, few words) of our tour that day – beginning at Mermaid Cafe on Winnebago Street, ending at Hotel Red, and delighting in Batch Bakery and Graze in between. You may be asking yourself at the end of this post “Why haven’t I done this before and how do I make sure I don’t miss out next time?” Well friends, sign-up is easy. Click here to buy your tickets for you and your friends. The next tours take place on June 29 and July 11 – with hopes to add more based on demand. And by demand, I mean I will be demanding that Otehlia lets me lead another B-Cycle Brunch tour. Because who doesn’t love eating and biking? No one. That’s who.

20130614_093358

I had never heard of Mermaid before this tour. I’ve already been back. A true Madison gem.

20130614_095113

Truffle quiche and radish salad

20130614_101648

Next stop – Batch Bakehouse on Willy Street

Holy baked goods, right?

Holy baked goods, right? Every item made by scratch, by hand, and before dawn.

20130614_102716

Behind the scenes cookie dough spotting. That tub would last 2 days in my fridge…

Batch's bread schedule. My new phone background.

Batch’s bread schedule and my new phone background.

After Batch, we were all feeling a wee-bit full from not-so-sample-sized samples of pound cake and rhubarb bars, so the backside of the capital hill to Graze seemed a little daunting. So we did a B-cycle and Brunch tour first! We took the magical elevator at Monona Terrace!

Surprise!

Surprise!

It only took us three separate trips to get all those B-cycles up, but walking out to this view was totally worth it. Do we live in a gorgeous city or what?

20130614_110217

20130614_110841

20130614_112127

Mac n’ Cheese and pickled sampler plate at Graze

Our last stop

Our last stop

Crab cakes and a blended pepper dip

Crab cakes and a blended pepper dip

Olive oil cake. Literally my mouth is watering as I type this...

Olive oil cake. Literally my mouth is watering as I type this…

Two sisters - one a local and one visiting from Iowa. Talk about a great thing for visiting friends and family.

Two sisters – one a local and one visiting from Iowa. Talk about a great thing for visiting friends and family.

Our awesome biker gang.

Our awesome biker gang.

And that's a wrap folks.

Plates licked clean. Every time.

And that’s a wrap folks. Huge thanks to all the wonderful restaurants that hosted us. We appreciate all you do to support local farms by sourcing the finest products that Wisconsin has to offer.

20130614_100126

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The B-Ionic Man

20130608_101653For the past 24 years, Trek Bicycle Corporation and the MACC Fund (Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer) have been teaming together for the Trek 100 Ride For Hope. The Trek 100 has contributed over $11 million dollars to pediatric cancer research, and we imagine that fund grew substantially after the 2013 ride held this last Saturday in Waterloo.

Each rider was asked to raise $2/mile for two times the number of miles they pledged to ride, with the longest possible mileage being 100 – the grand Century. As if riding 100 miles on a bike wasn’t enough, our long time friend at B-Cycle National HQ – Brian Conger – decided it would be best to ride on a B-cycle. Because some people are awesome, and some people are real life bionic men (B-ionic…if you will).

20130608_143259

Most riders first question upon hearing Brian would be riding his century on a B-cycle was “Why?” But in true super human form, Brian simply asked “Why not?” If you think about it, the logic is quite simple. Big, plushy seat. A basket that allowed for the perfect aero position and top speeds. Plenty of room inside said basket for his cell phone (in which he used to make not one, but TWO conference calls while riding…can you say BOSS? But literally. Pun intended).

BMQ_G2yCIAIROCP (1)

Brian100ride

Forget fancy clip-ins and padded shorts. Brian rode his century in what looked like khaki golf shorts and Reeboks. It’s not the first time we’ve talked about B-cycles being magic bikes or stated that anything is possible on a B-cycle. But now Brian has actually proven that. This is factual now. ANYTHING is possible on a B-cycle. Had Brian done any modifications to the B-cycle, it probably would have flown (similar to the the ending scene from Grease where the car suddenly flies…). Maybe next year Brian…maybe next year.

20130608_143301

So huge thanks to Trek for this amazing event and to the MACC fund for all their support. And a huge round of applause to the B-ionic Man Brian for his heroic efforts and logic-defying physical capabilities. In the spirit of always striving for bigger and better, we’d like to propose a challenge for next year Brian, since super-humans like you always need new goals…

The Century…on the Trike?

Race essentials. Water. Ice. Teddy Bear.

Race essentials. Water. Ice. Teddy Bear.

Cheer Station!

Cheer Station!

Wouldn't be a proper event without a pic of an awesome baby in our shades.

Wouldn’t be a proper event without a pic of an awesome baby in our shades.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Ride The Drive

btb5This past Sunday, Madison B-cycle took to the streets of downtown for the annual Ride The Drive. John Nolen Drive (amongst other streets) were closed to cars so bikes, roller blades, and strollers could rule the streets. B-Team was ready to rumble real early to set up the tent, arrange the coveted B-cycle sunglasses, and assemble the temporary station for bike check-in and check-out. Windy conditions threatened the existence of the B-cycle tent, but after some creative bungee-cording, the station was ready to go!

20130602_110155

20130602_095102Last year we saw a lot of success with our dueling B-cycle mounts, but we upped our game this year with B-cycle basket toss and the ever popular Smoothie Bike. Thanks to our friends at Saris, we were able to have a full on smoothie bar at Ride The Drive – a bike-powered smoothie bar. The “Blender Bike” was a huge hit with young and old riders alike, and I think it is safe to say you will be seeing it at future events.

20130602_115358

crushin’ ice and takin’ names.

Ride it like you stole it.

Ride it like you stole it.

The temperature rose progressively throughout the day and by 1 PM the sun was shining and everyone was smiling. Well..most of us anyway.

20130602_130924

Huge thanks to all those who came out to Ride The Drive and participated in all our fun and games. We are so grateful to be a part of this bike-loving community and can’t wait for next year!

B-Basket Toss!

B-Basket Toss!

The Trike! With coffee! For the win!

The Trike came to the rescue half way through the ride – coffee and bagels in tow!

We like your game face.

Now that’s a game face.

the after-math.

the after-math.

20130602_094150

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,