Tag Archives: Bike

The Dock Block

344Imagine this – you’re pedaling down Monroe Street past Edgewood with a lovely and intriguing partner. You’ve planned this spectacular date that begins on B-cycles, because by now you’ve figured out that B-cycling is for lovers. You get the chance to show off your physical prowess, as well as your concern for the environment. You get to prove your economical, self-sufficient, and an all-around great, resourceful individual.

Screen Shot 2013-09-13 at 7.57.08 AMAs if you aren’t already impressing your date enough, you will certainly win them over when your serendipitous B-cycle ride leads you to Jacs for famously-fresh Prince Edward Island Mussels and a whole cone of Belgian Frites for $13. Plus 1/2 price bottles of wine! This deal only takes place on Mondays, so you of course planned this date for a Monday. Since everyone needs something to look forward to post-weekend.

lYou pedal up to the Monroe and Knickerbocker Station. Your dates’ hair is glistening in the setting, fall sun. There is a cool breeze coming off Lake Wingra and you are both giggling like innocent school children. And then you see it. Your worst nightmare on this perfectly planned date.

The station only has one dock available.

You’ve been Dock Blocked.

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The most frequent question I get asked as a B-cycle employee is “What happens if a station is full?”

BCycle_MacKinnonPhoto_SeanBuchan_630x421I expect this question while working B-cycle events, but it manages to come up in conversation even when I am not wearing my red B-polo. I’ll be in chatting with a stranger while out on Friday night, telling them I work for B-cycle. The tone of the conversation will suddenly and drastically change. They set their drink down on the bar and say “I have a very serious question to ask. I just…don’t get how it works. Like…what if a station is full…?”

It never ceases to amaze people when I tell them there is a button on the kiosk just for this purpose. We really have thought of everything.

img-0194.752.1128.sIf a station is full, there is button on the touch-screen kiosk that says “Station is full.” Upon clicking that button, you will be given an extra 15 minutes to ride your B-cycle to the nearest open station. The kiosk can provide real-time info about all the locations, docks, and bikes available in the system. The mobile app does this as well and is a sweet tool when planning your excursions.

Of course, after being dock blocked, you now have the chance to show your date what a “roll-with-the-punches” kind of person you are. Keep calm, and pedal on, if you will. You can bring your bike up to Harrison and Monroe, just outside Trader Joe’s and dock your bike there. Two options now: bring your date inside and buy them a drink at the frobanbar while you return your B-cycle, or invite your date to come along. The incentive to come along? You can buy those amazing chocolate covered banana chips as an appetizer to eat on the walk back to Jacs. Cuz those things are life changing.

However, if you’re date chooses to stay behind, this presents you with the perfect opportunity to buy flowers at Trader Joe’s while on your solo bike return.

Clearly I spend too much time day dreaming and watching hopeless romantic comedies…

Moral of the story: avoid the dreaded Dock Block and check out the mobile app beforehand. But should the Dock Block arise, we’ve got you covered.

Mad_Bcycle_Jamie592

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The Time the Tour-De-Bcycle Was Live Tweeted

The life of a social media content creator can be somewhat challenging. Most of the time you are isolated, doing work from your bed in sweat pants that say “Brat Fest” on the butt. You’re forced to be your own critic, and you go a little crazy. You definitely start to think you are funnier than you actually are. Sometimes the words hit you, and sometimes they don’t. Sometimes you get this crazy burst of inspiration for what to say and how to capture an audience, and it will be while you are out to dinner at Culvers. And you are scribbling on ketchup-stained newspapers like a mad person. And other times, you are totally blank. Lost on anything witty or creative to say. And then there are the days when two amazing souls send you the ultimate content – freeing you from the dreaded writers block that has plagued you for the last three days.

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already owning his title.

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can we be best friends?

Over the weekend, another Tour-De-Bcycle was completed. And the two champions live-tweeted the entire experience. And it is my pleasure to present to you their account. Tweets, photos, hashtags and all. Congrats Laura and Brint. And thanks for the awesome piece. My blog post on one day becoming a biking cat lady was going nowhere quick…

“Legs feeling good today, about to saddle up for the #tourdebcycle

“Here we go #gamefacePhoto 1

“Stage one complete. 31 to go. #tourdebcycle #hardworkstartsnow

“Now at the station of my first b cycle adventure #fondmemories

“stage two at the nat first time bcycling was here #omg #thisissomuchfun
Photo 2

“The hospital hides her cycles #scavengerhunt #tourdebcycle

#imhungry @gordonsfreeman. This’s gonna be a long stage #tourdebcycle

“Sales on sales on sales #bcycletoyardsale

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“Stopping by to say hi to Leopold #tourdebcycle

“Lovely day for a ride past the zoo. Might break from #tourdebcycle to see Leopold the lion”
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“Off roading to the John Nolen Dr stop #mountainbcycle”

“Just racing the #tourdebcycle with @madtownbees #painface”Photo 6

“Madison bcycle Safari #babymuskrat”Photo 7

“Multitasking on the tour #tourdebcycle

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“Hot bearing sun brings us to a refreshing lunch #tourdebcycle”photo 9

Fan tweet from our friend Loren: “totally biked by that dude in tie dye on my ride in. He was flyin on his BCycle!”

“One year ago on bike 2work wk I got my first @Madison_Bcycle now here I am on le #tourdebcycle at my very first station”hoto 10

“#planning”photo 11

“Once more stage til food! #tengohambre”photo 12

“Fueling up #tastyorangesphoto 13#tourdebcycle

“Might have to spike glucose at @GreenBushBakery #livestrong”

“Swimming at the terrace via bcycles. It’s just too hot not to. Thanks for all the support and rt’s @Madison_Bcycle ! Back to the bikes”

“Drying off from the swim”

“Finding inner peace at peace park #tourdebcyclephoto 14

“Getting a blister on my finger, maybe need to cool it on the bell . @madtownbees @Madison_Bcycle ever get that problem @lancearmstrong ?”

“Who knew this one was here #someofthesearehardtofindphoto 15

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personal favorite picture. #powermove

WE FOUND THE TRIKE!!!! @Madison_Bcycle @madtownbees @ClayMatthews52 #wishyouwerehere

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“Tail wind going east this’ll be a fast stage! @madtownbees #bigtimespeed

“Cutting it close on open slots at tenney park #GetLuckyphot 18

“Stage 29!!!! We can do it @madtownbees ! #dedication

“Madison-full of bikes and gardens”photo 18

#SpeechLess #WeAreTheChampionsphoto 19

Just being rock stars after le#tourdebcycle #stillsohungry  #goodmemories photo 20

“How many of these puppies ya think would fit in the back of the #btrike?  #over1000photo 21

The most well-deserved cheese curds I’ve ever seen. Job well done, folks. Thanks for making the B-Team’s weekend and keeping us laughing and smiling. Now your Tour De Bcycle will forever live online!

Mad love, from the Madison B-Team.

PS: if this inspires you to complete your own #TourDeBcycle, know that you get a sweet free T-shirt upon completion. Details can be found here.

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Bicycling, Yoga, Cheese

I have three main passions in life: bicycling, yoga, and cheese. Although the last would be a fun post to write, I will be focusing on the first two. And if the main reason you even clicked on this was for the cheese part, then I apologize.

I believe that biking (or cycling, for you professionals) and yoga are quite similar. At least it makes sense in my mind why the yogi would gravitate towards biking and vice versa. If this was a marketing class, we would lump the yogis and the bikers into one target audience.

what I feel like while riding a bike.

what I feel like while riding a bike.

The first natural connection for me is the way yoga and biking make me feel. And it’s not just that both are great work outs, build core strength, and make me feel like my ham strings are screaming profanities at me. I’m talkin’ about a good, nostalgic, wholesome feeling. When I am on a bike or a yoga mat, I feel like a kid again. Being on a yoga mat makes me feel like I am back in a school yard on the monkey bars, and I am with my friends and we are doing flips and showing off. And I feel totally invincible, like I could never get hurt. Similarly, when I am on a bike, I feel like I am back on Lexington Terrace – a cup-de-sac street in Portland Oregon – and all my friends and I are toting Pokemon cards in zip lock baggies and meeting each other on bikes at the top of the hill to trade and then play kick-the-can until our moms yell at us to come inside for dinner. I feel free and liberated when on a bike. Free from constraints of traffic, gasoline prices, and claustrophobic two-doors. I feel equally as liberated on a yoga mat. My world is only as big as the 6 foot tall, 2 foot wide purple rubber mat in front of me, and yet nothing feels unattainable.

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On a less mushy note, both are work outs that my body can handle. I was blessed to have the knees of a 68 year old at the age of 23. And while all my friends are out training for half-marathons because apparently that becomes a trend at 21, I am icing my knee after I walk up a flight of stairs. Biking and yoga are safe places for me to push myself.

sweatyAnd then there is the heat. I really do love a dripping hot yoga class. The kind where you’ve created your own little hot tub on your mat and the mascara is dripping down your face. And thanks to it finally being summer season in Madison, I can now bring the heat to my bike rides. It’s a new sport I like to call Hot Biking. You check out a B-cycle when it is 89 degrees and the heat index is 104. You ride three blocks and feel like you’ve lost all your water weight, and its probably collected in your silver basket. And then you down an orange juice, a Gatorade, and a Starbucks Hibiscus Refresher to make up for the 750 calories you had to have just burned in the last 4 minutes.

 

You’ve probably participated in Hot Biking in the last week and didn’t even know it!

But in case you haven’t tried Hot Biking or Hot Yoga or any yoga – then Madison B-cycle has just the event for you. Next Thursday on July 26, the B-Team is gonna be hanging out with some pretty awesome yogis from The Studio and an equally awesome team from Whole Foods at our Law Park and John Nolen Station. It is right on the bike path and will take place during your nightly commute home – 4:30 to 6 PM. It will be a chance to learn some yoga poses that could really benefit you on and off the bike. It is not a class, but rather a time to get some personal instruction. And if you are a yogi, you know how valuable that one-on-one time is.B-Healthy B-Happy Hour Digital Flyer

So come be kids with us again and ride some bikes, do some yoga, and have some mock-tails. It’s a B-Healthy B-Happy Hour, and it is gonna be a pretty special evening. Who knows, maybe we can even play some kick the can before mom calls me home for dinner…

Bikes, Beverages, Bakasana. B-Healthy B-Happy Hour. See you there friends!

PS: Fromagination has some amazing cheese orphans lately. There is my cheese plug. So I didn’t totally lure you here under false pretenses.

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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.

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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…

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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.

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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…

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Beyond The Bars

Here at B-cycle, we are firm believers that sharing is caring. So we want to share all the joys of an annual membership with a special someone in exchange for the sharing of awesome photos. To kick off our summer season, we will be running a social media campaign titled…(drum roll please…)

“BEYOND THE BARS”.

BTB 1

We know you’ve been taking your B-cycle cool places. And we know you are going to keep taking it cool places. And well, we wanna know about it! It’s time to take your joy rides from the streets to the tweets. Whenever you’re cruising around, send us your Beyond the Bars photos on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or email your photos to info@madisonbcycle.com.

BTB 2Notice the composition here in our sampler photos? Show us what is beyond your B-cycles sweet red handle bars. And remember to use the hashtag #beyondthebars on both Twitter and Instagram! Not only will we be sharing your photos so you can obtain ultimate B-cycle celeb status, but we will be holding a contest for the best of the best at the end of the summer. We will make  a Facebook album and then you can vote for your favorite! Whoever takes the photo with the most “Likes” will win a free annual membership. Sounds fun, no? 

Here at B-cycle, we are about way more than bike sharing. We are about life sharing. So share with us your best #beyondthebars moments this summer. 

BTB4

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But I already own a bike…?

The most common question I get asked is “Why do you have a B-cycle membership when you already own a bike?”

Well friends, since you asked…

Avoid the skunk. Take a B-cycle.

Avoid the skunk. Take a B-cycle.

Reason #1: Fenders

My skinny little tires on my road bike probably couldn’t fit fenders even if they wanted to. The configuration of my bike is just too narrow to hold fenders. And frankly, fenders can kind of look uncool on a road bike (no offense to anyone). I personally feel my bike would lose its’ street cred if it had permanent fenders. So what do I do when it rains (like it has every other day for the past three months…)? Well, I grab my B-cycle. Fully equipped with giant fenders to keep my backside dry and clean. Too many times have I seen a poor souls with a giant mud stripe down their back and thought “If only they had taken a B-cycle instead…”.

Reason #2: Nights Out Downtown

OM NOM NOM

OM NOM NOM

My apartment is pretty centrally located, and I consider myself pretty lucky that the Plaza is basically in my backyard. Just like the cast of Cheers, The Plaza is my neighborhood bar, equipped with $2 Long Islands on Thursdays and a magical condiment known as Plaza Sauce (don’t ask, just go). But not all my friends care for the crowd at Plaza, so when they text me to meet them at Gennas, I always oblige. Until I’ve been walking for 30 minutes and I’m sweating profusely. Any time I set out on any adventure on foot, I am reminded how foreign walking is to me. I’ve saved so much time by having a bike in Madison. I can get anywhere I need to be in under 20 minutes. Madison is really big on foot. And I am able to defy all elements of time and space on a bike. But I am not about to lock up my rather costly pearly-white road bike outside a bar all night. Don’t trust myself. Don’t trust anyone else. So having a B-cycle membership eliminates this risk, saves me tons of time, and makes cross-town bar-hopping excursions rather enjoyable. So when my friends text me to tell me they went to Jordan’s Big Ten Pub instead of Genna’s AFTER I’ve already trekked there, I don’t have to curse the day they were born. I just hop on my big red bike and go. And I can make it there before the next song even comes on the karaoke machine.

Dog-Bike-BasketReason #3: The Big Silver Basket

I’d like to illustrate this point with a math equation: Toilet Paper + Iced Coffee + Computer Bag + Jimmy John’s Sandwich + Road Bike = Scraped knees, bruised elbows, bruised ego. I should have left my bike, packed up my B-cycle, and just retrieved the bike later. It would have saved me from embarrassment, public harassment, and a lot of neosporin. The silver basket can fit anything. And with the new B-Trike floating around town, set to carry up to 55 pounds – you could literally carry tiny people. Or tiny animals. Or both. The basket is so clutch. I know, I know – I could buy a cute little wicker basket to attach to the front of my road bike. But I refuse to do so for the same reason I refuse to attach fenders. I use my bike for 40% transportation and 60% street cred. Gotta keep my street cred, people.

Reason #4: Badger Games

Camp-RandallRemember that time you tried parking downtown for a Badger game and it kind of made you cry a little inside? Ya…That…

Thanks to B-cycle, you can literally park anywhere downtown, hop on the red bikes, and be to the Camp Randall station in 15 minutes flat. And as I mentioned earlier, I don’t have to worry about carting my bike around and locking it up somewhere where it could potentially be in danger (not that Badger fans ever vandalize anything on Game Day…). And B-cycles have bells. I have been known to ride my red bike a time or two down the bike path singing Sweet Caroline and ringing my bell in pure, childlike joy. Really. You gotta try it.


Reason #5: I’ve always wanted to be in a biker gang.

bicycle-gang-fixies_good-685x456A couple years ago I ventured to Indian Lake on a random Wednesday night. I was shocked at the insane amount of cars piled up along side the entire lake entrance road. Everyone had trunks popped, cold beers cracked, hearty laughs, and they all had shiny bicycles. Apparently there is a biker gang that congregates at Indian Lake. They probably ride 200 miles at probably 200 mph, and then they sit around, drink cold ones, and talk about how awesome they are and soak up eachothers’ awesomeness. Cuz they are, in fact, awesome. I’ve never wanted to be part of a bike gang so bad in my entire life. But my level of cycling isn’t quite at their caliber. Enter B-Cycle. The Biker Gang for non-super-humans AND super-humans alike. We are one on the big red bikes. All we need now is some kind of sweet hand gesture or bird-like call so we can greet our fellow gang members when we pass them on the streets of Madison.

my idols.

What I’d like to believe my friends and I look like on bikes.

Alas. My Top Five reasons why having a B-cycle membership is necessary, even if you already own a bike. And trust me. There is more where that came from.

If you have reasons of your own, please do share! We gladly welcome guest  celebrity bloggers.

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