Tag Archives: Wisconsin

Brunch on Bikes!

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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.

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

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Truffle quiche and radish salad

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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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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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