Pedal power shines in Madison

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Hans Noeldner (front left), Beth Campbell (partially hidden), and Michael Vickerman talked about peak oil and renewable energy with riders who stopped at the table of the Madison Peak Oil Group.

From an editorial in the Wisconsin State Journal:

Ride on, Madison, ride on.

In what seems destined to become a summertime favorite, the second Ride the Drive event along John Nolen Drive on Sunday was a smashing success.

People on bicycles of all sizes and shapes - and people of all sizes and shapes, for that matter - enjoyed a leisurely day on what normally is a fast-paced freeway-like environment on some of Madison's most busy streets.

For this one day, relative calm and quiet prevailed in the heart of Madison instead of the usual rush-rush, get-me-there-fast environment that can typify the Downtown streets.

Organizers estimated 30,000 riders were on John Nolen and nearby streets for the free event. That's cool. And better yet, Ride the Drive didn't cost city taxpayers a dime. The $40,000 in expenses were all covered by private donations and sponsorships.

Trek Bicycle, an internationally-known company based in Waterloo, about 30 miles northeast of Madison, carried much of the financial burden. The company also provided employees to work with the city parks staff in organizing and carrying out the event.

Mayor Dave Cieslewicz said many participants, especially families, sought out Ride the Drive as a one-day respite from trying times and tight budgets.

"It was really nice, especially for young families," he said. "We saw so many kids out there. It was a great way for families to enjoy a couple hours together in the city, and it was free for them. It just fit the bill for a lot of people."