Summer 2012 Biking Events
Wisconsin plays host to hundreds of bicycling-related events each year. Whether you’re looking for a leisurely ride with the family, a 200K race, a weeklong journey or something in between, there’s an event in the Badger State for you. Here are our picks.
Kick off the summer biking season with the fourth annual Ride the Drive, a City of Madison event with a festival-like atmosphere. The Capitol Square and John Nolen Drive are closed to cars, allowing cyclists of all ages to enjoy urban biking alongside street vendors with food and entertainment. A Northside Ride the Drive will also take place Aug. 12. This event is free and open to the public.
Head to Milwaukee for the Ride for the Arts and enjoy a fun-filled day of biking with beautiful views of Lake Michigan. Choose among the five route option ranging from 5 miles up to 75 miles. Starting at the Summer Fest grounds, this event is one for the whole family. Proceeds go to supporting the United Performing Arts Fund.
A Pedal Across Wisconsin, or PAW, event, the Capitol City Tour is new for 2012. PAW puts on several multi-day scenic Wisconsin bike tours each year, with their famous happy hours at the end of each riding day. The Capitol City Tour starts and ends in Madison, with stops in Whitewater, Janesville, New Glarus and Spring Green. Be prepared to log up to 60 miles daily. Other PAW events, including a Door County tour and a trip to an Amish community, can be found on their website.
The Trek 100 Ride for Hope, a ride to fight childhood cancer, celebrates its 23rd year this June. Taking place just 40 minutes east of Madison in Waterloo, this fun and family-friendly ride is sponsored by Trek Bikes and the MACC Fund. Choice of 19, 36, 62 or 100-mile routes.
The infamous Horribly Hilly Hundreds race at Blue Mound State Park is hailed as the “Toughest One-Day Challenge Ride in the Midwest,” and for good reason. The route traverses 10,000 feet of elevation change through Wisconsin’s driftless region. As it has become one of the most popular riding events in the state, registration took place via lottery in February, but that don’t let that stop you from heading west to see what all the commotion is about.
The Janesville Morning Rotary Pie Ride will give bike enthusiasts and pie lovers alike something to smile about. With each participant receiving a pie at the end of the ride, it’s a fun event for the whole family. Route options include 20, 50 or 100k or the 100-mile century ride. Proceeds go to scholarships for deserving students in the Janesville area.
A benefit for the Jefferson County Literacy Council, the Ride the Rock event kicks off in Fort Atkinson’s Jones Park and winds throughout beautiful southern Wisconsin. Choose among the family-friendly fun rides at 11, 20, 40 and 60 miles, or sign up for the 60-mile race.
Who wouldn’t want to experience biking, independent short films, and New Belgium beer all on the same night? The cLips of Faith event, taking place in 18 cities coast to coast, brings together all three for one awesome night. The Madison event, which benefits the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin, takes place at Olin Park. Food vendors will be selling local eats too — as if it couldn’t get any better.
June 21–July 1
The Tour of America’s Dairyland is just that — an 11-stage race circuit that starts in Shorewood on June 21 and heads to a different city each day until the culminating race July 1 in Madison. Put on by the Midwest Cycling Series, this week-long event is called the “largest competitive race in the U.S.” Check the website for more information on dates and locations.
Most bicycle rides and races offer the traditional pasta or chili feast after a long day of cycling, but not the Brookwood Bicycle Tour. Expect a delicious pig roast at the finish line upon completion of this event, which benefits the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Wisconsin. Choose one of six routes between 8 and 100 miles in the beautiful Southern Kettle Moraine region of the state.
A multi-day touring event that will take you from La Crosse to Milwaukee, the Bike the Blast Tour is a fun yet challenging ride that will have you pedaling 225 miles after the five days are up. Stops in Sparta, Reedsburg, Prairie du Sac and Lake Mills before the finish line in Milwaukee make for a scenic route that is sure to wow you.
Help out The Green County Humane society and join the Pedal for Paws ride in New Glarus. All funds go to helping a furry friend in need, making this the purrfect event for the animal-loving bike enthusiast. Route options of 25, 45 or 65 miles.
Head on up to the land of the beloved Green Bay Packers for the Titletown Bike Tour and support the Breast Cancer Family Foundation. Choose among routes ranging from 15 to 100k at this family-friendly event complete with treats, entertainment and activities for all ages.
This summer marks ride No. 10 of ACT: The Wisconsin AIDS Ride, a 300-mile long, fully-supported touring event that raises money for the AIDS Network. Though the ride can be grueling, this event has built a reputation on incorporating fun and community-building themes throughout the four day ride. Look for appearances of Otis the Octopus and his inflatable friends to encourage you along the route. And if pedaling 300 miles is not your strength, you can still participate and help a great cause by becoming a crew member — the “backbone of the entire ACT community.” The event starts and ends in Madison.
Augist 6–September 24
We Are All Mechanics, a pair of female cyclists who host bike maintenance classes for their fellow lady riders, host Mondays Around Monona in Madison every Monday in August and September. The group meets at 6:30 p.m. at the intersection of the Capital City Trail and South Fair Oaks Avenue. The ride is easy, taking one hour to bike twelve miles. Men are encouraged to participate too!
With six different routes to choose from — ranging from 50k to 300k — the Dairyland Dare event has something to fit all skill levels, from the bike race newbies to the seasoned veterans. The race starts in Dodgeville and winds through scenic central Wisconsin.
Young athletes can test their endurance at the annual Oregon Kids Triathlon. With an emphasis on good health and confidence over competition, this event allows kids ages 5-17 to swim, bike and run with their peers just like the traditional triathlon, but with heavily scaled back distances. Participation is based on six age groups to ensure we don’t have 5-year-olds running alongside teenage track stars.
Circumnavigate the largest inland lake in the state via bicycle at the Race the Lake event in Fond du Lac. This one-day road race has become quite popular in its young history — this year marks the fifth anniversary of the 90-mile race around Lake Winnebago. More than $11,000 in prize money is up for grabs, and participants enjoy an ice bath, massage and some beer after the race. Midwest Sports Events hosts the race.
With easy mileage and chocolate-filled rest stops, who could say no to the Chocolate Chase ride? Starting at Pioneer Park in Middleton, this fun and family-friendly event benefits TEAMSurvivor Madison, a non-profit that provides fitness activities and events that support women with any cancer diagnosis.
The Aptalis CF Cycle for Life event is back in Middleton for 2012. Choose between two scenic rural routes of 25 or 50 miles. The Cycle for Life is a nationwide event, with the Middleton race supporting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s Madison chapter. Participation is limited to those 18 and older.
For a complete list of biking events and races in Wisconsin, check out the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin at bfw.org, the Wisconsin Cycling Association at wicycling.org, and WISport at wisport.org. You can also pick up a copy of the Bike Fed’s 2012 Ride Guide at a local bike shop.