Filed under: Commuting, DRBC, Events, Lifestyle, Outreach
Seventh annual Ride for Sight.
Non competitive rides from 12km to 100km.
Includes socks or T-shirt, raffle/door prizes , snacks and a lunch
August 9, 2014
Starts at the Trail parking lot on County B
For full details check out the Lion’s website
Guest post by James Longhurst
There’s a bicycle renaissance in America right now, featuring bike share programs in major cities, more bike lanes, increasing numbers of commuters, and new advocacy groups injecting much-needed energy into long-established discussions of bicycles and their place on the road. This 21st century bike boom has also attracted the attention of all kinds of academics and scholars in urban design, politics, history and the culture of bicycling. Many of the books and articles these scholars produce are only read by a small audience of academics; they are fairly arcane and impenetrable for the general public. But a small number of these projects attempt to take scholarly interests and communicate them in an interesting and approachable way.
On March 27, the authors of one of these new books on the history of bicycling came to La Crosse, and presented their research to a large audience from the campus and the community. Nicholas Hoffman and Jesse J. Gant are the authors of Wheel Fever: How Wisconsin Became a Great Bicycling State, out from the Wisconsin Historical Society Press in 2013. Hoffman is Chief Curator at the History Museum at the Castle in Appleton, Wisconsin; Gant is a Ph.D. candidate in history at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and currently on a research fellowship at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington D.C.
Their book, Wheel Fever argues that the conflict over bicycling in the 1890s — in which the social and cultural symbolism of bicycling was constantly contested between middle-class men, adventurous women, aspiring African Americans, and practically-minded workers — is a means of understanding why riding a bike is strangely politicized even today. As the authors put it, riding a bike has been political from the start: the bicycle “has been defined by a rich and often impassioned debate over who should be allowed to ride, where they could ride, and even what they could wear.” The authors argue that there are two forces – one group who sees the bicycle as a threat to traditional social order; and another group who see “democratic possibilities” through which the bicycle might assist in remaking society for the better.
Gant and Hoffman’s research is an example of social history, sometimes referred to as “history from the bottom up.” These are the stories of how everyday people – not just leaders and rulers – experienced the events of history and shaped their own lives. It’s not a new approach; historians have been working on these sorts of projects for more than four decades. But this approach might be new to non-historians, and so the public talk on the UW-L campus was an opportunity to bring two worlds together.
This mix of the popular and scholarly is most obvious in Chapter 5, “The Troubled Beginnings of Wheel Fever.” This chapter puts Wisconsin bicycling into context with the racial ideology of the 1890s, connecting bicycle history to prominent scholarly works. This kind of approach has already transformed our understanding of the “White City” at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. The chapter concludes that “In the end, the exclusionary culture of the early 1890s, which reached a peak during the 1893 World’s Fair, put on full display the cultural limitations that would plague early cycling in the Badger State.” It would be easy to celebrate the positive legacies of bicycling in the Wisconsin; but while Wheel Fever does that, it also addresses the complexities and contradictions of race, class, and gender even when in the pursuit of the history of a “great bicycling state.”
The event on March 27 was meant to bring together the popular and the scholarly on the subject of the bicycle – with support from a variety of academic departments on campus, as well as the Wisconsin Bike Federation, and historic bicycle displays from the La Crosse Historical Society, the event brought students from economics, history and physical education together with cyclists and bike advocates from the community. With a lively Q & A, book signing and reception, it was an excellent way to spend a rainy night, and shows a building interest in cycling and its scholarship in the La Crosse community.
Missed the event? You can hear Gant and Hoffman interviewed on Wisconsin Public Radio’s Newsmaker program, with discussion of La Crosse bike history, at http://www.wpr.org/listen/559351
— guest post by James Longhurst, Associate Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse
Sidebar: Scholarly books about bicycling. From different academic disciplines, these are books meant to advance knowledge about the bicycle’s past and present, and are not as widely read as books written for a popular audience by journalists or bicycle advocates.
Luis A. Vivanco, Reconsidering the Bicycle: An Anthropological Perspective on a New (Old) Thing, Routledge, 2013.
Written for the college classroom; includes both historical and current observations on the cultural meaning of bicycles and their riders.
Glen Norcliffe, Ride to Modernity: The Bicycle in Canada, 1869-1900, University of Toronto Press, 2001.
The bicycle as a symbol of “modernity” and mass consumer culture in the late 19th century.
Christopher Armstrong, H. V. Nelles, The Revenge of the Methodist Bicycle Company: Sunday Streetcars and Municipal Reform in Toronto, 1888 – 1897, Oxford University Press, 2010.
An enjoyable but complicated story of urban politics, corruption and transportation policy.
Dave Horton, Paul Rosen and Peter Cox, eds., Cycling and Society, Farnham, UK: Ashgate, 2007.
Several different approaches to understanding cycling from the perspective of European scholars, especially sociologists.
John Pucher and Ralph Buehler, eds., City Cycling, Boston: MIT Press, 2012.
Collection of articles bringing data-driven scholarship to understanding bicycle policy internationally.
Wiebe Bijker, Of Bicycles, Bakelites, and Bulbs: Toward a Theory of Sociotechnical Change, Cambridge: MIT Press, 1995.
Using the technological development of the bicycle as a case study in what was known as the “social construction of technology” or SCOT debate in the history of technology.
Filed under: Advocacy, Commuting, Events, How To, Outreach, Rides
The National Bike Challenge needs your miles. Commuting or even better, join your local peloton (your friends and neighbors who you love to ride with) and log some fun miles to the local park, trail ride or if you are me, my amazing local brewery.
The National Bike Challenge pits all the states in the US against each other in a challenge to ride the most collective miles. Last year Wisconsin was Third in the Nation! 4455 riders rode 2,616,314 miles (according to Endomondo). That number is hard to imagine. I logged 4814 miles last summer just riding around town (I didn’t do any big rides last year). I missed the Platinum level by 186 miles. Gonna have to do the Tour de Pearl a couple more times this year…bummer
So, how do you do it? Follow these directions:
-Go to the National Bike Challenge site click on this banner.
-Log in using Facebook or your Endomondo login or create a new account
(I had an Endomondo account from last year, so I used it)
-Once you log in, you get three banners. Click the middle one to log your miles.
You can log miles by syncing your Endomondo App on your smartphone or just typing them in on the above webpage clicking the LOG MILES + .
That’s it. go to the website, sign in, log miles.
If you don’t know how far you are riding, try using Google maps. You can set your start and stop point, change the transportation option to bicycle.
Quick logging tip: Use the same route for your regular trips, add manually for others.
Using routes makes logging easy so you don’t have to sign on everyday.
If you are joining the challenge late, backfilling is OK. Pick the days on the calendar and fill in your milage.
Looking forward to seeing you out there.
Michael Baker, President
Driftless Region Bicycle Coalition
Filed under: Advocacy, Commuting, DRBC, Education, Events, How To, Lifestyle, Outreach
Bike to Work Week is May 8 through the 16th in the La Crosse area this year.
It is your excuse to try bicycle commuting.
We have lots of fun (and free!) things to do this week to encourage everyone to give it a try. If you can only manage National Bike to Work Day on Friday, awesome, but you will miss some neat stuff we planned for you this year!
The quick list of events in the Driftless Region:
Thurs-La Crosse-Hamilton School Bike Rodeo-5-6:30PM
Friday-Repair Cafe’ will be at Cameron Park during the Farmers Market for quick (free labor) bike tune-ups.
Sat thru Fri- Bike to Coffee (FREE COFFEE!)
Sat-La Crosse-Vintage Ride-Wine Guyz-4PPM Bring your old single, 3, 10 or 12 speed bikes for ride.
Sat & Sun-Bike to Worship
Sun-La Crosse- Mother of all Bike Rides-Riverside Park, International Gardens-9AM Round trip ride to Onalaska for a light breakfast.
Mon- Two Group rides: Onalaska-Blue Heron Bike Shop-6PM and at La Crescent-Old Hickory Park-6:30PM
Tue-Onalaska-Breakfast at ‘The Y’ 6:30-8AM
Tue-South Side Library-Bike Decorating and Parade-4PM
Wed-La Crosse-Breakfast at ‘The Y’ 6:30-8AM
Wed-‘Free Wheelin’ Wednsday’ at the Pearl Street Brewery (FREE BEER!)-4 til 8PM
Thurs-Tour de Java morning ride (meet at Moka)-6AM
Thurs-Ride with Cops Family Ride-Cameron Park-6PM
Thurs-La Crosse- ‘The Y’-(18+) Go By Bike Class-6:30PM
Fri-Cameron Park-Closing Ceremony-5-7PM Music provided by ‘Grand Picnic’
Sat-Westby-Syttende Mai Tour-8AM
Sat-Onalaska-‘The Y’ Family Bike Class, ages 9+ with parent-10AM
Sat-La Crescent-Apple Blossom Bike Tour
Saturday, May 31-La Crosse-‘The Y’ Family Bike class, ages 9+ with parent-10AM
There are several pdf’s to print out so you don’t miss a thing!
Send questions to:
Why park the car at home?
I get asked, “Why would I want to ride my bike to work? I have a car?” I query back, “Would you like to have more money in your pocket?” “Would you like to feel happier when you arrive at your destination?” “How about getting the great parking spots near the door?” Bike to Work Week is there to help you have an excuse to try it out.
-The average cost of a car in the US is almost $10,000 a year! Think of having an extra $190 ‘every week’ in your pocket! Simple, use another method of transporting yourself. Riding a bike is fast and efficient transportation.
-Even a short 1 or 2 mile ride does wonders for your health. Gets your blood moving and fresh air in your lungs. When you arrive and park the bike (near the door!), your body has the energy rolling and ready to use.
-Bike racks are usually closest to the doors just about everywhere. I park my bike in the garage at work, even the boss doesn’t get to park his private car in the garage.
-When you get the question on why you rode your bike, just say, “It’s Bike to Work Week” . Then when you decide to keep riding, let them know you found riding to work better that week and decided to keep doing it.
You have the perfect excuse to try riding to work.
You have a reason to do it ($$).
You have someone who will help you (us at DRBC).
Join us. Ride to work during this years Bike to Work Week.
Looking forward to seeing you at the events,
President, Driftless Region Bicycle Coalition
I would like to add extra special thanks to the DRBC BTWW Committee, everyone really did a great job! Thank you.