Wisconsin Bike Week Is Gonna Be Off the Chain

June 4–11 will be a wheelie good time to get out your cycle

Pan Thao, photos by Nick Meyer

With Wisconsin as the ninth-most bicycle-friendly state in the nation and Eau Claire as one of the state’s top bicycle-friendly communities, it’s no surprise that Wisconsin Bike Week is a big deal in the Chippewa Valley. This year, Wisconsin Bike Week runs June 4-11, and local organizers are preparing to get you excited about everything cycling-related.

Jeremy Gragert, the northwest ambassador for the Wisconsin Bike Fed, and Aaron Salmon, chairman of the Eau Claire Bike/Pedestrian Advisory Commission and board member of the Chippewa Valley Transit Alliance, have been coordinating activities and spreading the word about Wisconsin Bike Week, which features events across the state in Milwaukee, Madison, La Crosse, and right here in Eau Claire.

“It’s a chance to celebrate all things bicycling,” Salmon said. “This week will be a great opportunity to shine a light on the progress our city has made towards being a bike-friendly community and highlight the various public and private partners in the community that are working to build on that progress.”

Biking culture has evolved in the Valley as bicyclists come together to build a sense of belonging in this community, and as the city responds to the desires for safe and efficient routes on trails and streets. For Gragert and Salmon, biking culture is a part of everyday life.
“It means recognizing there is virtually no ceiling to the benefits of biking,” Salmon said. “A bike-friendly community is a place where roads are safe and accessible for all – and when you ride your bike around your community, you feel connected to it in a way you just can’t get in a car.”

Gragert points out that not only is it about transportation, but bicycling also provides great recreation along with community building and more livable neighborhoods. Right here in the Valley, bicyclists have been working together with public and private partners to build bike culture and provide better services (such as bike valets), rides (the ValleyCat bike race), and education (the Chippewa Valley Bike Map).

Whether you’re looking to become an environmental crusader or just to use your free gym on wheels to see the Valley’s spectacular views, one thing is for sure: There’s never been a better time to jump on the bandwagon (or better yet, the bike) and celebrate Wisconsin Bike Week with all its different activities, including family fun rides, hangouts, and special deals.

As Gragert said, “The goal is to get more butts on bikes. Bicycling is for everyone. Bicycling is safe, empowering, practical, fun, and environmentally responsible.” So come experience the camaraderie of our biking community and find something for everyone!

Learn more at bikeweek.wisconsinbikefed.org.

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