My bratcake was topped with Wisconsin maple syrup.
It's the midpoint of Bike to Work Week in Madison, and this morning offered "bratcakes on the bike path" for riders seeking some extra fuel. Hundreds of happy bicycle commuters stopped on the Capital City Trail just west of Monona Terrace to enjoy fresh grilled bratwurst wrapped in pancakes and, in my case, topped with Wisconsin maple syrup.
It's one of many events this week to get folks back on their bikes after a long, cold winter. And it seems to be working. The Wisconsin Bike Fed is doing counts at several spots around town this week, but my informal observation is "Holy cow! There seem to be more bikers than ever!"
Whether it's a traffic jam at the lights on Monroe and Regent or a line waiting to get on the "bike-a-vator" at Monona Terrace, numbers sure seem to me to be way up.
There's some objective data to back me up. A new U.S. Census Bureau report found Madison trailing only Portland (damn Portland!) in the percentage of commuters getting to work by bike. Madison led the nation in the first week of the National Bike Challenge where riders record the number of miles they bike each day. And Wisconsin was just ranked (PDF) the third best biking state in the nation for 2014 by the League of American Bicyclists.
If you missed your protein this morning never fear. From 7-8:30 a.m. Thursday there will be bacon (and vegetarian alternatives) on the bike path at the same location!
Dave Cieslewicz is the executive director of the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin.