Monona, Wis., introduces Year of the Bike

Originally posted by Nicole Poley for The Herald-Independent

Following the success of the Year of Water and the Year of the Lakes, Monona Mayor Bob Miller on Monday declared 2015 as the Year of the Bike in the city.

Maggie Grabow

The vision began, Miller said, when he met with Maggie Grabow from the Global Health Institute at University of Wiscosnin-Madison. Grabow has done an extensive amount of research on the benefits of biking.

“She really got me excited about the value, from a health standpoint, of biking within a five-mile radius of your home,” Miller said.

Year of the Bike plans will include rewards and incentives for bike riding, as well as events such as Bike to School Day, Monona Bike to Work Day, the Loop the Lake Ride and other awareness campaigns.

“I’m really amazed at the number of people I see out on bike trails, so now it’s just about how we can increase awareness,” said Jake Anderson, director of Monona Parks and Recreation Department.

The Parks and Recreation Department is taking a closer look at the bike-ability of Monona, hoping to make the city as bike friendly as possible. The updates for Schluter Park will include bike-friendly additions, such as a water bottle filling station and a bike repair rack.

Plans are also in the works to hold a B-Cycle demonstration to explore community interest in bringing a B-Cycle station, which have become popular in Madison, to Monona. B-cycle is an urban bike sharing program that allows people to rent bikes. The bikes have adjustable seats for people of all sizes, as well as a basket for easy carrying.

“Monona is only three and one half square miles, so why not use bikes as our primary mode?” Miller said.

Miller hopes that Monona residents will get involved in the National Bike Challenge, tracking how many miles they’ve logged. He also hopes to increase bike registration by 25 percent. Miller and Anderson said the proof of a successful Year of the Bike would lie, of course, simply in residents biking – to work, to local events and more.