Next week, May 14-18, is Milwaukee's Bike to Work Week, a week-long challenge coordinated by the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin to encourage the city's residents and neighbors to try ditching a couple of wheels for their daily commute.
There are a lot of perceived challenges to taking a bicycle to work, but Bike to Work Week gives you a free chance to get those kinks sorted out. Try to figure out how much clothing to wear, familiarize yourself with the off-street paths and on-street bike lanes, and maybe even learn how to change a flat.
The great part about Milwaukee's bicycling community is that many cyclists are eager to see more people on the road and are quick to offer help and suggestions. That's one reason why Evan Pack, along with friend Dan Dreke, started Vulture Space, 651 N. Plankinton Ave., in The Shops of Grand Avenue.
Vulture Space is the Milwaukee Community Bicycle Project's do-it-yourself workshop. It is a non-profit organization that provides bike stands and tools to fix, maintain and build bicycles.
"I've been on a lot of bike trips and I'm always surprised to see how many people come out to offer their help," said Pack. "I spent some time at Plan B, a New Orleans bike collective, that taught me a lot about maintenance as well as the business side, and I thought Milwaukee could use something like this."
If you find yourself in need of a quick repair or adjustment, volunteers and maintenance books are on hand to assist cyclists in diagnosing the problem. If a component is broken, used parts can be purchased for a low cost. If you need help outside of regular shop hours, a 24-hour vending machine will be set up, giving access to inner tubes, patch kits and tire levers.
Pack plans to eventually provide bike rentals, as well.
Vulture Space will also offer Milwaukee's first valet-style bike parking. "For a suggested donation, downtown commuters can drop their bikes at Vulture Space to be housed out of the elements and securely within the shop until the end of the day."
Additionally, Pack is teaming up with local businesses, such as Sobelman's, The East Side Grill, Transfer Pizzeria and Truly Spoken Cycles, to add extra benefits for membership, which starts at $20 a year.
Vulture Space has not officially opened yet – Pack says this should happen "within the next day or two" – but if you are interested in learning more about the project, or have a bicycle for donation, they will be volunteering throughout Bike to Work Week at commuter stations at Stone Creek Coffee (2266 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.) in Bay View and Juneau Park (801 N. Lincoln Memorial Dr.) in East Town.
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Jason McDowell
Published Nov. 25, 2013
The Santa Rampage is an annual event in Milwaukee that has reached cult-status, featuring hundreds of people in Santa suits - as well as a wide swath of various holiday-themed costumes - riding their bicycles through the city. The occasion is so beloved that even the dodgy weather of the season typically does not detract from the merriment or the number of riders who participate in these festivities.
Published Oct. 23, 2013
"Frankenstein" features three performers who are charged with a task: "make monster." Bound in elaborate Edwardian costumes, the trio embarks on a journey to construct Dr. Frankenstein's laboratory while they struggle and battle through acrobatic feats." What better way to enjoy the Halloween spirit?
Published Sept. 4, 2013
A former phone sex operator in Milwaukee recalls her time in the business in this eye-opening interview.
Published Aug. 11, 2013
New Belgium is back with the Clips Beer and Film Tour, a "beer-toting, film-traveling, nonprofit-benefiting show." Since its inception Clips has raised more than $200,000 for nonprofit organizations. This year it is supporting the Wisconsin Bike Fed with 100 percent of the profits from beer sales.
Published Aug. 11, 2013
Frank Ortlieb at Big Dogg Bakery has been baking homemade, natural, healthy dog treats on-site in Bay View for about nine months. "Dogs seem to have more dietary restrictions than people, as well as the normal people-type allergies," he told OnMilwaukee.com.
Published July 18, 2013
There is always an internal debate about how early one needs to arrive at a show, particularly when the opening act is a mystery. Choose incorrectly and you're stuck impulsively checking Twitter all night, sucking down cocktails too quickly, and waiting impatiently for the opening act to utter those magic words, "This is our last song." Luckily the opening band was well worth the gamble. It only took a few chords before the conversations quieted and many heads turned. This, everyone's eyes seemed to agree, was going to be a good night.
Published May 8, 2013
Don't feel like you need to ditch your car. The overall goal is participation. Don't feel bad if you can't ride all seven days, but don't give up after only one. Take small steps towards enjoying riding a bike. If you find a problem, ask around for a solution; odds are someone has already figured it out. Bike to Work Week may not convert you to a spandex-loving gear head, but it might provide you with a new, fun weekly goal.
Published May 3, 2013
The frame starts out as one would expect, with 4130 chromoly tubing in "a traditional double triangle design with a horizontal top tube, aero profile fork and horizontal dropouts to easily accommodate a singlespeed, fixed, or internal gear hub." But here is where it gets interesting. "The Quiver also ships with our proprietary derailleur hanger and removable cable stops so it can be built up as a geared road bike with front and rear derailleurs."
Published March 22, 2013
Known for their tin can microphone, shiny tuba, eclectic instrumentation--which ranges from a typewriter to a customized whirring vibraphone--and, most importantly, lead singer Daniel Bullock's thoughtful, incisive lyrics. The Scarring Party's songs have roots in the early days of radio jazz, but the tone is more foreboding, as if one was being stalked by guard dogs in a French walled city while on the way to a burlesque show in Hell. Equal parts exciting, unnerving, and devious.
Published Jan. 24, 2013
The Delphines have a warm, fuzzy carefree sound. It's sonically blissful while lyrically dark. It drips with that sort of conflicted teenage nostalgia, the feeling of having the whole world waiting for you, while still being internally hesitant and confused. It's all pumped into a single microphone and done in a single take. But despite that youthful glow, the group is knit together, the foundation is strong, and the music crackles with a tight energy.