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 July 21, 2014
The strongest protection you have against bike theft is the perceived difficulty of what it would take to actually acquire your bike. Every lock can be cut, but in a row of bikes, you want to make sure yours looks the most annoying to acquire.
Published May 13, 2014
Wednesday, Wednesday, WEDNESDAY marks the middle of Bike to Work Week, and what better way to roll over the hump with a little competition, a friendly wager, and some additional cash for a local non-profit? The competition? A race between David Hobbs--a driver in the Indianapolis 500 and owner of David Hobbs Honda - and Ward Fowler, founding partner of the bicycle-friendly Colectivo Coffee.
Published May 2, 2014
Until now the "Fake A$$ Rappers" series of illustrations has only been shown for limited runs throughout Milwaukee. However, since the project has grown in scope, a new medium was necessary. "The book seemed like the best venue for them, especially since I'm adding so much more content 'about' the rappers," says artist Kristopher "Kpolly" Pollard. "Their albums, songs and sample lyrics. It'll be a lot of fun."
Published April 21, 2014
As I clicked my gears into lower and lower speeds, I found myself desperate for just one more cog in back. Just a few more teeth that wouldn't ever come. So I resigned myself to what I had, reached into my back pocket, pulled out a peanut butter energy bar and concentrated on spinning and eating. My mind alternated between stopping and walking and continuing to push through...
Published April 21, 2014
Struggling with poverty is a difficult challenge, especially when children are relying on you to provide them with a stable, healthy life. But helping families in need can be as easy as putting one foot in front of the other.
Published Jan. 23, 2014
Former Milwaukeeans Brian Dillman and Eric Kremin were featured in GQ this month for their tenacity in the sport of bike polo. In 2010, with the help of their original teammate Joe Burge, the team took the World Championships. In 2012 they took the North American Championship, and in 2013, after a move to San Francisco and the acquisition of new teammate Joey Halverson, they took both.
Published Jan. 8, 2014
There is a belief that making small, incremental changes is the best way to go about changing your life. This is why big goals like exercising and eating right fail so often. While always a good idea they're just too disruptive to handle with ease. But what about learning a new language? That may also sound like "too disruptive" of an idea. Learning a language is complex, time-consuming, and getting the right software is expensive, but in the past few years a solid group of apps have risen to the challenge of making language learning easy, fun and for the most part, free.
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.