It’s Bike To Work week in Milwaukee and consequently the city is getting in gear with numerous events and opportunities to support the mission of getting more folks on two wheels instead of four.
Despite the rain earlier in the week, Bike To Work Week has already inspired many Milwaukeeans to take their bicycles to work instead of their cars, even if only for one day.
"I said I would do it once this week, and I did," says Adam Fritz, who cycled from Bay View to his Downtown office. "I’m going to try to do it again next week."
Bike To Work Week also celebrates 24 miles of bike lanes have been added all across the city in the last year.
Highlights of the week’s celebration include a bike stop/commuter station at The Fifth Ward Foundry, 170 S. 1st St., where riders can receive free Colectivo coffee, safety checks, pastries and stickers from The Bike Collective from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. through Friday, May 16.
The Urban Ecology Center, 3700 W. Pierce St., will offer free bacon on the Hank Aaron State Trail near the center from 7:30 to 9 a.m. on Friday.
Also on Friday, Art for Bike’s Sake, a fundraiser for Vulture Space, will take place from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Anodyne Coffee, 224 W. Bruce St.
Art for Bike's Sake is a celebration of Bike to Work Week and Vulture Space, a non-profit, DIY bike shop located in Downtown Milwaukee at 615 N. Plankinton Ave.
The event will sell and auction off bicycle-themed artwork from local and nationally recognized artists. Creations will include inner tube jewelry, custom designed cycling bags, photographs, repurposed bike part sculptures, paintings, furniture, clothing and more.
Featured artists include Troy DiBurgo, Pippin Frisbie-Calder, James White, Kristin Schurk, Adam Calteux, Jeff Klugiewicz, Jon Bartels, Pickle, Jackie Stephan, Nick Costanzo, Troy Kowalski, Darryl Workman, Carol Alexander, Martina Patterson, Peter DiAntoni, Joe Burge, Rachel Hughes, Michael Hautanen and Bela Roongta.
All of the artists will donate a portion of their sales to Vulture Space. After the event, some of the art will be on display at VIA Downer, 2625 N. Downer Ave., through the Downer Classic that takes place on Saturday, June 29.
Because of the bike/art theme, Roongta says this is a perfect fit for her art and business, belabela. Some of her henna-inspired patterns incorporate bicycles.
"I have been selling to bikers for years at the Downer and Tosa bike races and on my website. This year we will also sell at the races in Shorewood," says Roongta. "Also, as an artist I am excited to have the opportunity to showcase my art."
During the event, Milwaukee’s Paul Finger will DJ and Xav Leplae and Celeste will serve as VJs.
Food will be available from Transfer Pizzeria Cafe as will $2 cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon.
Other sponsors of Art for Bike’s Sake include The Level Below, The Wisconsin Bike Fed, Hupy and Abraham, Banjo Brothers, Fyxation and MKEBKE.
The event will also feature a giant inner tube for people to guess its weight.
"The winner will receive a fitting prize package," says Evan Pack, founding director of the Milwaukee Community Bicycle Project/Vulture Space.
Vulture Space’s mission is simply "to get Milwaukee on bikes." The Downtown space provides tools, books and knowledgable bike mechanics to help riders fix and maintain their bikes.
All of the mechanics are volunteers and it is free for riders to access the space and resources. Vulture Space is open Wednesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m.
This is the first year of the Art for Bike’s Sake show, but Pack hopes it won’t be the last.
"The idea of Art for Bike's Sake is to excite people to get on bicycles," says Pack. "Let’s change the perceptions of bicycles. A bicycle is not simply a tool for exercise. It is not only a mode of transportation. And it most certainly isn't only for children. Cycling is an all encompassing lifestyle."
A dance will take place at Cocoon Room following the event.
For a list of all of the commuter stations/bike-related events in Milwaukee this week go here.
Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.
Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.