Chapter 3: Laying down the course
June 27th 11 am 36 bikes built
Madison, Wisconsin is a beautiful town. Home to the state’s capital as well as its major university, Madison has a culture and vibe all its own. The capital building is the crown jewel of the downtown which sits on an isthmus between two large bodies of water. For all of its aesthetic pleasantries, the downtown is one of the greatest traffic conundrums of all time. Two-ways become one-ways without warning, traffic flows in a continuous circle and construction and re-construction plods along endlessly. Located a couple of blocks south of this nonsense is the Monona Terrace, where we will be starting our ride.
Naturally we want to ride around the capital building, being the center of government and thus driving home the political implications of our environmental message. The thing about that is we would have to spill out onto a US highway to get to where we’re holding the kickball tournament that we’re commuting to. The cops were clear from the get-go that this was no-go so we decided to head down a different street. That’s how I met the Shriners.
It turns out the Shriners have a regional meeting scheduled in Madison the same time as Trek World and have scheduled a parade at the same time as my ride. Visions the PR fallout that would result from camels, mini-cars, and bicycles piling up in front of the state capital flashed in my head so I hit the phones to appeal to the more charitable side of the Shriners (being a charitable organization I figured this would be cake). After a couple of conversations we settled on several donated bikes in exchange for free passage for the 1000 bikes before their parade kicked off. Kind of felt like a ransom payment but no time for that, I had to get crackin’ on getting our parade permit from the city. If Trek had this many squeaky wheels that needed greasing we’d be out of business. Hey, at least it’s not Chicago.