Ride the Drive opens downtown streets to Madison’s biking community

Ride the Drive will close several downtown streets Sunday

Madison drivers may have had a hard time getting around downtown Sunday, but many bikers and pedestrians didn’t mind at all.

Madison Parks’ seventh annual Ride the Drive marked the second day of Bike Week, closing downtown roads to create a 5-mile car-free route for bicyclists, rollerbladers, strollers and more.

“I think it’s incredible that we can actually go on the streets that are typically closed to pedestrians,” said Madison Parks Public Information Official Ann Shea. “John Nolan Drive is awesome, you get the view of the lake, you get the view of the capitol and you’re right in the middle of the street whether you’re pedaling, walking or strolling.”

The event had four villages staged throughout the course, each with food and activities. The capital square featured live music all afternoon.

“It’s great to be part of the Madison community. There are so many great things that happen downtown and this is just another one that showcases our beautiful, gorgeous downtown,” said Shea.

Fourth-grader Aviva Pfeiffer and her mother have been participating in the event for years.

“When you bike on the streets on a normal day there are cars and you have to stop all the time, but here you don’t have to,” said Aviva. “You can just keep going and there are different things you can do, and it’s just super fun.”

Phyl Erickson was happy to share the day biking with her daughter and grandkids. She said the event was fitting for Madison.

“I think that everybody is so willing to watch out for bikers and let them ride their bike and there’s so many bike paths it’d be crazy to not be a biking community,” said Erickson.

Shea agreed the event highlights the city’s cycling community.

“We’ve got fabulous bike paths and bike trails, we’re really a bike-friendly community and this just shows it.”

Bike Week events continue this week and more information can be found by visiting http://wisconsinbikefed.org/events/bike-week/ .