Read about one of our long-time volunteers for Ride the Drive -
Jody Medeke has been a volunteer for Ride the Drive since 2010. It was in her first year that she realized how committed the city was to being a top ranked city for cycling.
“It got me excited to help support the city in that effort,” Jody said.
Jody continues to volunteer because it is such a diverse event, bringing together all member of the community.
“There were biking clubs with their road bikes in full gear. There were families with kids trying their own “big kid” bikes for the first time. There were people in crazy fun costumes and unique bikesâ€¦skateboards, roller skates, and wheelchairs! That atmosphere is what keeps me coming back as a volunteer!”
Jody is a fair-weather biker, so it was difficult for her to get out this past winter. But that didn’t stop her from taking advantage of our wonderful bike paths.
“I didn’t get out much this winter. Although I ran on the bike paths all winter since the paths are so well maintained by the city (thanks Madison!). That is the beauty of the paths; they are used for biking, walking the dog, runners, etc, etc!”
Biking was also a way for Jody to get into shape.
“Biking was my catalyst back into fitness several years ago and I loved that biking was an activity that was relatively easy to get into. I was really out of shape when I started and all I needed was basic clothes and my trusty old Trek. Biking really is an activity for everyone and a great way to keep active.”
Biking is a way to engage in the community and strengthen the bonds of its members.
“Last spring I witnessed an accident along the Capital City Trail. A woman got distracted talking with her husband and went off the path, flipping her bike. She was knocked unconscious. I called 911. Every single person biking or walking along that path during that time stopped to help. The couple was from out of town and the husband said to me later that they had come to Madison specifically to bike because they had heard it was a great biking city.”
Like many others, Jody vividly remembers the year, which happens to be her first year volunteering, that Lance Armstrong led the ride.
“I will never forget looking up that street and seeing the thousands of bikers following him and filling up State Street.”
Travis Reinhart first volunteered for Ride the Drive back in 2010, after reading about the event in the Madison Parks’ newsletter. He lived in Madison just a few years and enjoyed the expansive bike paths in the city before volunteering for the event.
“I thought how cool it was to close down the roads and open it only to bikes and other pedestrians. Ride the Drive is unique and something that most cities do not offer. Ride the Drive is not only about biking but also uniting the community while promoting Madison Parks,” Travis said.
As an Area Captain, Travis works between the Madison Parks staff and other volunteers. He enjoys seeing many volunteers return each year.
“It is a unique atmosphere of people who bike daily and those that bike recreationally. It is nice to be able to get off the paths and bike down the middle of John Nolen,” Travis said.
Travis bikes year round and competes in various triathlons and duathlons. It is a great way to stay in shape and is beneficial to the community.
“It helps grow the large biking community in Madison and it is an environmentally friendly way to reduce our carbon footprint.”
Travis has had many wonderful experiences as a volunteer for Ride the Drive. Just seeing the families’ excitement and enjoyment of riding has been a great experience for him. One fun story involved the Oscar Mayer Wiener Mobile.
“The Oscar Mayer Wiener Mobile was leaving Brittingham Park and I needed to stop the large crowd of bikers on the route, including the Penny-farthings. Not every day do you get to stop bikes and say the wiener mobile is trying to leave,” Travis remembered.Â
Travis embodies the spirit of Ride the Drive and spreads it to the community.
“This year I recruited a friend to be a bike ambassador and plan on recruiting more, spreading the word for Ride the Drive.”
Aaron Crandall began volunteering for Ride the Drive since the very beginning back in 2009, and has continued to volunteer every year since.
“I volunteer a lot and I was very excited about the idea of doing this when it was first introduced.Â I really believe in the purpose of Ride the Drive and I want to contribute any way that I can,” Aaron said.
Aaron is an avid biker who incorporates biking into his daily life. Aaron and his family recently bought their first car about three years ago to accommodate his growing family.
“I bike year-round, everyday.Â Madison is such a bike friendly city and I hope to be an example for other people. I want to show them that it’s not really that difficult to incorporate biking into their lives.”
One part of Ride the Drive that Aaron loves the most is seeing the large crowd of bike enthusiasts. He remembers the year that Lance Armstrong came to Madison vividly because it drew in such a large crowd.
“I love the mob of people! I enjoy seeing people out and the streets being taken over by a mob of cyclists. “
“One year we all got free Chipotle, that was pretty nice as well,” he included.
Shutting down John Nolen Drive is also one of his favorite parts of the event.
“John Nolen is such a heavy traffic area. It is an amazing opportunity to shut down the main street and open it solely to bikes. We don’t have to worry about traffic; we can enjoy the weather and it is great to see the lake.”
Aaron continues to promote Ride the Drive and advocate for the importance of the event. He wants to add to the current success of the event and help make important changes the future. “It is a very fun event with neat activities for people of all ages. Very cool.”