Inaugural Babblers Bike Fest to offer fun for all ages
Babblers Bike Fest will begin at 8 a.m. Friday, April 27, and runs all day at University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (UWSP). This new event is an active, family-friendly and multi-activity bicycle fest with group rides of different styles, a vendor fair, bike demonstrations, kids and adult bike training, advocate presentations, BMX freestyle jam, bike games, kids’ bike parade, biergarten and food.
Unlike most bicycle events, Babblers Bike Fest is all ages, noncompetitive and geared toward making central Wisconsin a fun and safer place to ride a bicycle.
“Stevens Point is relatively flat, things are close together, and we have an above average bicycle ridership for Wisconsin,” said organizer Trevor Roark. “Why can’t we then have better street design, planning, enforcement and education surrounding bicycling so that regular people from ages 8 to 80 can feel safe riding a bicycle?
“By bringing all kinds of people from all ages and stages together for a fun and engaging event, we hope that Babblers can help bridge this gap we experience in our local communities,” he said.
This year’s fest will feature a dozen or so vendors including the new Cycling Without Age program for Stevens Point. Visitors can see a demonstration of one of the program’s tri-shaws (tricycle rickshaw).
Group rides – the non-competitive sort – will fit a variety of tastes, including Green Circle Trail lovers, cyclists who like longer routes and even those who enjoy slow cruising short routes with friends and family.
“An event like this is something central Wisconsin has needed for years,” said co-organizer Amy Schmied. “Until now, you’d have to travel to Madison, La Crosse or the Twin Cities for a bike festival of this kind. But now, our local community can be part of something bigger.
“We hope to grow this into an annual weekend-long event that draws visitors from across the state,” she said. “I’m just really excited to be part of a growing bicycling culture right here in our backyard.”
In the morning, Michelle Bachaus will kick start bicycle empowerment with a presentation on “Getting better outcomes from bicycle advocacy.” Shortly after, Stevie Pointer, UWSP athletes and students of the University Council on Family Relations will read books to children ages 2 to 5 at the Bicycle Book Reading Hour. UWSP graduate student Taylor Christiansen will lead a forum on making UWSP more bikable/walkable, featuring campus survey results, discussion on bike shelters, bikeways and education, and applying to become a Bike Friendly University).
Jen Gilchrist-Walker will speak in the early afternoon announcing health TIDE’s Wisconsin Active Together kickoff – health TIDE connects Wisconsin “wavemakers” to create a healthier future.
After school, kids of all ages can join in the bike decorating and Kiddical Mass bike parade, a unique bike fun for families. Later afternoon, there will be a vendor fair, a bubble soccer tourney for UWSP students, faculty and staff led by UWSP Intramurals, a Brewhaus Biergarten, treats and snacks at the CPS Café Trikey and bicycle games for all ages.
In the later evening, Point Area Bicycle Service will run its “Going Nowhere Fast” competition. This mini-event will pin pedalers against each other to see who can crank their legs the fastest on stationary bikes. Prizes will be awarded with the grand prize of one FUJI Traverse 1.9.
Partners bringing this event together include: UWSP Adventure Tours, Point Area Bicycle Service, Wisconsin Bike Fed, healthTIDE, Active Portage County, Wisconsin Public Radio, Trek Store – Stevens Point, and CREATE Portage County. As the festival website babbles, “Celebrate, recreate, advocate… all things bicycle.”
More information is available at www.babblersbikefest.com.