When it comes to biking to work, CALS has history

Remember that June 6–11 is Bike to Work Week in Madison. Several CALS departments have already signed up for the Commuter Bike Challenge, sponsored by the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin. Each workplace keeps track of level of particiaption — commuter miles ridden, number of riders and number of days. It’s not too late for your workgroup to sign up.

In the spirit of this event, we’d like to note that when it comes to commuting to campus by bike, CALS has history. One long-ago CALS employee may still hold the record — for distance, anyway. In 1903, E.J. Delwiche, who later established the college’s network of branch ag research stations, rode to campus from his home on the Door Peninsula. It wasn’t a daily commute — he came here to stay for awhile, first as a student, then as a professor of agronomy — but it was a pretty impressive ride.

Campus bike commuters have an easier ride thanks to the efforts of several CALS staffers. Among the first to put forth the concept of a bike path along the east rail corridor, now site of the Isthmus Bike Path, were landscape architecture professor John Harrington and some of his students. The “missing link” bike path running from Brittingham Park to Camp Randall was largely the brainchild of John Coleman, a GIS specialist in the Land Information and Computer Graphics Facility. Coleman also served on the committee that developed Madisoin’s Platinum Biking Plan in 2008. One of his LICGF colleagues, Jeff Sledge, provided technical support in an effort to inventory the city’s bike racks. Sledge also collaborates with researchers in the School of Medicine and Public Health on a project that uses bicycles to combat childhood obesity. Need some encouragement to inspire your pedal-powered commute? This video profiles several campus bike commuters, beginning with Barb Avery, data analyst in CALS Administrative Computing.