Cycles & Cider with Urban Ecology Center
November 19, 2021 | Topics: Events
By Eddee Daniel with Cassie Bauer and Erin Whitney
After a week of warm autumn weather, the day of the bike ride dawned with temperatures right around freezing. By 9:30 am when we embarked on the Oak Leaf Trail the temperature had barely budged. But the sun was shining and our group was prepared. No one complained of the cold. In fact, as we headed out along the trail we discovered it was crowded with others, on bikes and on foot.
The event was billed as Cycles & Cider. We were offered warm cider at the Riverside Park branch of the Urban Ecology Center (UEC) before mounting our bikes. Some of us, including me, borrowed from the UEC collection of bikes available free to UEC members. The halfway point of the trip would be at the Menomonee Valley branch of the Urban Ecology Center, where we would take a break at the Newline Café and have more cider before heading back.
UEC tour leader Cassie Bauer said afterwards, “The primary purpose of Cycles & Cider was to provide an opportunity for individuals interested in biking to join together for a casual bike tour from Riverside Park through the city of Milwaukee to the Menomonee Valley, while highlighting some local gems. The UEC is dedicated to connecting people in the city to nature. This event provided a nice mix of sightseeing by bicycle, with seasonal fall colors, and warm cider. By offering community programs like this, it is our goal to build an individual’s confidence to spend more time outdoors in the city. We hope that the folks who joined us on Saturday revisit the route we traveled with friends and family, and maybe even check out a bike from the UEC through our equipment lending program.
“The age diversity of participants in this program was impressive, from individuals in their mid 30’s through their late 70’s, demonstrating that cycling and tours of our natural spaces in the City of Milwaukee are activities that are for everyone.”
We started on the Oak Leaf Trail at Riverside Park, traveled along the lakefront through Veteran’s Park and Lakeshore State Park. There we picked up the Hank Aaron State Trail, which took us through the Menomonee Valley to Three Bridges Park where the Menomonee Valley branch of the UEC is located. Our route clearly demonstrated how our city has a naturally beautiful layout of contiguous green spaces for individuals to explore.
“Our cider drinks specially prepared by Newline Café were delicious!” Cassie exclaimed. Then she added, “And the sunshine and the remaining fall colors that were hanging on this late in the season were magical!”
Erin Whitney, UEC Community Programs Educator, adds this: “A goal of mine in planning bike programs at Urban Ecology Center is to provide opportunity for folks on bikes to gain confidence in commuting across the city via the amazing trails that are available. Personally, I am grateful for the other bike commuters in my life who have encouraged me to find these much-loved routes. I hope programs like this open up other transportation options for people traveling within the city.”
Cassie Bauer is Community Programs Manager and Erin Whitney is a Community Programs Educator at the Urban Ecology Center. Eddee Daniel is a current board member of Preserve Our Parks and former board member of Friends of the Hank Aaron State Trail. All images by Eddee Daniel. The UEC is a project partner of A Wealth of Nature.