La Crosse held their second annual Labor Day Bike Festival over the weekend. It was tremendously successful. Bicyclists rolled in from many states as well as from cities all across Wisconsin.
Everything was based out of Cameron Park on the corner of Cameron Street and Fifth Avenue. The central location may have contributed to the success. Cyclists checked in at the tent all weekend, picking up beautiful maps of more than ten bike routes, including turn by turn directions on the reverse side.
The idea was to invite bicyclists to tour the coulee region over the Labor Day weekend and have the maps available to return to ride the routes any day of the year. There was a featured ride Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday with a suggested start time of 7-9am. Each day also included guided urban rides to coffee shops, ice cream shops, and architectural tours. These rides brought many families and casual riders.
There was a Party in the Park on Saturday night which included stories from the La Crosse Storytellers, The Big E Bounce House, and Puss in Boots was shown on a large screen at dusk.
Sunday afternoon featured a block party on Pearl Street between 2-9:30pm. A bicycle powered stage was set up with five bands. People were encouraged to take turns pedaling to power the show and were rewarded with a cold bottle of water.
Monday’s festival ended with multiple groups riding 43 scenic miles for coffee. The most common response we had all weekend was that people were thrilled that the festival was free and they were happy to have the central location of the park where they could come and ask for suggestions for restaurants and shopping, but most importantly, which was the best route to take.