Member Profile: Joe King

If Bike Fed member Joe King races as fast as he responds to requests for blog material, he must be a hard guy to beat. He had his profile info and photo to me minutes after I published the profile of Jason Sanchez. If you would like to be featured in our Member Profile, simply email me a nice photo of you and your bike and answer the same basic questions below, except substitute your city for “Madison” and substitute where you work for in the “painting bikes” question. You can be a commuter, racer, touring cyclist, weekend recreational rider, etc


Photo of me and Tigger (my bike) racing in the National Championships of Cyclocross in Verona. Photo by Craig Gartland

My bike:

This is a very special bike.  In the fall of 2010 we hosted the French National Champion of Cyclocross, his wife and his Mechanic.  It was a pleasure for us and we took good care of Francis Mourey, Auralie, and Billy.  His support equipment and crew did not make it from Vegas to Madison in time for the U.S. Gran Prix race so we filled in.  The promoter, Tim Rutledge was so appreciative that he gave us a discount on this very special bike.  It is a Lapierre cross bike and is super light and fast.  It has no seat post (the frame is cut to size) and is ready for disc brakes.

Why ride?
Why breath?  I ride to have fun, to race, to be healthy, to get to work, to socialize and to the shop.

How long have I been painting bikes?
Never painted a bike except with mud.  I’ve been racing cyclocross since

Favorite ride?
My favorite ride was the one I took by myself from Madison to Seattle. It was 49 days and 3,000 miles of complete freedom in 2001.  My favorite race was when I placed third in the 2011 Cyclocross State Championship race.  Gordy Paulson and I fought for that third spot all race although I had no idea until after the race was finished.  The racing was just so much fun, how we might finish didn’t even enter my head.

How can Madison improve bike infrastructure?
Madison needs to take affirmative action to stop the unfortunate bigotry toward the non-motorized users of our roads.  One meets the nicest people on a bicycle and we need to use this fact to promote good-humanizing feelings for cyclists.  In the conversation over bike/car conflicts way too much emphasis is given to things like bad cyclist behavior and arrogant cyclists. The worst of us use this as justification to treat us as less than human.

We need to be clear that there is no behavior bad enough that can be committed by a cyclist or pedestrian that justifies the negligence, intentional threads, and hostility we unfortunately see all too often.

It might not seem fair but the fact is the weight of responsibility falls to the motorist.
This fact is all too often lost in this conversation.  We should not excuse bad cyclist behavior but we should do more to promote good feelings around cycling and cyclists.  If successful, motorists here, like in other places of the world, will smile, slow down, and calm down when they see us.  We must of course continue to correct bad behavior, set good examples and provide good safety information but these efforts should not be associated with correcting the outrageously negligent or intentionally threatening behavior of some motorists.  This leaves the false impression that these behaviors are roughly the same.

About Dave Schlabowske, Deputy Director

Dave was the first full-time staff member hired to open the Bike Fed's Milwaukee office 15 years ago. A former professional photographer and life-long Milwaukee resident, Dave likes wool, long rides, sour beer, and a good polar vortex once in a while.

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