Ready for outdoor recreation? Spring is almost upon us, and soon the area will be bustling with bikers and paddlers. Madison, with its abundance of parks, trails, and lakes, was ranked by WalletHub as one of the best cities in the country for an active lifestyle. And this weekend, March 9-11, the city is hosting two converging expos at the Alliant Energy Center with great deals, prizes, and tips: Bike-O-Rama and Canoecopia. Note that admission does not include parking fees.
Bike-O-Rama When: Noon to 9 p.m. Friday; 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday Where: New Holland Pavilion, Alliant Energy Center, 1919 Alliant Energy Center Way, Madison Admission: Free
The Midwest Bicycle Show and Sale "Bike-O-Rama" is the largest bicycle sale in Wisconsin, featuring thousands of new models. At the event you can test ride bikes, shop for accessories, watch unicycle and stunt shows, and talk with dozens of vendors and members of local bicycling groups. If you purchase a new bike there, it includes a lifetime warranty and two free tune-ups (excludes electric bikes which only carry the manufacturer's warranty).
Canoecopia When: 4-9 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday Where: Exhibition Hall, Alliant Energy Center, 1919 Alliant Energy Center Way, Madison Admission: Cash or check $15 per day (free for kids 17 and under) or $25 for 3-day pass
Presented by Madison's Rutabaga Paddlesports, Canoecopia is the world's largest paddlesports consumer event. Here you can browse a huge selection of canoes, kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, and other equipment and clothing on sale. Whether you're a paddling pro or newbie, there are plenty of helpful resources about gear, techniques, and destinations from hundreds of presenters and exhibitors. 2018 is a special year for the 42nd annual event since it also marks the 40th anniversary of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness Act and the 50th anniversary of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.
Organizers recommend coming for all three days since there's so much to see, otherwise definitely try to make it on "Sunday Funday," when crowds are generally lighter and there are giveaways and goodies. Plus, if you fall in love with a boat but don't have a way to haul it, Rutabaga can put it on layaway at their shop until May 31st with a downpayment. Canoecopia will also have collection barrels for Second Harvest Foodbank and Community Action Coalition if you'd like to bring along nonperishable food items to the event. For a detailed schedule for the 42nd annual event, click the online show guide.