Ashley Varner, Healthy Communities coordinator with Capital Region Medical Center, asked me to write an article about why I chose to be a "Cyclist-Friendly Business (CFB)" — a Healthy Communities initiative. I was happy to do so.
The first thing that struck me when contacted about this program last year was that Madison's has always been a "Cyclist-Friendly Business" since we opened over 36 years ago, although there was no "name" for it until now.
We provide cyclists complimentary water to refill water bottles, complimentary WiFi, public restrooms, bike parking available on our patio and delicious food and welcoming service. We have also catered cyclists' groups on the Katy Trail. We've always supported cyclists and their quest, to assist them on their journey.
When asked "what brought us on board" — it was easy. Since we already were meeting the criteria to be named a "Cyclist Friendly Business," I was glad to have Madison's join this new effort. We have always supported many projects and organizations throughout the Jefferson City community, many of which are health and wellness related. This was another initiative I was happy to be "officially" designated a part of and appreciate Capital Region's guidance.
In our restaurant business, we are fortunate to meet guests from across the country and all over the world. I have enjoyed visiting with cyclists groups, hearing the stories of their travels and their camaraderie. Katy Trail cyclists from all parts of America return annually. I am reminded of two men having lunch with us, military veterans, who met 14 years prior during basic training. Together they were riding their bicycles from the Pacific Ocean at Santa Monica, California, to the Atlantic coast at Atlantic City, New Jersey in order to raise money to support the American Cancer Society's work in "research, education, advocacy and patient services" — cycling across the country to help others.
Why is it important for a small business, like a restaurant, to partner with groups like the Healthy Schools Healthy Communities Initiative? Answer: It is the satisfaction that you feel in supporting an effort that is good and healthy for the entire community, the environment, local cyclists and those cycling through. It's inclusive.
"Our service has never been limited by the walls of our building or the borders of our property. Since Madison's exists within the context of a larger Jefferson City community, we have always reached out into our city to serve and support those in need." The Healthy School and Healthy Communities Initiative and the CFB effort fits quite well within that part of our mission. I encourage any business — large or small — to consider becoming a Cyclist Friendly Business.
Finally, this quote from Albert Einstein seemed on point: "Life is like riding a bicycle. In order to keep your balance, you must keep moving."
Rob Agee is the owner of Madison's Cafe in Jefferson City. For more information, visit www.madisonscafe.com.