When Mark Steckhahn, a friend and fellow member of the Milwaukee Cream City Cycle Club, asked if I would like to join him on a self-contained bike tour in the north central part of the state, I readily accepted. I know him to be an enthusiastic planner and organizer extraordinaire of all types of trips. I also have fond memories of biking with him and two other similarly minded cohorts half way across the country. I was confident the venture would be pleasant.
How could we go wrong, really? The League of American Bicyclists got it right when it announced last May that Wisconsin ranked near the top as a "bike friendly state." The truth is the Badger state slipped slightly to No. 3 nationally, after having placed second on the initial list. Although Wisconsin did not score perfectly in all areas considered by the league, I still think the state's road system is one of the safest, quietest and picturesque I have ever had the pleasure of pedaling.
The eight-day excursion was selected from Mark's ample cycling library because it fit the schedules of all 11 participants. The circular design of the tour allowed us to park our cars for the trip's duration at the staging site, a large shopping center in Shawano. So on July 10, 2011, with fully packed panniers, the assemblage of veteran riders departed shortly after noon and a brief rain shower for a 24-mile trek to the tiny, unincorporated community of Tilleda. We were thrilled to start the adventure.
The full story appears in the April 2012 print edition of Silent Sports. Don't miss an issue! Subscribe here.