It was just starting to drizzle, and even on its tiptoes, the mercury couldn’t quite reach 40°F as Amelia Kegel and I climbed on the back of the Wheel & Sprocket truck to give instructions before the first official Spring Classic Ride on 2016. Damp and cold, I shivered a bit as I surveyed the diverse assembly of about 30 riders looking up at us with cheerful, curious faces. Looking at the mix of rain coats, wool jerseys, fancy carbon race machines and and vintage steel, all I could think of to say was “I organized this ride, and I have to be here, so the rest of you must just be crazy.”
I suppose the turnout should not have surprised me. We all know Wisconsin is crazy for cycling, and most of us live by the adage that there is no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing. In fact, as the Spring Classics Series progressed, the crowds just kept getting bigger. We had more than 100 riders on some of the rides, and Roger De Vlaeminck could have been our weatherman for all of them.
March is the new May, so open your calendar and pencil in these fun FREE member-led group rides to Wisconsin small towns with European a heritage. Join us for rides to Belgium, Paris, Luxembourg, Rome, Holland and beyond. For more detailed information about each ride and maps of the routes, scroll down.
This year our Wisconsin Spring Classic Series is presented by Lowlands Group restaurants, definitely the most bike friendly European themed Grand Cafes around! Each ride is organized by a Bike Fed member, an organizational member like a bike shop or an affiliated club.
The idea for the Wisconsin Spring Classics Series was born a few years ago, when we held a couple of informal rides to Paris and Belgium. It was great to get in 40 to 80 early season miles with friends, so a couple more member shops added a few more rides last year. They all proved so much fun, that this year we have an 11-ride series! To get a feel for what the 2016 Wisconsin Spring Classics Series rides will be like, you can read these blog posts about the first rides and the ride reports from our series last year.
Basically, these are all longish, self-supported, training rides. Depending on the particular route, there may be a stop for food along the way. These are rides, NOT races, but the pace will be fast/casual (15-20 mph). There will be a no-drop policy, but if you have never ridden more than 25 miles, you might want to train a bit before you attempt one of these. The rides will be free, but we ask that everyone be a Bike Fed member for insurance reasons. We won’t kick you off the ride if you are not a Bike Fed member, but with fun rides like this, why not join online here?
All the rides are free, but we ask that you let us know which rides you think you will be doing by here on our Spring Classics Eventbrite page. This is just so we and the ride organizers have an idea of how many people are coming and so you can sign the online waiver. If you don’t know which rides you will do, just pick one so you can fill out the waiver.
There are a few new things this year, thanks to our presenting sponsor Lowland’s Restaurant Group. Not only do Lowlands Cafes have great food and an amazing Belgian bier selection, they are some of the coolest bicycle themed restaurants this side of Ghent. Lowlands is more than a bicycle-friendly business, they are bicycle crazy, so it was only natural that they wanted to support the Wisconcin Spring Classics.
Thanks in part to our new presenting sponsor, Lowlands Restaurant Group, we have been able to add a fun Spring Classics Ride Series Passport. Bring your passport with you on all the Spring Classics and get a stamp to prove you completed the ride. There will be a quick raffle (put your passport in a bucket) after each ride.
We are printing a limited number of passports and you can purchase them for $5 when you select which rides you think you are going to do. You can also keep track of your Flanders Points in the passport. We will give a special prize to the rider with the highest Flanders Points at the end of the series, and we will have a final raffle for some bigger prizes.
What are Flanders Points? For Spring Classics, bad weather is good weather, so you earn extra points on each ride if it is raining (even snowing), windy or cold. These rides are your chance to embrace your inner Belgian! So don’t stay home if the weather turns dark, just dig into your suitcase of courage, pull out your cold weather gear, put on your legs and join us!
You don’t have to buy a passport to do the rides, but they are pretty cool and only cost $5. You can order them when you register for the rides you
So far the 2017 Wisconsin Spring Classic Calendar is as follows (click event name to see the individual ride Facebook event page). We will have more details for each ride as we get closer to spring. Note that some rides still link to last year’s Facebook event, but those will be updated as soon as the ride organizers create a new page.
Leave from Milwaukee’s Polish cycling epicenter and ride to Rome, WI for a group photo at the Rome Feed Mill and grab some bakery Pickets Country Store before we turn around. Vince and the guys at Milwaukee Bicycle Company may have the grill going when we get back. 86 miles
This fun new ride to Town of Holland, a nice little dairy community in the Fox Valley, leaves from Wheel & Sprocket’s Appleton store. The route is a relatively short and flat, leaving plenty of time to hang afterward at the shop. Le Prince French Crepes will be setup in the back of the shop parking lot for Tour of Flanders viewing and post ride food. 55 miles
Ride with George and the gang from Broken Spoke Bike Studio in Green Bay to Luxemburg, WI for a stop at Don’s Bakery for schnecks and a group photo. Ride back and hang with comrades for a bit to relive the ride. 58 miles
Leave from the recently remodeled Cafe Hollander in the Village of Wauwatosa, ride around the Milwaukee area to most of the other Grand Cafes and end with time for post ride biers at Cafe Bavaria, right back at the start! 50 miles
The Coulee Bicycle Company of Onalaska teams up with the Red Pines Bar and Grill in Brice Prairie to host a ride through the Town of Holland to the famed Mindoro Cut and back. After the ride, we can refuel at the Red Pines on Lake Onalaska in Brice Prairie. 55 miles
Sun., April 30th, 11 a.m. – Strada Fango Spring Classic
With a sweet Ellis Cycles bike named after it, we had to partner with this Northwoods classic to add some gravel to your spring. The ride starts and ends at Murphy Flowage, in Rusk County, WI. No entry fee. No swag. No official timing. Unlimited pain and suffering. 75 miles
Sat., May 6th, 9 a.m. – Route du Sud
The Door County Silent Sports Association’s tour of beautiful southern Door County. The ride starts in Sturgeon Bay at Otumba Park and takes you to Namur (home of the Belgian American Heritage Club) and Brussels, then to Vignes and Lasalle and back. 70 miles
Sun., May 7TH, 9 a.m. – Fyxation to Belgium
Grab a Colectivo at Fyxation Bicycle before the ride to Belgium, WI, which was actually settled by Luxembourgers, and is home to the Luxembourg American Cultural Society and Museum. Back at the shop on Humboldt Blvd after the ride, we will have a little BBQ. 71 miles
Sat., May 13th, 8 a.m. – Rocket Bikes Black and Blue Ride
This time the crew from Rocket Bicycle Studio in Verona put together a longer, but less punchy loop through Blue Mounds State Park and Black Earth with plenty of places to refuel along the way. There are a couple options to shortcut the route. 77 miles
Below is a map of the draft routes for each ride.
Below are some of the jersey and bib shorts options for this ride series. We have short sleeves, women’s cuts and jackets too! You don’t have to come on a ride to order any or all of this cool new kit.