Second, you may recall reading months ago about the Northern Wisconsin bike tour. It'll be a week of bike adventure Sept 23-30, along some of the rustic back roads of Northern Wisconsin. And you're invited!
What to expect:
1. The scenery and solitude of the North Woods: endless forests, lakes, streams, wildlife, campfires, and rustic forest roads. Bring a camera and take lots of pictures.
2. Rustic forest roads = dirt, gravel, and/or pavement (in order of preference): I have not yet plotted the exact route, and even if I had, I wouldn't tell you what it is. But here's my basic guiding principle: when given a choice between two roads, I will most likely select dirt over pavement, low traffic over high traffic. In other words, a bike with fat, versatile tires is strongly preferred to a bike that has skinny, high-pressure tires. Two-inch or wider tires are ideal, but you will probably be able to do ok with something as skinny as 700x35, if you must.
3. Self-supported: You will be carrying your own gear. There is no support car. We will stop in small towns along the route for resupply at least once every day or two, so you won't need a week's worth of food/water on-board, but you will need to carry at least a one-day food/water supply. We will most often camp in state/national forest campgrounds, which will likely have potable water sources, and maybe a lake to rinse off road grime, but showers will be few and far between, I expect. Bring money for food and camping and other on-the-road expenses. You are responsible for you, more or less.
4. Every cyclist is welcome. My goal is to have the route be easy enough that any halfway fit cyclist can ride it comfortably. This is not intended to be a race or an endurance challenge, but a pleasant excursion in the north woods. I am reluctant to state how many miles we'll ride in a day, because we'll be traveling a variety of surfaces that will dictate our speed and distance. As a rough guide to the expected fitness level, you should be able to ride 50 miles on moderately hilly pavement in a day.
5. Late September can mean a wide range of weather conditions in Northern Wisconsin. Snow is unlikely, as are 90-degree days, but both are certainly not impossible. On average, we can likely expect pleasant daytime highs and cooler evenings, nights, and mornings. Check the weather forecasts and bring appropriate clothing. Better to have multiple thin layers that can be combined as needed for cool weather than to have a heavy winter ensemble stuffed into your panniers. Cool-weather gloves and hats are a good idea.
6. We'll leave, by car, early-ish in the day on September 23. The idea is to coordinate vehicles to get all of us and our bikes/gear in as few vehicles as possible. We'll drive to a lakefront cabin owned by the family of one of the tour participants. The driving time is approximately 4 hours. We'll spend the first night at this cabin (most likely sleeping in our tents, not in the cabin). The lake at the cabin is good for fishing right off the dock, so bring your fishing stuff, if you're so inclined. The next morning, we'll have breakfast, load up the bikes, and roll out. We'll leave the cars at the cabin. Then we'll return there sometime on Sept 30 to drive back to the Twin Cities.
Any questions? Email hiawathacyclery at gmail. Often some people want to participate in the tour, but make special arrangements, such as meeting a loved one at a predetermined location and/or doing only part of the weeklong tour (meeting us three days into it, or peeling off at some halfway point). Such plans are fine, but please figure this out on your own. It's impossible for me to tell you in advance where we'll be at a certain time or on a certain day. And cell service will be spotty at best, so coordinating meeting points and times on the fly will be somewhat dicey.