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
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. Joins for rides to Belgium, Paris, Luxembourg, Rome, Holland and beyond. 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.
Finally, some insights into the Trek-Segafredo Team’s philosophy on riding the real Spring Classics. Sounds like we are on the same page, if not the same continent.