Groundbreaking Phil Van Valkenberg

Phil van Valkenberg introduced me to riding the back roads of Wisconsin. My bike was the key to independence as a child, became my transportation later, but Phil’s 1974 book “Wisconsin Bike Trips” (complete with maps) opened my eyes to a new world of riding. I soon discovered that the state published a county-by-county map book of all rural roads – now there were no limits.

Phil’s maps led me to the back roads, inspired me to load my bike with camping gear to tour, and ultimately led me to ride across the country in 2018. Now it is time for a new groundbreaking.

In addition to the ground-breaking ceremony for the new trail named in his honor, Phil is selling some old bikes to raise funds for the trail. The bikes include the 1977 Exxon Graftek pictured above. This was one of the first readily available carbon fiber bikes. I remember looking at it at Yellow Jersey – I’m not sure if it’s the same one Phil bought. If you’re a fan of drillium, check it out. The 1940 Hetchins has a Reynolds frame, drop bars, and Sturmey-Archer 3-speed hub. He also has a Sekai 5000 – a 1975 steel road bike weighing in at 18.5 pounds – check out the cable routing – you can see it (and the others) on eBay.

Adopt-a-Highway

The half-fast cycling club has officially adopted a highway. This means we are responsible for keeping the roadside clean. Our stretch of road includes one of our favorite climbs and one of our favorite views.

If you guessed County Highway F at Brigham Park, you are a weiner! Officially, it is from the intersection with Cave of the Mounds Road to the end of the park (just out of sight in the background) at Danhouser Road.

Now we’re looking for volunteers. The first cleanup is planned for Sunday, June 30. If you’re interested, let us know via the contact page on this site or by any other means if you know how to reach us in other ways. If you can’t make that day but want to be on the list for the future, tell us that as well.

After we clean, we can sit on the bench (from which these photos were taken) and enjoy the view and a cold beverage.

The day after the Horribly Hilly, I had the good fortune to meet Phil Van Valkenberg, who might be considered the father of bike touring in Wisconsin. When I first discovered, at the age of 21, that I could ride my bike out of town, it was to Phil that I turned for maps and advice. He just didn’t know it until now. I dedicated the ride to him. He was in Milwaukee for the Fat Tire Tour of Milwaukee. We met at a chamber music concert; nothing to do with bikes (except that it was in a really beautiful valley for a ride).

This section of highway is no longer an orphan!

Same half-fast guy, two 200K rides, 27 years apart. Wet both times.