10 Minutes - Family Bike Trips (Wisconsin): Bike With Melinda

Hi. It's Joe.

NashbarI want to say Labor Day weekend in 1999 was the first "Bike With Melinda" event at my family's cabin in northern Wisconsin. So that makes this year's event the 11th annual, I guess.

What is "Bike With Melinda?"

Well, it's a very fun social bicycle ride I organize each year with a few friends (such as yourself). Up in Shell Lake, WI, where the cabin is located, the summer draws to a close in mid-September. So "Bike With Melinda" is kind of like a going away party for Summer in the northwoods. As Wisconsin bike tours go, it is small but super fun.

Melinda is a friend of mine. She attended the first two "Bike With Melinda" events. Then she got a life. However, we keep the name for simplicity, because it sounds cool. Who knows, maybe Melinda will come this year. It's always good to have hope.

What does "Bike With Melinda" entail?

The bike ride itself is on Sunday of Labor Day weekend, which this year falls on September 5.

However, the social goes all weekend. People cruise up to the cabin Friday night or Saturday day (the latter being recommended, because it is the lightest traffic day of the weekend, according to AAA). We hang out on the lake right outside the back door, drinking, eating, swimming, kayaking, fishing, and even wind surfing (I can teach you!).

The cabin is tiny, so guests need to pitch tents in the yard. But there's a bathroom and everything inside for all to use.

My mom cooks a big feast on Saturday night for us. Then we sometimes go out to a local watering hole and hang out at night. Sunday morning, we get on our bikes and ride.

The first stop is a greasy spoon diner, for those who don't get up early enough to eat at the cabin. Then we make our way to Birchwood, WI where there is a fabulous ice cream joint and some eateries/bars.

Those who don't want to cycle round trip can load their bikes on my dad's car at Birchwood and go back to the cabin. The rest make our way back by bike, hitting a couple of roadside establishments on the way.

We feast again on Sunday night, usually leftovers from Saturday. On Monday we clean up and head back to our respective lives, rejuvenated.

A few additional items: The ride is limited to 12 people, including myself. Logistically we can't handle more than that. The cabin is very remote, so it's super relaxing. It's family friendly and would rank in the top 10 great family bike trips, I think. There is all manner of wildlife. There's a bald eagle that nests nearby, and great scenery. A black bear even roams the area at night. The lake itself has Native American healing powers, in my opinion, and it is spring fed, so it is very clean and clear. I don't tell too many people about the water's healing power, and you shouldn't either, because if the secret got out, it would be exploited and the waters would lose their spirit magic.

Bring bug spray, sunscreen, a flashlight and camping gear. Bring something to grill if you want, optional.

To RSVP the bike ride, just COMMENT below this blog post or E-MAIL ME.

One last thing - Although it's totally free, gifts and donations to my parents are welcome. I will have everyone sign a safety waver prior to biking that says simply, "If anything bad happens, it is 100% your own fault. It is not my fault. Wear a helmet."

OK, SUBSCRIBE to this blog because I will have further updates and directions soon.

My time is up.

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