All Roads Lead to Bike With (or Without) Melinda

Every Labor Day weekend since 1999, I have been hosting a small social bike ride up in northern Wisconsin (Shell Lake, WI) where my family has a cabin. After about 2001, we started calling it Bike With (or Without) Melinda, because she fairly often doesn't come. But the ride was originally named in her honor, when she completed a bike ride across the entire USA.

Anyway, that's the back story.

The front story is that BW(ow)M - pronounced just like it looks - is once again on for Labor Day weekend 2013. And you are welcome to come.

It's a pretty nice way to spend Labor Day because the lodging is free and no competition with other holiday campers (only, maybe, some black bears...no joke).

Peeps usually travel up on Saturday of that weekend (the best travel day, according to AAA) to our cabin which fronts onto clean, cool spring fed Shell Lake. We make merry and I teach people how to wind surf, if they want to try and there is enough wind. We also have a kayak for the less bold. No motorboats. My family is very low tech at the cabin. My mom makes a nice spread of food and we chill in the evening, play cards, maybe have some music jams

The bike ride is on Sunday. We leave when everyone is ready and it is NOT a race. It's a social bike ride, with an emphasis on social. I strap a potent bike boom box on my bike rack for tunes, so bring an iPod with your favorite biking songs.

The group then rides (no drop policy, because that would be impossible anyway) from the cabin in Shell Lake to a town called Stone Lake, about 26 miles away, with some leisurely social "rest stops" along the way to regroup. About four miles out is Rummel's bar, which looks a lot like a guy's garage, because it is. We get a little carbo loading there, before proceeding to the eight mile mark, where we usually get breakfast at the Caddy Shack greasy spoon diner.

There are a couple of more optional stops in the remaining 18 miles of fairly rolling country roads (no major hills). It's beautiful scenery.

We coordinate to meet my mom and pops in the town of Stone Lake, WI around lunch time on Sunday. They will be driving the support car with a bike rack on it. If anyone does not want to bike back to the cabin from Stone Lake, they can take a ride in the car with my folks. That constitutes the short route.

The long route is, of course, the round trip distance of 52 miles, for those who do want to bike back. Biking back also involves a couple of social stops, if desired.

Sunday afternoon and evening is even more chilling by the lake. Then we might go into town at night and stir up trouble.

On Monday, people can depart at a leisurely pace. All we ask is that everyone spend a little time helping us clean up the cabin, since we usually shut it down for the winter soon after BW(ow)M. That is sort of like the "fee" for participating.

But the cost of the event itself is just your gas to get there and any grillable items you may want to cook on the grill, maybe some beer or booze.

This is a Labor Day weekend event to consider doing if you are looking for a relaxed but fun outdoorsy way to end the summer. We can host no more than eight people for this ride. So let me know soon if you want to come.

More deets later.


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