For the second year, Wausau Wheelers is sponsoring a cycling movie event to help whet bikers’ appetites for the upcoming riding season. The club will present a showing of “Reveal the Path,” a movie that follows two mountain bikers on a 36-day vagabond bike trip that includes rides in Scotland’s green valleys, Europe’s snow-capped mountains, Nepal’s elevated landscapes and Morocco’s high and dry desert.
Along the way, the riders connect with locals and question what it means to live an inspired life.
The movie will be shown at 7 p.m. Thursday at Marcus Cedar Creek Cinema, 10101 Market St., Rothschild. Advance tickets are $11 and are available at www.imathlete.com/events/revealthepath. Tickets at the door are $15. The public is invited.
For more information about the Wausau Wheelers, go to www.wausauwheelers.org. To view the trailer of the film or for more information, go to www.revealthepath.com.
Some bad news came in the mail yesterday.
It was Bicycling magazine’s annual buyers’ guide, which seems to be harmless — boring even — for normal people. But for me, it’s a dangerous, subversive periodical that is coming when I’m at my most vulnerable. As I write this, we’re getting another dumping of snow. But my thoughts are of May, sunshine and riding a bicycle on the back roads of central Wisconsin.
The magazine brings that itch into a full-fledged mania, and as my simple daydream spins dangerously out of control, I begin to believe that I need a new bike, new cycling shoes and a special bicycling backpack, because none of the six cycles, three pairs of shoes and the backpack I have now are good enough.
I love Bicycling magazine, but its major flaw is that it tends to take a simple pleasure, riding a bicycle, and makes it complicated to the extreme. If you look at the sport through the prism of Bicycling, you don’t just ride, you train. You don’t eat, you fuel. And you don’t just have a bike, you have a “performance machine.” The underlying message is that to become a “real” cyclist, you have to lay down some serious cash.
There’s nothing wrong with spending money if you have it, of course. I love buying bike junk. But I do have a tendency to take things too far, obsessive even. It’s easy to lose sight about what’s really important about riding a bicycle: That it’s just a lot of fun. It’s a great way to get exercise, socialize and see the world.
To counter the Bicycling mania, I logged onto the new Wausau Wheelers website, wausauwheelers.org, and thought about the biking philosophy of its new president, Denny Helke, 62, of Kronenwetter. Wausau Wheelers, of course, is the area’s long-standing bicycling club.
Denny is an unlikely cyclist and bike club president. He is square — not in personality, but in build. He has the look of a human bulldog, and your typical cyclist is much more likely to have the physique of a Saluki. Actually, that’s not true. An athlete who calls himself a “cyclist” and identifies with bike racers is more likely to be lean. Most people don’t approach the sport with that level of intensity. They just go for a bike ride, and Denny is more representative of that segment of the sport.
Denny got his first bike when he was teenager when he won a Schwinn Varsity in Wausau’s city marble championship. He rode like most people do, and then left the sport for other endeavors. He was 55 when “I went downhill,” he said. “I had my first back surgery; I also had a hip replaced.”
He since has replaced the Varsity with a newer, sleeker and more comfortable ride. But he’s more about the fun, the fitness and social aspects of the sport, rather than cutting 30 seconds from a 20-mile loop. He hopes to bring that more populist attitude to the Wausau Wheelers. He would like to see more recreational riders coming out on club rides. Don’t mistake, if you want to hammer, there’s room for you with the Wheelers. But there also is a place for laid-back explorers, too.
So if you think bicycling, the activity, is only like what you see in Bicycling the magazine, with its thousands of dollars of bike equipment, special shoes and the like, it’s worthwhile to check out the evolving Wausau Wheelers and see that there’s a lot more to the sport.
Keith Uhlig can be contacted at 715-845-0651 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @UhligK.