Saddling Up

Madison Area Bicycle Club
has had a long ride since its founding

New riders being sought
to revive the club’s membership

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

(May 2012) – Ann Wineland had never considered joining a bicycle club until she learned about a local group through a community project she worked on for her job at a nursing home. When she realized just how much fun it could be, she and her husband, Jon, got involved in an activity that has countless benefits.
In 2000, Wineland’s employer partnered with the Madison Area Bicycle Club to promote the Madison Meander, a ride held the fourth Saturday in August. This ride is open to the public and contains three different course levels.
“My husband helped with the job, and we both got involved,” she said.
The club’s main focus right now is on cycling advocacy and education, said Wineland, who resides in Carrollton, Ky.

Jon and Ann Wineland

Photo courtesy of Tom Pritchard

Jon and Ann Wineland take
a break from their ride along a
rail trail in Ohio during a
three-day camping tour.

The current chapter was established in 1995, but the club has existed in Madison since the 1890s when “a group of locals who enjoyed riding decided to band together,” Wineland said.
The club has about 35 members and meets every third Tuesday of the month at 6 p.m. at the Hong Kong Kitchen, a Chinese restaurant in Madison. Men, women and children of all ages are encouraged to join.
“Many rides are held seasonally,” Wineland said, with three national events held annually in which members can participate. One of these is the Stream Cliff Ride, held the third Saturday in May. Wineland described it as “a 50-mile spring tune-up ride.”
May is also National Bike Month. For the past 55 years, it has been a time to nationally promote cycling and safe bicycling. The League of American Bicyclists is the national sponsor of Bike Month. A national Bike to School Day is scheduled for May 9, and Bike to Work Day is scheduled for Friday, May 18.
Members of the Madison Area Bicycle Club participate in yearly rides ranging from a few 100 miles a year to more than 5,000 miles per year. Basic fitness rides are scheduled for Mondays and Thursdays from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. and begin at a fixed point. A socially active group, the club offers weekend rides at least once a month.
Members range in age from 16 (excluding children of members) to the oldest who is over 70, said Wineland. Tom Pritchard, 60, of Madison joined the club in the mid-1990s. “I liked the idea of having a bike club,” he said. “It brought together people that had a common interest. One of my biggest hobbies is bike riding.”
He commutes back and forth to work on his bike most days. “I ride almost every day if I can.”
From January through April 2012, Pritchard has logged nearly 400 miles in club rides. “It’s fun to do, relaxing, healthy and a good way to get exercise,” he said. Pritchard’s goal is to ride cross-country on a bike.
Camaraderie is one of the main reasons he stays active with the club. “It’s a reason to ride,” said Pritchard, who is also vice president of the club.
Pritchard owns three bikes: a Schwinn Voyageur, a Trek 2100 road bike and a Schwinn Frontier mountain terrain bike. He uses the latter bike to commute to work and will also use it on a camping ride scheduled for June. Pritchard often participates in long-distance touring, many times riding from state park to state park.
In 2005 and 2006, Pritchard rode long-distance through Indiana and Ohio with the Winelands. He said the club’s “membership is lower now. I’d like to see previous members rekindle attendance and new people that are interested join.”
Members are planning a Welcome Event for Saturday, June 2, beginning at 9 a.m. The club will partner with a local gym, Mad City CrossFit, a fitness center located inside the Venture Out Business Center, 975 Industrial Dr., on the Madison hilltop. The event is free and open to all ages and will present various workshops on bicycling and include a ride.
“Basic bike education will be stressed,” said Wineland.

• To learn more about National Bike Month visit http://www.BikeLeague.org. To learn more about the Madison Area Bicycle Club, visit www.MadisonBicycleClub.org or contact Ann Wineland at: info@MadisonBicycleClub.org.  

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