Wheeling into area businesses

Cyclists on nationwide tour stop in Wittenberg
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Leader Photo by Miriam Nelson Members of the Bicycle Adventure Club who stopped in Wittenberg last week as part of a trip from Seattle to Boston are, from left, front row, Bill Kiess; back row, ride director Richard Gallo, Jamie Slee, Anne Slee, Graham Johnson and Val Johnson. The Slees and Johnsons are from the United Kingdom.

Twenty-seven cyclists breezed into Wittenberg on July 18 for one of the stops on a trip that began in Seattle on June 11 and will end in Boston on Aug. 8.

The trip is one of the 25 to 30 U.S. tours planned by the Bicycle Adventure Club each year, according to volunteer trip director Richard Gallo.

The cyclists stayed at the Best Western Wittenberg Inn, ate at local restaurants and visited the WOWSPACE.

Sally Jo Stevens, vice president of the Wittenberg Area Chamber of Commerce and general manager of the Best Western, worked with Gallo as he planned the trip’s itinerary.

“I have been reaching out and promoting for over three years to build tourism with our trail system,” Stevens said. “It was a great piece of tourism for the Wittenberg area.”

Gallo said he definitely wanted a stop near Green Bay. “There were several towns to choose from, but when Wittenberg had the murals it sealed the deal,” he said.

“You love the small town America like this where we can see something like the murals,” Gallo said. “Wittenberg, for its murals is just amazing.”

Walls Of Wittenberg member Elaine Diffor, who was at the WOWSPACE that afternoon, met Bill Kiess, of Sun City, Arizona, who, at age 87, was the oldest cyclist on the trip. Kiess did his first tour with the club when he was 74.

Diffor said two couples from the United Kingdom were impressed with the community’s murals. They noted that they were prepared for the vastness of the United States but were surprised by the straightness of the roads and appreciated the variety of scenery, she said.

Gallo said the cyclists, who travel about 60 to 80 miles per day, after leaving Wittenberg would head into Michigan before venturing into Ontario and then dipping back down into New York, Vermont and New Hampshire before finishing in Massachusetts.

According to cyclist Lynn Wachtel, of Champaign, Illinois, part of the fun is meeting people along the way.

“We all know we’re expected to support the businesses if we stop and use their facilities,” Wachtel said, “and it’s a great way to experience the food of the area.”

Wachtel and her husband, Ira, and some of the other cyclists had lunch at Tavern Front and ice cream at A&W before heading out to the Best Western for the night.

“About eight of the cyclists stopped in,” A&W owner Nancy Homen said. “It’s awesome that they stopped in Wittenberg to see our murals and spend money at our businesses.”

The cyclists each paid $6,590 for the adventure that will cover 3,300 miles.