By Jacob Mathias
It was a rainy start to the weekend for some cyclists.
A few hundred recumbent bicyclists gathered at the Hostel Shoppe this weekend for the 22nd Annual Midwest Recumbent Rally.
The rally, hosted by the Stevens Point Hostel Shoppe, is a 3-day weekend of recumbent bike rides, seminars, swap meets, test rides and exhibits.
“I think our first one only had 8 or 10 or 12 people show up,” said Jessie Bostic, a 28-year Hostel Shoppe veteran and Rally organizer. “But every year it’s grown. I think our biggest rally ever was 380 some riders.”
The weekend started off soggy when heavy rains dampened plans for a bike ride to King Cone Ice Cream that was supposed to kick of the weekend’s festivities. Bostic said a few riders braved the rain for ice cream but most took their cars.
Recumbent riders from all over the Midwest showed for the rally with some arriving from as far as Florida and Arizona.
“It’s sort of a logical place to end up so we thought we’d come to the mecca of recumbent bicycling in Wisconsin,” said James Miller. He and his wife have been riding a tandem recumbent bike together for 10 years.
Miller used to be a racing cyclist but began riding a recumbent bike after the upright models began giving him lower back pain.
“Not only is it easier on your back, it’s easier on every other part of your body,” said he said.
Bostic said that many of the Shoppe’s customer’s choose a recumbent bike to ease the pain cause by an upright bicycle. Many of the Shoppe’s recumbent customers are 40 years and older trying to ease that pain.
“They can ride further, they can ride longer. It’s more comfortable,” said Bostic. “Some people get into recumbent riding because they’ve had a stroke or maybe they have some sort of disability that doesn’t allow them to ride a two wheel bike so they get a trike.”
Bostic said the starting cost for a recumbent bike a the Hostel Shoppe is $900.
On Saturday, the recumbent riders will cycle along with the Boy’s and Girls Club Bike-A-Thon, on routes ranging from 13 to 62 miles, the longest stretching east of Amherst, Wis.
Sunday’s ride begins in Amherst at the Jensen Center in Amherst with biking routes from 8 to 41 miles.
Those wanting to join in the ride can still register by going to the Hostel Shoppe. A $20 fee applies.
The Hostel Shoppe specializes in recumbent bicycles as well as offering a full line of traditional bikes and accessories.
For a full schedule of events, click here.