I am excited to announce that this year in addition to the regular crew from Fyxation, the Tour de Chequamegon will have ride support from Wheel & Sprocket and US Bicycling Hall of Famer Tom Schuler. Wheel & Sprocket has been providing support for nearly 50 years with experienced mechanics and logistical support for dozens of every year. Tom Schuler helped create and raced for the famed 7-Eleven Team and currently manages several major race series. While the past support from Fyxation has been incredible, this will take some of the staffing pressure off their growing business.
Tom is a good friend who helped me scout and ride the entire 382-mile Waterfall Bikepacking Route that I developed. On that trip we averaged about 80 miles a day, so he is well prepared to be a ride leader on route of the Tour de Chequamegon. He has also been biking and skiing in the Chequamegon National Forest for decades so he knows the area well. If you get a chance to ride next to him, ask to hear the story about riding with Bernard Hinault in the Giro d’Italia. Although he has raced against legends like Bernard Hinault and won the 1987 US Pro Road Championship, Schuler remains one of the most humble and likable icons in the sport of cycling.
I bought my first mountain bike from Chris Kegel when they only had one store in Hales Corners. Since 1973 when that shop opened with Chris as one of the first employees, ride support has been part of the company’s DNA. I bet Wheel & Sprocket has provided support for more organized rides than any shop in the country. Since those early days, Wheel has grown to 11 locations in Wisconsin and Illinois. The company is now run by Chris Kegel’s kids, Amelia, Noel and Tessa, and their ride support program has also grown as well. Throughout the summer, the Wheel & Sprocket event crew is on the road every single weekend, up before 6am, supporting thousands of cyclists every year at a variety of events, large and small.
I just finished working with the Wheel & Sprocket team on the Wisconsin Bike Fed’s Ride Across Wisconsin. Because many of the riders were starting their 225-mile ride at 5am, we all had to be set up and ready to wrench on bikes by 4 AM. Some of the riders didn’t finish until 10 PM, but the crew from Wheel always had a smile and a wrench or new tube despite the very long work days.
If you are not a great bike mechanic, we advise everyone to have a local shop give their bikes a good once over before the ride. Of course everyone should also bring a couple spare tubes, a mini pump and a multitool on the Tour de Chequamegon. Hopefully you won’t need to use them or the mechanical support from Wheel & Sprocket, but we have it covered just in case.