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Pedal & Cup closes for season, unless it's a really nice day

October 13, 2010 | 08:48 AM
Springfield — It's a beautiful fall day. The air is warm and the leaves are turning.

It's the perfect day for a bicycle ride. And it was the perfect last weekend for the Pedal & Cup.

The bright red, former railroad depot, is a combination resting spot, bike rental, snack shop and tourist stop owned by Tim and Karen Schinke of Springfield. It's located at the midway point on the White River Trail, a 12-mile a bike-and-hike path that runs from Elkhorn to Burlington.

The Schinkes also own two travel agencies, Lake Geneva Travel and Chocolate City Travel in Burlington.

The Schinkes have been running the little shop for six years now, Karen Schinke said. She said it opens the first weekend in May, "or when the weather is good," she said. The little shop usually closes for the season on Columbus Day weekend, Schinke said. This year, Pedal & Cup's last official day was Sunday, Oct. 10.

But if the weather stays warm, the little shop may open up to accommodate the bicyclists using the pathway, Schinke said.

"Last year we opened for several days in November when the weather was nice," she said.

On the Friday before that last weekend, Robert Mardirossian and wife M. Lavin of Evanston, Ill., were riding the White River Trail just north of Lake Geneva. They rode 22 miles on the trail on a rented tandem bike.

It was late on an exceptionally warm October afternoon when they pulled up to the Pedal & Cup to return their rental.

This was their first time on the path, Mardirossian said. He said he read about it in a Chicago magazine, and he and his wife wanted to try it.

They rented the tandem from Pedal & Cup, which is at the halfway point on the trail.

Lavin said they rode about 22 miles along the path, which stretches from Elkhorn to Burlington.

"It was a very nice first ride and not have to worry about traffic," Mardirossian said.

This was also their first time on a tandem bike, and the first time at Pedal & Cup.

Lavin said she'd like to come back next year, maybe in the spring.

Joanne Abbe of Elkhorn, rode the bike trail four times this year. She said she usually stops at Pedal & Cup at the midway point, sometimes for coffee, or, as she did this Friday, a pack of gum.

Abbe works in Burlington. "I got off work early today and I thought it would be a perfect day for a ride," she said.

Inside, the Pedal & Cup has several tables. There are racks of tourist books, hand-made crafts and postcards.

On a blackboard is a handwritten menu listing such favorites as bratwurst and pizza, and some eclectic items as a braunschweiger and onion sandwich.

The floors, walls and woodworking are preserved from the shop's railroad depot days.

The station master's desk is still in the building, just behind the counter.

Gary Large, a former Burlington deputy police chief, worked the counter in the Pedal & Cup, along with Karen Schinke's mother, Wilelmina Peters, who is 92.

Next year, the depot will celebrate its centennial, Schinke said.

She said she's planning some special events to mark that special event.

In the 1950s, Tim Schinke's father bought the old railroad depot as an office and storage building for his lumber yard.

He had to move the building across Highway 120 to his property.

The depot's remodeling isn't done yet, Schinke said. She said she hopes to turn a storage room into more retail space.

The White River State Trail follows a former rail corridor as it travels between Elkhorn and Burlington, passing by a number of bridges, small towns, farmlands, and wetlands in Wisconsin's Southeast Glacial Plains landscape.

The western end of the trail starts at County Road H near Elkhorn and the eastern end of the trail is at Spring Valley Road near the Walworth-Racine county line, just west of Burlington.

The trail traverses the communities of Springfield and Lyons.

The trail is operated by Walworth County and is within five miles of Lake Geneva and Big Foot Beach State Park.

Bicyclists 16 or older need a Wisconsin State Trail Pass while using the trail.

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