Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

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Can cycling rejuvenate Sharon?

by John Halverson

August 23, 2012

SHARON A CYCLING MECCA? That’s the hope of riders and community leaders alike. A biking event was held there Saturday that will help kickoff Sharon’s efforts.
It's a classic case of inspiration.

Turn a negative into a positive.

Sharon is in the middle of nowhere, right? That's a negative, right?

Not the way Village President Diana Dykstra and world famous cyclist and Sharon resident Lon Haldeman see it.

"The closest stop light is in Walworth nine miles away," Haldeman says.

So how does all this become a positive for this community with a population of less than 2,000?

All that surrounding space of wonderful scenery, quiet roads and views unobstructed by industry is a great setting for cyclists wanting to spend an afternoon of pastoral bliss interrupted with a few stops at area ice cream shops.

Dykstra and Haldeman and other community leaders want to turn Sharon into a bicycling Mecca.

The first leg of that campaign occurred Saturday with the annual Roun'Da Manure bike tour and a ribbon cutting that included dignitaries from around the state.

Dykstra spoke with passion about the idea and about her own new-found appreciation for cycling.

"I just bought my first real bike," she said with pride.

And she pointed out the village had bought the new-age bike racks too, where the bikes hang instead of slide between metal slots as is the case with old school racks (although the city has plenty of those, too).

Haldeman once set a world record for riding a bike across the United States that still stands 30 years after it was set, so he knows how to organize such an event.

What can an enthusiastic village president and a cyclist of national reputation do to start a movement?

Well, a lot apparently.

The event Saturday established four different routes around the Sharon area ranging from 16.1 miles to 23.5 miles Along the routes were ice cream shops, cafes and other resting spots.

It was a well-organized event because Haldeman actually organizes bike tours for a living through the Pac Tour. That group has organized bike races that have spanned the United States 80 times in the past 30 years.

Among the dignitaries attending were Kevin Hardman of the Wisconsin Bike Federation, Sarah Klavas, representing the Wisconsin Department of Tourism, Rep. Amy Loudenbeck, who represents the Sharon area in the state legislature and State Senator Neil Kedzie.

As part of the ribbon cutting ceremony, Kedzie summed up the day perfectly:

"Sharon is a small village with a large vision," he said.