Category Archives: Bike Fellowship

Recent Summer Rotary Events

Saying “Aloha” to Bruna Perez on July 24


Our thanks to Dick and Noel Pearson for hosting a Going Away Party for Bruna Perez, our Rotary Youth Exchange student who attended Edgewood High School during the past school year.  Her host families were: Terry & Liz Heinrichs, Lynne & Paul Myers, and Trey & Shelly Sprinkman.  Bruna traveled back to her home in Brazil this week.

Bike Tour de Madison led by Paul Riehemann on July 25


Thirteen members and their guests gathered for a bike ride on July 25 – the weather was beautiful!  Was followed by lunch at Bluephies on Monroe Street.  Much of the ride was in the Arboretum and on bike paths.  Flats – 0; Smiles – hundreds.

Hope you can join us on our next ride! …..August 8, Madison to Paoli, meet at   Break Away SportsCenter at 10am. Until then……

Wine Fellowshippers Gathered at Mixtacki Home on July 28


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(Photo 1: Meryl & Steve Mixtacki; Photo 2: John & Jane Wegenke; Photo 3: Ann Cardinale; Photo 4: Donna Wittke & Cheryl Wittke)

Twelve gathered at the Mixtacki residence to taste wine including Rotarians, spouses, friends, and family.  Meryl Mixtacki had prepared breads, cheese, cold cuts, an olive preparation and chocolate coated strawberries.  These were marvelously displayed and enjoyed by all, complementing the wines tasted.

Three Oregon wines by the Teutonic Wine Company were followed by Fingerlake Region wines of Konstantin Frank fame. Then we switched to the Okanagan valley of British Columbia where we tried three reds and three whites the had been sourced by Mixtacki and Wilson following their visit last year to the region with the Wellensiek’s.

The Oregon white wines included a Pinot gris and two white blends.  One blend contained 60-70% red Pinot noir according to vintage and had a pink blush with small portions of Muller Thurgau, Chasselas and Silvaner.  The other had only had 25% Pinot Noir and the white wine grapes were 50% Scheurebe (Riesling and unknown grape possibly a wild cross and Huxelrebe, another cross).  These two crosses were developed by Scheu in the early 1900’s with rebe meaning wine hence Scheurebe, while Hexelrebe was to honor the grape vine distributor – I guess you cannot have too many wines named after you.  The fascinating thing about the Teutonic Wine Company is their success at being a real little German Winery in the heart of the Pacific Northwest.

Next we traveled to the opposite side of America, to the Fingerlakes district that the Mixtacki’s had visited some time ago.  We tried a semidry and dry Riesling and a Rose, from Konstantin Frank.  Konstantin had migrated from Russia in 1951 with a Ph.D. from Odessa, with his thesis being about Vitis Vinifera in the cold climate.  At that time the Fingerlakes district was firmly in the hands of the Hybrid varieties Crossings of the Vitis Vinifera [the cultivated vines] and an American native [wild vine] Vitis Lambrusca) allowed for the early wine industry to develop in the cold eastern states. In hybrids the european Vitus [species vine] Vinifera [wine yielding vine] provides the quality taste, while the American native wild [noncultivated/wild vitis/vine] provides the weather and disease resistance that is natural to wild American vine species given their millennia of local development.

As we know every Colony of early, and therefore Eastern America, had been charged with producing wine, silk and olive oil for supply back to the Homeland, and despite valiant attempts, including that of Thomas Jefferson, the european Vitis Vinifera just could not be established there.  In 1938 Mr Wagner (newspaper editor, write and amateur vintner) wrote the first book in English on grape growing and wine making – and he was to be the champion of Hybrid grapes that could grow in the cold climate and this resulted in an “East of the Rockies” wine industry.  There developed a prolonged war between Wagner and Konstantin Frank as Frank began to establish that vinifera could grow in the cold Eastern America. Konstantin Frank was said to be stubborn, but he indeed did demonstrate that vinifera could grow in New York.  Four Frank generations have made wine from Vitis Vinifera in the Fingerlakes. His son started the first local quality Method Champenoise under the Chateau Frank label, a grandson developed a second label wine label – Salmon Run. The family wineries won 129 medals in wine competitions in 2013 alone.  Now a Great Granddaughter has an MBA in wine from Adelaide University (Barossa Country of Australia) continuing as the 4th generation of a historic winemaking family.  Meagan Frank is mentioned in the latest Wine Enthusiast N.Y. Wine Country Supplement that arrived today!

Next we moved to the Okanagan Valley region of British Columbia, Canada.  This region makes all vinifera wines well and Wine Spectator recently described it as the second best wine region of the world to visit.  Both Steve and Mike had independently tried these wines when visiting Vancouver and this was the basis of the Rotary trio visiting.  We tried three whites, all Chardonnay.  These included two Meyer’s, their standard and a named vineyard.  We also tried NK’MIP (Inkameep) chardonnay, and all were excellent.  In keeping with the underlying theme of this tasting, this Indian tribe winery was the first to transition to Vitus Vinifera from Hybrid vines in the 1970’s with now a complete displacement of the hybrid vines.

Finally we tried three red wines.  First, a Meyer Pinot Noir that I believe has rekindled my love of Pinot Noir so good was the typical Burgundian Pinot Noir nose.  Next we tried a Laughing Stock Blind Trust red blend with the actual blend under a special flap that needed to be lifted to see the wine balance.  Unfortunately this wine was slightly “corked” so everyone had an chance to see an example of why wines can be returned in a restaurant.  Then we tried a Painted Rock Red Icon, and everyone was told the new winery was indeed an icon (we saw it the day they had a wedding due, and the building and site was glorious).  The owner looks like an icon, with an appearance similar to  Richard Gere.  This man was the person who told us of a way to obtain Okanagan wines as only one winery officially ships to the US.  Using I have been able to get continuing supplies, but I think you may have to contact them to display that part of their portfolio.

As expected everyone left after an evening of fun and fellowship.

Big Wheels Bicyclists Meet with Dinner & Discussion Group October 26

–submitted by Joan Collins; photos by  Pete Christianson & Teri Venker

Goodman Event Oct 26 2014 7

(Pictured above from left: Jason Beren, Dawn Crim, Ed Van Gemert, Joan Collins, Becky Steinhoff, Teri Venker & Terry Jacobson)

Ever been to McCarthy Reserve? Even know where it is?

SPOKESwoman Becky Steinhoff who led the Big Wheels Bicycling Fellowship fall bike outing on Sunday, October 26, took us there during a hilly trip through the fall colors.  Our bike wheels met the pavement in Madison, Monona, Cottage Grove and the Town of Burke before we headed back to our stating point, The Goodman Center, where we doubled our numbers for food and conversation.

Goodman Event Oct 26 2014 6  Goodman Event Oct 26 2014 2  Goodman Event Oct 26 2014 5

(Photo 1: from left: Joan Collins, Ed Van Gemert, Becky Steinhoff, Jason Beren, Dawn Crim & Teri Venker; Photo 2: from left: Joan Collins, Bill Waldbillig, Sandra Christensen & Jim Christensen; Photo 3: Pete Christianson)

From left: Jason Beren, Jim Christensen, Dawn Crim & Roger Phelps

From left: Jason Beren, Jim Christensen, Dawn Crim & Roger Phelps

Besides the bright colors on a sunny and no-wind day, we saw Halloween decorations in one neighborhood sure to win prizes in a decorate your yard contest, as well as farm fields and peaks of Lake Monona.

Back at the Goodman Center, Becky hosted us with her fabulous lasagna (both meat and veggie) and wine, with the rest of us adding to the potluck mid-day dinner.

What’s next? Talk of a cross country ski fellowship as bicyclists switch gears for winter.

Autumn Hike at Louis’ Bluff on October 18, 2014

–submitted by Katie Ryan; photos by Herman Baumann, Karl Gutknecht & Susan Hunt

Group Photo

On Saturday, October 18, the Rotary Special Events Fellowship Group, Hiking Fellowship Group and Big Wheels Bicycling Fellowship Group and guests were invited to Frank and Mariana Weinhold’s beautiful 135-acre property, Louis’ Bluff.  The farm was settled in 1847 and is one of the oldest in Juneau County. It includes 7000 feet of shoreline along the Wisconsin River and a spectacular rocky bluff that provides an incredible view.  The October 8 Rotary speaker photojournalist Mike Kienitz went out to the site, which is about an hour and a quarter’s drive from Madison on the north side of the Wisconsin Dells, and captured the panorama with his camera-fitted drone.

At the N overlook  Photo16  Dells

You can watch his October 11, 2014,  at the you tube video “DRONE IN THE DELLS“. Our hike was on the same sort of glorious, sunny fall day.

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We gathered at the Weinhold’s house for a barbecue lunch and social time before heading out on hikes.  There are flat routes past cultivated fields and through the oak and pine woods to the beaches and a steep climb up the rocky limestone bluffs.  Most of the group of thirty headed up to the top.  There’s an overlook to the north that juts out into the Wisconsin River and provides a stunning view of the formations caused by glacial outwash. The entire property is a private conservation area, and although you see some evidence of civilization, you’d never guess you were down the road from the amusements of the Dells. There is a reminder of the tourism history however, a 1954 cedar-log replica of the Fort Winnebago blockhouse from the Fort Dells amusement park relocated at Louis’ Bluff. It was dedicated in a traditional Ho-Chunk ceremony and there are headdresses from the Bear Clan on display inside.

Native Am flute_ N overlookBesides geological interest, the entire area is sacred to the Ho-Chunk nation.  Melanie Tallmadge Sainz (left), a member of the Ho-Chunk nation whose family has a long history at the site, accompanied the hikers.  At the top she explained the Native American significance of the area and played a beautiful melody on a cedar flute.  She is director of the Little Eagle Arts Foundation.   Another special viewing was an active eagle’s nest on the Weinhold’s bluff. The group reconvened at the house for pie and ice cream.  The Weinholds opened their house, ice house, shed, beach-side gazebo and a cemetery for exploration.  It was a spectacular fall day and a great excursion for the Rotary hiking fellowship.

Fonders  Frank  Photo12

Our thanks to Frank and Mariana Weinhold for their gracious hospitality and to Petie Rudy and Leigh Richardson of the Special Events Fellowship Group for organizing this event.

Rotary “Wheel Fever” Riders October 20

–submitted by Paul Riehemann

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The authors of Wheel Fever Jesse J. Gant and Nicholas J. Hoffman gave an interesting talk as part of the Wisconsin Book Festival. Following their presentation, they led a group of Madisonians on a historical bike tour of the city.  From “boneshakers” to high-wheels and racing bikes to tricycles, Wheel Fever: How Wisconsin Became a Great Bicycling State  traces the story of Wisconsin’s first “bicycling boom.”  It covers the origins of bicycling and why those origins still matter, but it is also about Wisconsin’s continuing fascination with all things bicycle.


Pictured above from left are Rotary Bicycle Felowship participants: Paul Riehemann with daughter Danika, Mike Crane, Jason Beren, Jeff Tews with Susan Rather and Jed Engeler with Jan Cibula

Rotarian Bikers Enjoy an Autumn Ride on Madison’s East Side

Five Downtown Madison Rotarians (Joan Collins, Dan Dieck, Dawn Crim, Steve Musser and Mark Moody) and spouses and friends enjoyed a 14-mile ride along the charming and scenic bicycle paths of Madison’s east side on Sunday, Spetember 16.  The group met at Olin Park and rode at a leisurely pace all the way to Madison College along the bike paths of Madison.

The weather was perfect, a magnificent fall day.  Fresh air, sunshine and a tinge of autumn in the air.  The group rode along John Nolen Drive across the causeway, and along the Capitol City path to the Goodman Center and then along Starkweather creek and the bike path all the way to Madison College.  The ride’s ultimate destination was the fun and funky festival on Madison’s inimitable Willy Street.

Along the way we enjoyed conversation, urban gardens, the sight of charming neighborhoods and various business establishments and local institutions such as Harmony Bar, Cafe Zoma, the Goodman Center and the Bridges golf links.  We saw walkers, cyclists, children fishing, ducks and even a blue heron gliding along Starkweather creek.

Rotarian Joan Collins was our host and guide.  Her affection and appreciation for Madison’s east side and its bike trails exposed the group to new sights and the scenery, safety and tranquility of Madison’s bikeways.  For Rotarians who have never had the pleasure of participating in the Willy Street Festival with its zany and whimsical parade, we highly recommend it to you.  It is a unique Madison tradition that beautifully illustrates the unique character of Madison’s near east side. If you have never joined one of the Rotary Bicycling Fellowship events we invite you to do so; you are always welcome!

Happy trails and please remember to share the road.

–submitted by Mark Moody

Recent Rotary Fellowship Group Events

Rotary Wine Fellowship Group Event on August 16, 2012
–submittted by Ellie Schatz; photos by Dori Hosek

Keeping 15 wine tasters listening and in a semblance of order can be a daunting task. So on Thursday evening, August 16, host and fellowship group leader Mike Wilson displayed his greenstone, a form of jade found in the South Island of New Zealand. Used by the Maoris as a weapon and considered more valuable than gold, our group was duly impressed with his trinket, but not given to voting any wine the best of the evening unless it truly passed an individual test for color, aroma, body, bouquet, finish, etc.

From left: Steve Landry, Robyn Kitson, Becky Steinhoff, Mike Wilson & Steve Mixtacki

Peggy Lescrenier & Robyn Kitson

After tasting 9 of the 12 wines featured, Mike called for a vote. With a few abstentions, a zinfindel from central California won by a 7:4 vote. This gave reason for Peggy Lescrenier and Robyn Kitson to raise their glasses in celebration of their fine wine-tasting judgment.

(Pictured above from left: Patty Wilson, Peggy Lescrenier, Steve & Meryl Mixtacki, and Keith & Juli Baumgartner)

Steve Mixtacki surprised us all with an unusual finisher: a red-wine gelato. Chocolaterie Stam, a shop on Deming Way in Middleton, makes gelato out of just about anything your heart desires. Here’s to Steve’s blend of Bordeaux with ice cream. I know where I’m getting the dessert for my next dinner party!

Rotary Bicycling Fellowship Outing on August 18, 2012
–submitted by Jeff Tews

We had a delightful Saturday morning for a Bike Fellowship ride around West Madison. In attendance (above), from left, Cindy Waldbillig, John Faust, Ted Waldbillig, Sue Faust, Susan Prest, Karen Ostrov, Michael Ostrov, Jeff Tews, Allen Sherwood. Picture taken by Susan Rather.

Rotary Scotch Whisky Fellowship Event on August 20, 2012
–photos submitted by Noel Pearson
The event was hosted by Lew Harned at his home on Lake Mendota.

From left: Dan Dieck, Melanie Ramey, Lew Harned and Mike Wenzel