Sparta Area Chamber of Commerce: Partners for a bike tour

Tim Hyma, Executive Director

Office: (608) 269-4123

E-mail: [email protected]

Fall bike tour ties Port Byron and Sparta’s ambassadors — Will B. Rolling and Ben Bikin’

Sparta, WI – The Sparta Area Chamber of Commerce has partnered with several communities to create the 1st annual “Will B. Rolling to Ben Bikin’” bike tour to be held October 3-9, 2015. This is a bi-state project that entails Northern Illinois and Southwestern Wisconsin. The project is going to be held the second week of October, as this is when the area has full fall color. The ride will be over a six day period averaging ten hours per day. Northern Illinois and Southwest Wisconsin have the beautiful rolling hills to provide opportunities for avid and amateur bicyclists alike. The second weekend of October also coincides with Sparta’s Fallfest, so the group will have a reason to stay longer for the festivities after the ride to enjoy the outdoor events all weekend.

Regional partnerships are the key to good tourism practices, and the partnering for this event will have a huge impact on the area. With scheduled rest stops in Cuba City, Livingston, Highland, Muscoda, Hill Point, North Freedom, Wonewoc, Camp Douglas, Wilton and Norwalk, these towns will have the opportunity to promote their areas to participants. The ride is concentrating on promoting biking in the area, and the great fall color while ending it at the “Bicycle Capital of America” for outdoor festivities at the end.

Port Byron has a history of biking enthusiasts, and Sparta is the “Bicycling Capital of America,” so this is a great way to partner and get people to enjoy the outdoors. With the natural terrain, attractions, historical sites, and friendly small towns along the route- riders have a wide variety of outdoor activities to enjoy.

Back in 1995, Sparta designed and manufactured a large fiberglass “man” dressed in Sparta colors (red and gold), sitting on a penny-farthing bike. The design was late 1800’s style, which was appropriate as Sparta became a City in 1854. The bike and rider were installed in the Information Center area on the corner of Water and Hwy 16, a prominent spot for viewing and named the structure “Ben Bikin’”. The manufacturer for the statue is a local company in Sparta called Fiberglass Animals Shapes & Trademarks (F.A.S.T. Corp).

The Mayor of Port Byron visited Sparta to ride the famous Elroy-Sparta Trail in 2013 and was impressed with the statue. He commissioned F.A.S.T. to build a replica of Ben Bikin’ for his town in Port Byron, Illinois, and named it “Will B. Rolling.”

A friendship between the two mayors rose, and they talked about creating a bicycling event between the two towns. The Sparta Area Chamber was asked to get involved, and started collaborating with the two cities and points between. They eventually hired Bicycle Illinois to coordinate the logistics of the event.
Participating Municipalities: The following cities were selected as stop over’s during the ride; Port Byron, IL/ Savanna, IL/ Plateville, WI/ Richland Center, WI/ Reedsburg, WI/ Elroy, WI/ Sparta, WI. Rest stops in Wisconsin are schedule for rest stops in Cuba City, Livingston, Highland, Muscoda, Hill Point, North Freedom, Wonewoc, Camp Douglas, Wilton and Norwalk.

For more information and to register for the event visit:

About Sparta Area Chamber of Commerce

The Sparta Area Chamber of Commerce is dedicated to fostering community prosperity and improving the quality of life through cooperation, promotion, education & active leadership, as well as, enhancing economic benefits and provides networking opportunities for members.

Our Mission: “Welcoming Businesses, Unifying the Community, Creating Possibilities”
For more information on the Sparta Area Chamber of Commerce’s services, activities, and programs, please visit: or call (608) 269-4123.