What started as a group of friends who were thinking about forming a bike club in 1998 has evolved into the 350-plus member Silver Wheels Cycling Club with riders in their teens to well in their eighties. “It’s a very diverse group — and when you see some of the older members who can ride 50 miles at a good pace, you’d be amazed,” says president Cheryl Burkhardt. She and her husband have been involved in the club since its early days.
Typically, the club hosts more than 600 events per year, including rides all over Lorain County, across state lines and abroad. One of the group’s most popular outings is its annual Dog Days Wine Tour where riders stop at area wineries to rest their legs, dine and sip. It can draw several hundred riders from a five-state area, says Ed Stewart, the group’s founder and director of the Elyria Bicycle Education Center.
The club is a nonprofit recreational organization that invites anyone who wants to ride to join in. (A full calendar is listed on silverwheelscyclingclub.com.) “The North Coast Inland Trail through Lorain County is a big part of many of our rides,” Burkhardt says, relating how trail connectivity allows the club to create shorter and longer rides that suit members’ pace, stamina and schedule.
The social component of the club is just as important as the biking, she adds. “You get to know the people in the group you ride with and you find your niche,” she says. “We have different riders ranging from pedal-pusher to four-star [faster] riders.”
Burkhardt, 70, says, “There are so many people in the club I look up to. I see them riding, staying healthy, enjoying each other and that freedom biking offers is something to be treasured in the county.”