By Pamela Eyden - Outdoor Writer
Couples have their differences. But Sid and Sig Scheurle share one big passion — exploring new and familiar places by bicycle.
The Winona couple met on the RAGBRAI (Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa) 10 years ago. Sid had done the tour with her friends many times. Sig was a first-timer. They married the next December with their grown children gathered around and have been riding together ever since. Together they bike 3,000 to 3,500 miles every year.
“Biking is how we met, and it’s most of our recreation together,” Sid said.
They belong to the Wabasha bike club, go on several multi-day group tours each year (RAGBRAI, Great Annual Bicycle Adventure Along the Wisconsin River, Habitat 500, Spring Tune-up, Bicycle Ride Across Georgia) and plan vacations around the opportunity to ride new trails. All this and they haven’t even retired yet. Sig is a planner for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and Sid is a teacher.
They’ve ridden almost all of Minnesota’s state trails, long and short. Living in Winona, they often drive 45 minutes south to jump on the Root River Trail.
“That’s our home trail. We take that one for granted,” Sid laughed.
Their other favorites are the Cannon River Valley Trail, Sakatah Singing Hills Trail and Paul Bunyan Trail. Racing isn’t their thing; they take their time, enjoying the rising and falling of the land, the changes in scenery and the wildlife. For this, they say, Minnesota’s trails are great.
“The Bunyan Trail follows railroad beds, except for eight miles in the middle that go through the Chippewa National Forest. They are eight of the curviest, hilliest miles on any Minnesota trail. It’s gorgeous there,” Sid said.
The Scheurles’ plain Trek road bikes look like they’ve seen a few miles. They’re bikes, customized with little adjustments and add-ons. Sid hooks an i-pod to her shirt and mounts wireless speakers on her handlebars. Sig mounts his i-pod on his handlebars and wires it to computer speakers held by a waterbottle carrier below.
“I don’t believe in wearing earphones on the bike because you can’t hear what’s around you,” Sig explained. “But I’ve got to have music sometimes.”
Most favored ride music? For her, the Beatles. For him, the Rolling Stones.
“My ability to ride up hills is doubled by the Stones,” he said.
They plan vacations around the opportunity to ride new trails. They like exploring. “It’s hard to really know a place unless you walk or bike around in it,” Sid said.
The Scheurles are dedicated to bicycle touring and convinced that a lot of other people would be, too, if they’d try it.
“It’s fun! It’s cheap!” Sig said. “Don’t sell yourself short. If you can ride 20 miles you can ride across the country. You can do it, even if you think you’re out of shape. Look at me! If I can do it, you can.”
“You have to be able to change your own tire and put your chain back. That’s all. You don’t need much,” Sid said. “Call the local bike shop. They’ll know the hot trails, and where to find the best coffee and the best beer.”
Very few people bike for fun in winter in Minnesota, and neither do the Scheurles. If they can manage it, they extend the season by going someplace warm for a few days in December, maybe to Florida to bike one of their favorite routes — a dedicated trail from Jackson Beach to St. Augustine. What do they do between December and March?
“We ride stationary bikes indoors, and I run. But mainly we pout,” Sid laughed.