Three Cheers for Silent Sports

Back in the late 1980s, when our Bikecentennial offices were on West Main Street in Missoula, I remember always being happy when a certain magazine — bimonthly, I believe — out of Wisconsin called Silent Sports would land in our mailbox. There was something about the publication that really caught the spirit of human-powered travel, whether it was talking road riding, mountain biking (then a very youthful sport), canoeing, cross-country skiing, or one of several other activities. Some of the stories and columns were competitive in nature, while others focused on the enjoyment and recreational aspect of silent sports. I always wondered why more publishers in other regions of the country didn’t pick up on the concept.

I hadn’t thought about the magazine in years; if I had, it probably would have been in a nostalgic, “Huh, I wonder what ever happened to …” sort of way. So I was pleasantly surprised last week when I happened across the Silent Sports website — a quick look at which makes it clear that the publication has not only persevered, but prospered. “Our first issue hit the stands in 1984 with 48 pages,” it’s written at the website. “Recent issues have checked in at nearly double that size with as many as 30 pages of event listings alone.”

The current online edition contains a thought-provoking (if not cheery) story titled You Might Not Want to Sit Down for This. In it, Bill Hauda, a cross-Wisconsin bike tour organizer and founder of the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin, provides evidence that the more we sit, the worse off we are — even if we’re active people. “According to recent studies,” he writes, “sitting too much can negate many of the health benefits you expect from your silent sports workouts, and too much time on your butt might even kill you.”

You’ll also find a piece about the Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival, which for the first time in its 28 years had to do without the storied Telemark Lodge, which closed its doors last May. (I blogged here several weeks ago about participating in the 1990 version of the festival.) In fact, there’s a bunch of good stories on cycling. Any rider, but especially those from the upper Midwest, will enjoy tapping in and taking a look.

Best of luck, Silent Sports, during your second 25 years!

BIKING WITHOUT BORDERS is posted every Monday by Michael McCoy, Adventure Cycling’s field editor, and highlights a little bit of this or a little bit of that — just about anything, as long as it’s related to traveling by bicycle. Mac also compiles the organization’s twice-monthly e-newsletter Bike Bits, which goes free-of-charge to some 40,000 readers worldwide.

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