The Village of Cambridge is set to honor one of their own with a new bike trail that will be named after Phil Van Valkenberg, a 2017 inductee into the Wisconsin Bicycling Hall of Fame. The trail will connect CamRock County Park with the Glacial Drumlin trail via some new off-street paths and quiet town roads.
The Cambridge Village Board approved naming the bike trail in honor of Van Valkenberg on April 13. Construction is expected to begin later this year on the extension of an existing off-road route that begins at CamRock and runs west along U.S. Highway 12/18 from England Street to an existing path through The Vineyards neighborhood. From there it will go north through property owned by the Cambridge Foundation, and then on low-traffic town roads to the Glacial Drumlin State Trail.
The new trail is estimated to cost about $400,000 with funding from public and private local contributions, Dane and Jefferson County grants and a state stewardship grant.
Van Valkenberg, also known in the cycling community as Pee Qui, was the head of marketing at the Telemark Resort and helped promote silent sports in the Cable, Seeley and Hayward area in the early 80s.
He is recognized as the father of Wisconsin bicycle tourism since he published the first guide to cycling in Wisconsin in 1974 with his “Wisconsin Bike Trips, Twenty Tours for Young and Old.” Since that first Wisconsin cycling guide, he privately published eight more books on bicycling in Wisconsin and the Midwest and seven editions of the Wisconsin Biking Guide for the Department of Tourism.
He has also led guided tours in Europe, helped organize the first Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival in Hayward, started the Fat Tire Tour of Milwaukee and the Steel is Real Ride. All of which continue to attract thousands of riders every year and are now considered bucket list rides for cyclists from across Wisconsin and beyond.
In order to help fund the trail, Van Valkenberg is donating three of his vintage bicycles for auction on eBay. The Graftek is not yet up for auction, but you can find any of these bicycles by searching the cycling category for the word Camrock:
- A 1977 Graftek, which is one of the first carbon lugged bicycles.
- A 1975 Sekai Superlight 5000, which only weighs 17 lbs, incredible for a 21-speed incredible vintage steel bicycle.
- His very rare 1940 Hetchins curly-stay frame, built with a Sturmey Archer 3-speed hub.
- And his partner Georgia Kaften is donating her custom Waterford Precision Cycle road bike built with S&S couplers.
In an interview with the Cambridge News, Van Valkenberg called the new route “a fantastic opportunity for the village of Cambridge,” to tie into a key Wisconsin bike route that further ties into trails in neighboring states. He said he hopes the second phase of the trail project will add additional off-street paths to further improve the connection with the Glacial Drumlin State Trail.
The public is invited to the trail dedication ceremony and party, scheduled August 1st from 2:30 – 4:30 p.m. at the Cambridge Winery, 700 Kenseth Way. The festivities will include free soft drinks and hors d’oeuvres, live music by the Trophy Husbands, of Cambridge, and a silent auction. The actual groundbreaking ceremony will be at 3 p.m.