Corey and Maxine Hengen
"We cross the finish line side by side" is the approach Corey and Maxine Hengen take with biking and marriage. This Bay View couple rode a tandem on their wedding day 13 years ago and became serious about biking adventures a few years later.
Corey and Maxine show us how easy overnight bike trips as well as the joy of organized bike adventures.
What are some of the simple overnight bike trips you've taken leaving from your home?
Maxine: Our first self-supported trip was in celebration of our eighth wedding anniversary with a 150 mile, 3-day ride from Milwaukee to New Glarus. Corey road his Trek and I rode a recumbent trike to carry our gear in panniers. The recumbent was great because I got sick two years earlier and as a result lost my sense of balance, which made it challenging to ride on two wheels.
We organized the trip to enjoy Wisconsin breweries and stay at hotels along the way. Our first day was a ride to Lake Mills for a stop at Tyranena Brewing. On the second day, we headed to Madison with a visit to Ale Asylum and Karben 4 Brewing . The final day ended in New Glarus where a bouquet from Corey was waiting in our hotel room to celebrate our anniversary. We explored the town and rode to the New Glarus Brewery. Two Milwaukee friends met up with us in New Glarus and took us home.
Corey: Another easy trip was our one-day ride from Milwaukee to Sheybogan on an anniversary trip utilizing the Rails To Trails system. We stayed in a hotel, bummed around the town, and ate at local restaurants. We rode home mostly downhill!
You have taken longer more organized adventures as well. Where have you ridden?
Maxine: Our first overnight trip in 2011 was a big deal because it was the Register's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI), a seven day 500-mile bike ride from Missouri to the Mississippi River. Over 10,000 journey through small Iowa towns and camp along the way. It was RAGBRAI's hottest rides on record, but we did it and crossed the finish line together.
We rode RAGBRAI again in 2015 and this time faced lots of wind, torrential downpours, and even lighting strikes that were too close for comfort. With all those hills and weather, we definitely used our bike handling skills. Truthfully, we could have pulled over to wait for better weather, but we supported each other and rode it out. We did it and had fun.
Corey: For our 10th anniversary, we rode the Pedal Petal in Silverton, Oregon, which was the first time we did a century (100 miles) through the mountains. We gained over 4,000 feet in elevation the first 25 miles riding in our smallest gear. The ride down was exhilarating offering breathtaking views of mountains, wildflower fields, and more. Crossing that finish lives was easily our greatest accomplishment and hardest one-day ride we have ever done.
We trained for Ride Across Wisconsin (RAW) in 2017 which was 175 miles from Dubuque, Iowa to Kenosha. After many self-supported training rides, Maxine decided against the rigor of RAW in favor of a more slow and steady pace. I rode 128 miles of the event before having to hand up my cleats for the day due to a medical issue. RAW training was the hardest and most rewarding.
What have you learned about biking together?
Corey: We've ridden ten centuries together (amounting to 1,000 miles each) and endless training rides. We ride together regularly from spring to fall each year because it's great spending time together and grow as a couple. We've grown to be much stronger cyclists.
Maxine: When we're on rides together we support each other. If one of us is having a tough time, the other one is there to support and encourage. Or if one of us is dozing off, the other once can challenge them to step it up.