Bicycling’s Economic Impact in Wausau, WI
If people want to know about the economic impact of bicycling in the Wausau Metro area, they need not look far this weekend. October 15, 2022 was the date for the Red Granite Gravel Grinder in Wausau and Marathon County.
Incredible statistics mounted as over 350 riders poured out of Downtown Wausau and onto Marathon County roads and trails. Some riding 50 miles. Some riding 85. And a few riding a whopping 144 miles of racecourses designed with on and off-road sections. Park. Some have made this an annual event, and some will return.
I find the number fascinating. The Iron Bull Red Granite Grinder has become for Wausau, WI, the largest cycling event in the area and the only one that has its start and end in the Downtown at The 400 Block.
The Red Granite Grinder is a series of three to four races. 144 miles, 85 miles, 50 miles and a 12-mile family ride event. Each race route was mapped out over a wide variety of terrain and, in some cases where cyclists don’t normally ride. Much of the off-road stretches were on ATV trails and some of the hiking trails in Rib Mountain State Park. These trails are normally not open to cycling.
Some of the bikes used were road bikes that were converted for use on gravel roads and trails by simply changing the tires for mor traction. Beyond that, the Grinder fits in with cycling by simply giving cyclists goals to achieve. Do you want to ride 50, 85, or 144 miles over rough terrain and rugged steep hills? Then you need to train for it! The rewards are greater than the pain suffered.