Chester C. Wells Memorial Labor Day Bike Ride 2015

Chester C. Wells Memorial Labor Day Bike Ride

Chester C. Wells Memorial Labor Day Bike Ride

It was Labor Day, 1913, when a rising star in the journalism world hopped a train in his hometown of Freeport IL, arriving a short time later in Madison at this depot. He was going to have a routine medical procedure, a tonsillectomy, before leaving for his first job after graduation from the University of Wisconsin. Tragically, the operation went bad and he died on the operating table. He was the second national president of Sigma Delta Chi, now known as the Society of Professional Journalists. Ever since, SDX/SPJ has awarded the highest annual honor bestowed on members in the name of their second president, the Wells Memorial Key.

Plans for a memorial centennial ride fell through, but last year I was able to complete the Madison to Freeport ride with my good friend Cameron Mooney.

This year I felt another ride coming on, and with a pre-rideĀ  yesterday, from Deerfield to Aztalan, was actually able to cover the same distance (about 64 miles) over two days.

Ready for the ride back from Aztalan

Ready for the ride back from Aztalan

Made it all the way to the Crawfish River

Made it all the way to the Crawfish River

Not much shade in the London Swamp muck farm

Not much shade in the London Swamp muck farm

Getting an early start this morning, I found traffic on the John Nolen Drive bike trail quite light.

I was number 63. On a normal  morning the ride counter would be five times this number.

I was number 63. On a normal morning the ride counter would be five times this number.

The Camp Randall Memorial Arch was erectedd while Chester Wells was a student at the UW

The Camp Randall Memorial Arch was erected while Chester Wells was a student at the UW.

This year the ride included the Pheasant Branch Conservancy

This year the ride included the Pheasant Branch Conservancy

Further down the trail.

Further down the trail.

A pair of Sandhill cranes, morning grooming.

A pair of Sandhill cranes, morning grooming.

Continuing on to Governor Nelson State Park

Continuing on to Governor Nelson State Park

Saw another pair of cranes at Governor Nelson park, then this third pair at the Central Wisconsin Center.

Saw another pair of cranes at Governor Nelson park, then this third pair at the Central Wisconsin Center.

Also stopped to admire the Troy Community Gardens, on Madison's north side.

Also stopped to admire the Troy Community Gardens, on Madison’s north side.

Also stopped at the Tenney Park locks to visit with Greg Anderson, the lock tender.

Also stopped at the Tenney Park locks to visit with Greg Anderson, the lock tender.

Then rushed through the east side of Madison in order to make it home time for our Labor Day picnic.

Then rushed through the east side of Madison in order to make it home in time for our Labor Day picnic.

The end

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