History

History

of the Will B. Rolling to Ben Bikin' Tour

Back in 1995, Sparta designed and manufactured a large fiberglass “man” dressed in Sparta colors (red and gold), sitting on a penny-farthing bike. The design was late 1800’s style, which was appropriate as Sparta became a City in 1854. The bike and rider were installed in the Information Center area on the corner of Water and Hwy 16, a prominent spot for viewing and named the structure “Ben Bikin’”. The manufacturer for the statue is a local company in Sparta called Fiberglass Animals Shapes & Trademarks (F.A.S.T. Corp)

The Mayor of Port Byron visited Sparta to ride the famous Elroy-Sparta Trail in 2013 and was impressed with the statue. He commissioned F.A.S.T. to build a replica of Ben Bikin’ for his town in Port Byron, IL and named it “Will B. Rolling”.

A friendship between the two mayors rose, and they talked about creating a bicycling event between the two towns.

The Sparta Area Chamber was asked to get involved, and started collaborating with the two cities. We eventually hired Bicycle Illinois to coordinate the logistics of the event.