ATV/UTV spells fun

on and off the road

Donna Birenbaum and her daughter Jodi Juhre, both of the Town of Fredonia, are among the Lakeshore ATV/UTV Club members who enjoy riding utility terrain vehicles. Photo by Sam Arendt
Ozaukee Press staff

Barely a day goes by that Bob Hubing and Tom Birenbaum don’t use their utility terrain vehicles.

Hubing rides one to get his mail. His wife uses it to transport soil to their garden.

“You always use it doing something,” Hubing said.

Birenbaum used to drive his vehicle when he worked his Town of Fredonia farm and now drives it to work — a several-minute commute to Cedar Valley Cheese.

“It’s easier on that machine” than driving his car, he said.

So many people in the area enjoyed the hobby of riding UTVs and all-terrain vehicles that Birenbaum, his son Ryan and Hubing a couple of years ago thought they should form a club.

Several clubs exist in a 50-mile radius, but there wasn’t one in their area.

The Lakeshore ATV-UTV Club grew quickly. It already has about 100 members.

The timing of its formation was fortunate.

“I think it blew up with the pandemic,” Tom said of the hobby. “It’s a way to get people outside other than doing something on a TV screen or computer.”

The club’s stated mission is to “create a safe and positive future for ATV/UTV recreation” and to “have fun together as a family oriented club.”

“Education is a big thing,” Ryan said, with one of the club’s primary purposes being safety.

Ryan, who also rides motorcycles, said “There’s a lot more safety in one of these than a motorcycle.”

The club has five patrol members who go through one day of classroom training and another in the field who wear yellow vests and can call a hotline to report illegal activity, Hubing said.

ATVs are different than UTVs but often serve some of the same purposes. ATVs, unlike UTVs, are for single riders and don’t come with roofs.

Both types of vehicles can travel in excess of 50 mph. “Is there a use for it? No,” Tom said.

The vehicles cost anywhere from $7,000 to $30,000, Ryan said.

They have directional lights and power steering — the law says headlights must be on at all time while they’re driven — and some come enclosed with heaters, air conditioners and radios.

Most come from the factory with road tires already installed, Tom said.

The majority of UTVs, he said, are bigger than Smart Cars.

ATVs and UTVs get about 25 miles per gallon and take unleaded gasoline just like cars and motorcycles.

Electric versions are available with hunters as one of the target markets.

“It gets you in the woods a lot quieter,” Ryan said.

To drive an ATV, drivers must be at least 12 years old and UTV drivers must be 16 in Wisconsin. Any drivers born on or after Jan. 1, 1988, must complete a Department of Natural Resources safety course.

Tom and Ryan and their families like to go up north to ride for fun, but their work schedules prevent frequent trips.

Trails up north, they said, offer pristine views only available off road “It’s unbelievable how many waterfalls there are,” Tom said.

Many attractions of ATV and UTV riding are similar to snowmobiling, although they travel on different trails. Both hobbyists take in scenery, enjoy camaraderie among riders and in their organizations support local businesses and charities.

Now with a few area communities opening their roads to ATVs and UTVs, Tom, Ryan and others can ride closer to home.

“It’s nice to jump on it and get an ice cream cone,” Ryan said.

The hobby supports local businesses as well. Riders stop at restaurants and gas stations along their way, and Ryan said he is more inclined to go to the local hardware store in Random Lake rather than hop in his car and go to a big-box store.

Visiting nearby family members is another plus.

“Instead of strapping kids in the car,” the Birenbaums take their UTVs to see each other, Ryan said

Enthusiasts also take longer rides. Tom has gone from West Bend to Fond du Lac.

The vehicles have other uses as well. Ryan attaches a blade to his and plows snow.

The club draws members from Adell, Oostburg, Random Lake, Belgium, Cedar Grove, West Bend, Port Washington and Slinger.

Members often get involved in their communities. The Lakeshore club has participated in parades in Random Lake, Fish Day in Port Washington, volunteered to clean up after Flag Day festivities in Waubeka, helped with Luxembourg Fest

in Belgium and at the Town of Fredonia’s recycling center.

Mostly, Tom said, “It’s just a group of people who want to have a good time.”

For Hubing, riding a UTV or ATV is a nice alternative as he gets older.

“I’ve got a motorcycle. I can’t handle that anymore,” he said.

The club will be one of several to participate in a charity ATV/UTV ride on Sept. 11 to support Make-A-Wish Wisconsin with rides starting at the Washington County Fair Park. Routes go into Fond du Lac and Dodge counties, Tom said, with stops at area businesses.

A similar event last year, he said, raised $27,000 for the charity that makes wishes come true for children with critical illnesses.

The club meets at 7 p.m. the second Wednesday of the month at Five Pillars Supper Club in Random Lake.

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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494


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