It was an awesome ride! Of course I am talking about the 2011 version of Bike Across Kansas. Returning to work Monday, after a week of riding our tandem bike from border to border, my mind was filled with great memories of people and places. Hats off to the committee of volunteers who plan and support the ride for the 800+ participants. The communities that we lunched or stayed overnight at showered our group with great hospitality. Often times our group would double or even triple the size of town we were visiting. The town of Beeler even opened up their former school house and community members served us a nice meal in the heat of the day.
Three stormy days which dubbed the 2010 BAK as one of the wettest were replaced this year with dry and breezy days. Well, I guess the day we rode from Hoisington to McPherson was more than breezy. First there was a cross wind as we traveled on Highway 4 as far east as Marquette. Then after re-hydrating and enjoying lunch there, the last 24 miles alternated between stiff headwinds or a cross wind.
But the neatest thing happened as we were leaving Marquette. Andrew Dickson, from Scotland, had joined our group after encountering flat tires in western Kansas. Loaded down with all of his gear, we were quite comfortable riding beside him for nearly two hours, learning about his life and travels. Andrew was riding across the United States to raise awareness for his cause; early onset Alzheimer’s disease, had snatched his wife before they could enjoy some of their shared dreams. His message to everyone was to “do the things you want to do now!” As I commented about the terrible wind and the challenge the last few miles of the day presented Andrew reminded me that I was alive and able to pedal along, doing what I enjoy.
That certainly put it into perspective. Andrew was right. As crazy as it might seem to some folks I was doing what I enjoy. Once again our BAK experience provided a wonderful vacation for John and me. We renewed friendships from last year and made new ones too.
The age range for the riders this year was 9 to 85. One lady we visited with had ridden BAK every year except one since 1984; the year she was nursing a broken ankle. This year she had a knee replacement in February, but that did not stop her from completing the ride. There were many more similar stories of people overcoming obstacles and stepping up to the challenge. People lingered longer at the celebration picnic which marked the end of the 500 mile ride across Kansas; after all, there was a lot to celebrate!
I have a few copies of the Extension bulletin titled “Living Life Richer” available so you can see for yourself how to achieve a more satisfying life. Instead of having a lifestyle characterized by constant busyness that can foster irritability, poor decision-making or negative health consequences, take time to discover how to slow down and enjoy life more.
P.S. The list of people who supported us along the way includes our son, Matt who drove us and our gear to the Colorado boarder. Others who helped us out included: Art, Betty, Mike, Evelyn, Robyn, Ann, Rachael, Dale, Lewis, Clarita, Carla, Janae, Nancy, Shannon, Liz, Ray, Ron, Mary Lou, Kristen, Art and Calyn. Thanks everyone!
Donna Krug is the Family and Consumer Science Agent with K-State Research and Extension – Barton County. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org