Biking Across Kansas got underway Saturday, June 11 and continues through June 18. Bicyclists ride about 60 miles a day on the 512-mile tour of the state.
Bicycles started Saturday at the Colorado border and headed east toward Syracuse and Garden City. On Monday they’ll start in Spearville and end in St. John. Next Saturday they’ll finish the route by riding from Ottawa to the Missouri boarder.
Great Bend residents George Strobel and his son Chris took part in a shortened Biking Across Kansas event last year when George was 80 years old. Although sponsors had to cancel the regular eight-day cross-state tour in 2021, BAK made plans for a three-day rally over Labor Day weekend, Sept. 4-6, 2021. George, who is blind, rides a tandem bicycle with Chris and together they rode to Pawnee Rock, Fort Larned, Hudson, Sterling and Ellinwood.
“It was a three-day event traveling different directions out of Great Bend, which was convenient for us,” Chris later posted on Facebook. “All together over the three days were rode 92 miles over seven hours on the bike. Yes, our butts are a little sore.”
Other Great Bend residents who registered for BAK last year included David Debes, Matt Hiss, Dale Hogg, Timothy Keenan, Mark LeRoy, Delbert Randolph, Derek Vonada and Marissa Woodmansee. Larned registrants were Dru Dougan, Mya Hill, Samuel Hill, Kevin Milch, Troy Smith, and Kathy Tankersley. Jeff Lanterman from St. John was another area participant.
With the 2022 BAK underway, more than 600 riders are headed toward St. John and beyond. That doesn’t include support crews in cars and motorhomes.
BAK is not a race, but a recreational and social rally for cyclists. According to the BAK website, the event promotes health and wellness through bicycling, the history and beauty of the Kansas landscape, and the warm hospitality of the Kansas towns and people.