By JIM MISUNAS
Donna Krug received her going-away photo from her granddaughter before she started her 2015 Biking Across Kansas adventure.
“It’s a good-luck photo for the grandparents wishing us well,” said Krug, a Barton County Extension agent.
Donna and her husband John make the journey on a tandem bike. On their sixth trip, the Krugs have arrived at a formula where they ride selected routes and keep their vehicle with them.
“It’s different riding a tandem bike. John has a much harder job. But by now it’s second nature,” Krug said. “It’s an adorable ride seeing the Kansas countryside traveling 10 to 15 miles per hour. You learn so much about the small towns you travel through.”
The Krugs have ridden in 80 Kansas counties and 25 states.
“The camaraderie and atmosphere is delightful,” she said. “Riding a bike is part of our lifestyle. The best part is you build friendships. The more about meeting people than the bike ride.”
The 41st year of the largest bicycling event in Kansas history — a 505-mile ride across the state — begins on Saturday. The forecast appears promising for fair weather next week.
Biking Across Kansas is an eight-day tour originating at the Kansas-Colorado line with a route consisting of 900 bicyclists and support staff.
Some of the bicyclists will start at the Kansas-Colorado line and proceed to Johnson City Friday. The initial 49-mile route runs from Johnson City to Lakin Saturday.
Their overnight stops will be Lakin, Jetmore, Larned, Sterling, Goessel, Council Grove, and Baldwin City. The cyclists’ final night together will be in Baldwin City June 12. The following morning they will cycle to the Missouri border near Louisburg and will celebrate the end of the ride with a picnic on Saturday.
Great Bend’s other riders include Dean Chism, Robert Behrens, Dick Friedeman, Jay Knudson, Mike Kuharik, Pat Kuharik, Anthony Martinez, Alva McHenry, Kim McHenry, Donald Ronck, Gloria Siefkes, John Siefkes and Derek Vonada.
Larned riders are Dru Dougan, Cristina Goodwin, Darin Goodwin, Deana Peterson, Dr. David Sanger, Katelynn Sanger, Stacy Sanger, Dr. Terry Smith, Rachel Webster, Ryan Webster, Mark Slattery, Jeremiah Slattery and Kathy Tankersley.
Other riders feature Claflin’s Rhiannon Becker and Joan Klug, Pawnee Rock’s Jared Gingerich, Hudson’s Shannon Bauer and Stafford’s Lu Brister, Marie Moore and Jan Turner.
BAK is routed through Ulysses, Garden City, Kalvesta, Burdett, Hudson, Inman, Marion, Cottonwood Falls, Strong City, Osage City, and several other Kansas towns.
“We are really looking forward to the 2015 route, which includes so many great Kansas towns in some of the most scenic areas of the state,” said David Rohr, Biking Across Kansas chair. “Our participants will pedal through Fort Larned, the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge, the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve, historic Council Grove. They can explore three new overnight stops in Lakin, Goessel and Baldwin City.”
Riders will range in age from nine to 88 years old.
Families representing multiple generations has signed up. Riders are enrolled from Ireland and 36 states, including New York, Florida, New Mexico, Washington, and California.
Participants will enjoy the state’s favorable early-June cycling conditions. The main goals of Biking Across Kansas are to promote wellness through bicycling, celebrate Kansas history and the beauty of its landscape, and enjoy the warm hospitality of its towns and people.
View BAK’s route in detail to share with local citizens and highway drivers BAK 2015 Google Map. For information on Biking Across Kansas 2015, visit www.bak.org.
Friday—Colorado-Johnson City (16)
Saturday—Johnson City-Lakin (49)
Thursday—Goessel-Council Grove (74)
June 12—Council Grove-Baldwin City (80)
June 13—Baldwin City-Missouri (41)