Big bike boom in Tonganoxie
State cycling tour to bring 850 riders to town Friday
The 43rd year of the longest-running bicycling event in Kansas history — a 522-mile ride across the Sunflower State — will be stopping for a big night in Tonganoxie.
Biking Across Kansas started June 10 at the Colorado line west of Tribune and will make an overnight stop Friday in Tonganoxie.
About 850 cyclists are expected to stay in Tonganoxie, with many spending the night at Tonganoxie High School.
Other overnight stops on the eight-day tour are Dighton, WaKenney, Plainville, Lincoln, Chapman and Rossville.
The cyclist will finish up the tour Saturday in Leavenworth.
Tonganoxie will be rolling out the red carpet for the cyclists, as a beer garden will be in the Myers Hotel Bar courtyard.
Across the street to the south in the open grass lot will be performances by Rusty Rierson from 6:30-8 p.m. and 8:30-10 p.m. Rierson, originally from Leon, Kan., was a contestant on “American Idol.”
Organizer Monica Gee said there would be food trucks open on Third Street between Delaware and Main streets.
The street will be blocked off for a block party atmosphere.
Free State will have a beer truck on site also.
One of the food vendors even resembles a covered wagon and sells home-churned ice cream.
The event is open to the public.
The area will be a Tonganoxie hot spot for the second consecutive weekend, as Tonganoxie Days took place in Gallagher Park and the nearby area this past Saturday.
Spectators also are welcome to greet cyclists Friday afternoon as they come into Tonganoxie.
The cyclists will come in from the south on U.S. Highway 24-40. They’ll turn on to Fourth Street and head downtown before taking Main Street to the THS campus.
They will make their way Saturday to Delaware Street in Leavenworth where spectators also are welcome. They will celebrate the end of the tour at the Riverfront Community Center in downtown Leavenworth.
“The 2017 route offers BAK bicyclists a memorable tour of quintessential Kansas landscapes,” said David Rohr, Chairman of Biking Across Kansas, Inc. “Starting in the High Plains of Western Kansas, participants will enjoy easy pedaling along K-18 through the green valleys of the Saline and Smoky Hill rivers, the rolling Flint Hills and the scenic byways leading to the Missouri River at Leavenworth.
“Some of the highlights include the Garden of Eden in Lucas, the Eisenhower Museum in Abilene and the Flint Hills Discovery Center in Manhattan,”
Participants range in age from nine to 90 years old and represent multi-generational families. Many riders will be from Kansas, but entries will also represent 30 states, including as far away as Vermont, Pennsylvania, Florida, Arizona, Washington and California.
Marci Penner and WenDee Rowe, co-authors of “Kansas Guidebook 2 for Explorers,” shared about attractions and towns on the route when the cyclists were in Tribune. In WaKeeney, Ken Spurgeon joined riders for a showing of his Home on the Range docudrama.
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.
For more information on Biking Across Kansas 2017 visit www.bak.org.