Location: Kansas

Biking Across Kansas 2009 Preview

Biking Across Kansas 2009Tomorrow, June 6th, is the official start date for Biking Across Kansas, the annual bicycle tour across the Sunflower State.

Today, more than 800 riders are converging on the town of Syracuse, only 17 miles from the Colorado border. People coming from Kansas City began loading their bikes on trucks and boarding buses at 6am this morning for an all-day trip across the state. Getting moving early is good practice for the week, as many days on the road begin at sunrise!

As riders filter into Syracuse today, they’ll sign in, pick up their information packets, and set up their campsites on the school grounds. If they have time, they’ll likely get on their bikes and begin pedaling west for a photo-op at the Colorado state line. Riders who ride to the line and back can make a leisurely start the next morning; riders who don’t make the Friday run will need to do so Saturday morning, turning the 52-mile day into an 86-mile day, a long ride to start a long week!

Here’s a map of the route across the state:

Biking Across Kansas 2009 Route

  • Friday, June 5: Syracuse, a town of about 1800 people, located near the original route of the Santa Fe Trail, along the Arkansas River.

  • Saturday, June 6: Syracuse to Garden City, about 52 miles. Garden City is one of the largest communities in Western Kansas, with a population of about 28,000. It is also home to the Garden City Bicycling Club, which I’m sure will be out in full force to welcome their fellow cyclists. BAK riders can also find comfort and support at The Bike Rack, Garden City’s local bike shop.

  • Sunday, June 7: Garden City to Jetmore, about 56 miles. Jetmore is the county seat of Hodgeman County, with a population of about 900 folk. Jetmore is home to the Haun Museum, which provides a glimpse into the daily life of early settlers.

  • Monday, June 8: Jetmore to St. John, about 77 miles. St. John boasts about 1300 people, and is known for its beautiful Victorian download square featuring a three-tier fountain.

  • Tuesday, June 9: St. John to Halstead, about 78 miles. Halstead has a population of about 1900 people, and bills itself as “The biggest little city in Kansas”. During the day’s ride, the route will take cyclists near Hutchinson, home of Harley’s Bicycles, which is one of the oldest bike shops in the state, serving the area since 1922.

  • Wednesday, June 10: Halstead to Eureka, about 84 miles. Eureka, with about 2900 citizens, is known as the “Racing Capital of Kansas,” and is home to the Eureka Downs quarter-horse race track.

  • Thursday, June 11: Eureka to Humboldt, about 73 miles. After riding due east for most of the week, Thursday’s route begins a northward jog to Humboldt, a town of about 2000, which was the birthplace of Walter Johnson, a Hall of Fame baseball pitcher known as “The Big Train”, winning 417 games and striking out 3,508 batters in a 21-year career.

  • Friday, June 12: Humboldt to Paola, about 85 miles. Continuing east and then north, the route will take riders through Blue Mound and Osawatomie, home to abolitionist John Brown, and on to Paola, with a population of about 5000.

  • Saturday, June 13: Paola to Louisburg, about 23 miles. Louisburg, a town of about 2500 people, is located just south of Kansas City, near the Missouri border. I know this route well; there are some good-sized rollers on the road from Paola to Louisburg, a kick-yer-butt finish to near 550 miles of rural Kansas roads!

Each night during the week, BAK organizers hold a riders meeting, discussing the next day’s route and weather, and letting people know about the activities planned in the next town. In addition to the daily meeting, BAK is trying something new this year, using text messages and Twitter to keep riders informed.

Whether you’re riding along with the pack, or just watching from afar as I am this year, you can follow BAK on Twitter and Facebook. You can also watch for updates and images during the week at bak.org, or send a message to a rider using the BAKMail system.

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About The Author

By Randy Rasa, editor/webmaster at Kansas Cyclist, the web's premier Kansas cycling information site, featuring authoritative guides to Kansas cycling clubs, bike shops, organized bike rides, touring, trails, and much more. [learn more]

One response to “Biking Across Kansas 2009 Preview”

  1. How long does it take the average rider? I think it would be a relatively easy ride because it is such a flat route. Its long but not terribly challenging as far as hills go.