This is episode 20 of the Kansas Cyclist Podcast, and in this episode we interview David Williams who is the sponsor & faculty adviser for the Newton High School Student and Faculty Bike Club and who uses cycling as a means to better health and well being. We will also be checking in with Brent Hugh, the Executive Director of Missouri Bicycle & Pedestrian Federation regarding the efforts to have the State of Missouri continue to fund the Tour of Missouri Professional Bicycle Race.
Newton High School Bike Club
David “Mr. Bill” Williams is a speech and debate teacher at Newton High School in Newton, Kansas. David has a really interesting and compelling personal story — he had been morbidly obese since elementary school, maxing out at weighing 370 pounds, and eventually it began to catch up with him — diabetes, alcoholism, liver disease — and he faced some difficult decisions and an uncertain future. At this point, David made a decision to take control of his life. He stopped drinking and began to watch what he ate, the pounds began to come off, and when he added cycling on a stationary bike, he began to see real improvements.
When he got bored with pedaling indoors, David took to his son’s mountain bike and began riding outdoors, and found he loved it. Eventually, David dropped more than 130 pounds and greatly improved his health.
In September of 2008 he started the Newton High School Student and Faculty Bike Club, which is the only high school cycling club in the state. David teaches his students about bicycle safety and bicycle maintenance, and leads group rides on trails and streets in Newton. The bike club only officially meets once a month for rides during the last hour of the day, but there are many more rides that take place outside of school among students and faculty.
It’s great to see a program like this launch in Kansas, and we’re hoping it proves to be a model for other schools — getting kids out on their bikes and promoting a safe, healthy, and active lifestyle.
Tour of Missouri News
In the “On The Scene” segment of the podcast, we get an update on the Tour of Missouri from Missouri Bicycle & Pedestrian Federation Executive Director Brent Hugh. Brent’s been part of the Tour since the beginning, and no one is more knowledgeable about the race, or is a bigger fan.
You can show your support for the Tour of Missouri by following it on Facebook, signing the petition, or, especially, by contacting Governor Nixon at 573-751-3222 or http://governor.mo.gov/contact, and the Division of Tourism at 573-751-4133 or email@example.com .
Here’s a quick summary of the rest of the podcast, with links to more information:
- Tour of Missouri Troubles: Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has refused to authorize the Division of Tourism to spend the money that the state General Assembly appropriated for the tour. He wants to kill it, but it’s not quite dead yet. Please voice your support by contacting the Governor’s Office and the Division of Tourism. Learn more from MoBikeFed.
- Oblivious in Olathe: An Olathe city councilman, in speaking up against proposed bike lanes, said he hadn’t seen anyone in Olathe riding to work on a bicycle. Is he blind? Or just clueless? Contact councilman John Bacon at firstname.lastname@example.org or 913-269-6305 and let him know that lots of people ride their bikes to work, and that Olathe needs more bike lanes.
- Bike Month 2010 Celebrations in Kansas: Festivities in Hutchinson, Kansas City, Lawrence, Manhattan, and Wichita. Bike Week and the Kansas City Car-Free Challenge. Are you logging your miles?
- Ride of Silence: May 19th, events in cities throughout the region.
- The Cottonwood 200 is a three-day, 200-mile tour through the Flint Hills of Kansas, starting and ending in Topeka, and overnighting in Council Grove, May 29-31. This year’s ride is being held in honor of former Kansas University athletic director Bob Frederick, who was a longtime participant in the tour, and who died in a bicycling accident last summer.
- Pedaler’s Jamboree is a two-day bicycle tour and music festival that takes place on Missouri’s Katy Trail. The ride begins and ends in Columbia, and overnights in Boonville. May 29-30.
- The Biking Across Kansas kicks off on June 5th, covering 475 miles from Goodland, near the Colorado border, to Leavenworth on the Missouri River. Overnight stops include Colby, Hill City, Osborne, Minneapolis, Herington, Osage City, and Eudora. This is the 36th year for the event.
- June 5th is also the date for the Dirty Kanza 200, a 200-mile gravel road race through the Flint Hills of east-central Kansas, starting and ending in Emporia. This is one of the premier gravel grinders in the country, and they’re expecting over 200 riders this year, their biggest year yet.
Plus, trail news from Kansas, and a bicycle safety discussion of lane position: where’s the safest place to ride?
And finally, thanks again goes to Mark Franzke for providing the original music you hear on the Kansas Cyclist Podcast.
As always, we hope you’ll listen to the Kansas Cyclist Podcast, and consider subscribing to future episodes. We welcome your feedback, so please send in your comments or suggestions or call 913-938-6855 to leave a voice message.