Kandango 2015

The 2015 edition of the Kandango Bicycle Tour took place June 4-7 in the Smoky Hills and Flint Hills regions of Kansas.

The ride started in Hays, with riders being bused in from Overland Park and Des Moines, Iowa (along with additional stops along the way). With 4 days of riding, covering over 250 miles and passing through about 17 towns, I’m not going to give a detailed daily journal (if you’re interested, check out the detailed routes and itineraries: Ellis Half Pint, Meet the Wilsons, The Road to Abilene, and J Hill Skiddy Uppy), but instead share a few photos and hope that they provide at least a flavor of what this tour was like.

Riders gather in Junction City to check in, load their bikes on the gear truck, and hop a bus to Hays.

Riders gather in Junction City to check in, load their bikes on the gear truck, and hop a bus to Hays.

Checking out the new bike lanes in Hays.

Checking out the new bike lanes in Hays.

Beer garden at Hays street party

Beer garden at Hays street party.

Lots of bikes in downtown Hays!

Lots of bikes in downtown Hays!

The magnificent St. Fidelis Catholic Church (the Cathedral of the Plains") in Victoria, Kansas

The magnificent St. Fidelis Catholic Church (the Cathedral of the Plains) in Victoria, Kansas.

Riding east out of Victoria under gathering clouds

Riding east out of Victoria under gathering clouds.

Storm clouds gather, bringing a few raindrops, between Gorham and Russell

Storm clouds gather, bringing a few raindrops, between Gorham and Russell.

Riding alongside fields of ripening wheat, north of Bunker Hill

Riding alongside fields of ripening wheat, north of Bunker Hill.

Rock fence posts and an old windmill (backed up by a modern solar panel) along the road to Luray

Rock fence posts and an old windmill (backed up by a modern solar panel) along the road to Luray.

Rolling hills headed to Luray

Rolling hills headed to Luray.

Glorying in the big sky, beautiful sunshine, and ripening wheat in central Kansas

Soaking in the big sky, beautiful sunshine, and ripening wheat in central Kansas.

Lucas Kansas is the grassroots art capital of Kansas, lot's to see in this little town!

Lucas Kansas is the grassroots art capital of Kansas, lots to see in this little town!

Rolling up the hills near Wilson Lake, not terribly steep, but quite long climbs!

Rolling up the hills near Wilson Lake; these are not terribly steep, but are quite long.

"No Bikes" sign in Wilson, Kansas. Shame on you, Wilson.

“No Bikes” sign in Wilson, Kansas. Not very welcoming, Wilson.

Fort Harker Museum in Kanopolis, a fun place to learn about one of Kansas's early forts

Fort Harker Museum in Kanopolis, a fun place to learn about one of Kansas’s early frontier forts.

Sorry for the photo quality, but this does convey the rolling hills and largely patient traffic encountered during the entire tour.

Sorry for the photo quality, but this does convey the rolling hills and largely patient drivers encountered during the entire tour. Glad to see cyclists riding properly as well!

When you're on a bike tour, why not stop and make friends along the way?

When you’re on a bike tour, why not stop and make friends along the way?

Stretching out in Salina.

Stretching out in Salina.

A glimpse of the Share-a-bike program in Abilene.

A glimpse of the Share-a-bike program in Abilene.

Abilene's Eisenhower Park has a beautiful community flower garden.

Abilene’s Eisenhower Park has a beautiful community flower garden.

Signs like this send a very unfriendly message to visitors. With all the positive bicycling momentum in Abilene, policies like this are very unfortunate.

Signs like this send a very unfriendly message to visitors. With all the positive bicycling momentum in Abilene, policies like this are very unfortunate.

Cyclists load up at the big Kandango feast in Abilene.

Cyclists load up at the big Kandango feast in Abilene.

A dung beetle at work on a rural blacktop.

A dung beetle at work on a rural blacktop.

Cyclist chat at a historic rainbow arch bridge between Woodbine and Junction City.

Cyclists chat at a historic rainbow arch bridge between Woodbine and Junction City.

A horned lizard basks in the sun.

A horned lizard basks in the sun.

Climbing J Hill near Junction City, a long pull to finish the tour!

Climbing J Hill near Junction City, a long pull to finish the tour!

I really enjoyed this year’s Kandango tour. The route around Wilson Lake (Bunker Hill, Luray, Lucas, and Wilson) was especially fun, with scenery and hills aplenty.

The Kandango organizers once again worked very hard to ensure their riders had a great experience, providing hands-on support and assistance throughout the ride, as well as high-quality food, drinks, and entertainment each night. Accommodations, whether moteling, camping, or bunking in a school gym, was well-organized.

One special call-out here: The daily route maps are little works of art in themselves (follow the links at the top of this post to see for yourself). Kudos to the graphic designer(s) who put them together — well done, indeed.

My bike for the Kandango tour was a Windsor Clockwork single-speed.

My bike for the Kandango tour was a Windsor Clockwork single-speed.

Just like last year, I found a way to make the tour a little more challenging than it probably needed to be. In 2014, I rode a 35-year-old steel 10-speed bike. This year, I rode a steel single-speed. Its 62-inch gearing turned out to be perfectly fine. I’d spin out on downhills or with a strong tailwind, of course, but just rolling along at a steady pace was comfortable, and I could spin up all the hills. Frankly, I had been a little worried about climbing J Hill leading into Junction City, but neither it nor the Wilson hills that everyone warned me about proved to be much of a problem.

Proves once again that you don’t need a fancy or expensive bike to do a tour like this!

Alas, once again, this tour was over all too soon. I’m looking forward to seeing what the Kandango crew dreams up for 2016!

Post tags: ,


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]

Comments are closed.