Bike Across Kansas

Atchison Bicycle Club members Ethan Forsberg, Larissa Rice, Pam Rizza, Marie Moore, David Mason, Mark Goehner and Jason Johnson assemble near the Missouri River, where they will finish the Bike Across Kansas ride on June 15.

Ever traveled across the expanse of western Kansas? Can you imagine doing it on a bicycle?

Biking Across Kansas (BAK) starts this Saturday, June 8, and will finish in Atchison on Saturday, June 15. This will bring more than 1,000 people to town to celebrate the end of their long journey.

Riders will start near Goodland on June 8, and travel around 80 miles per day, spending the night in Kansas towns along the way. After overnighting in Holton on June 14, riders will travel through Effingham, and then onto Atchison to finish their journey by dipping their tire in the Missouri River.

I’m beyond impressed with the ability and determination to dedicate a week to biking across our great state. These are some tough men and women taking on this task and I can’t wait to welcome them to Atchison.

We will have a local contingent of riders from the Atchison Bicycle Club participating as well. They include Marie Moore, Jason Johnson, Mark Goehner, David Mason, Larissa Rice, Ethan Forsberg and Pam Rizza. Come out to cheer them on as they finish their 500-mile trek. This is a great crew, and I’m excited to hear about their experiences.

The BAK riders will come into town on Main Street, before they jump up to commercial at Ninth Street, then follow the parade route from there to the river. If driving that morning, please be courteous to the participants as I’m sure they will be exhausted from the long trip. Most will arrive between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.

The best place to watch riders come in will be at North Fifth and Kansas, where Jerry’s Again and The Sunflower are having a block party from 9 a.m. to Noon. Turns out that pie and beer are big with the BAK crowd, and nobody does it better than Jerry’s Again. If you are looking for a reason to drink before Noon, this is it. The Chamber of Commerce will also be passing out cowbells to make it really feel like a party.

Day drinking not your thing? Live Well Live Atchison will be having a kids bike rodeo, and party trailer down at Independence Park where the riders finish up by dipping their front tire in the Missouri River. The city’s public works department will paint a streetscape on the parking lot so that kids can learn how to bike safely through intersections. This is a nice flat area where Atchison kids can learn how to ride bikes long after the ride participants have left town.

What a great opportunity to showcase Atchison, but let’s not leave all the celebrating to our out of town guests. Come out, have a great time, and celebrate a huge accomplishment by all these riders. Did I mention that there will be beer and pie?

Shawn Rizza has served on the City Commission since January 2018. His colleagues elected him as Mayor of Atchison earlier this year.

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