Archive for Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Bike enthusiasts pass through county during seven-city tour

A rider on the annual Buffalo Bill Century bike tour passes through downtown Tonganoxie last year.

A rider on the annual Buffalo Bill Century bike tour passes through downtown Tonganoxie last year.

September 24, 2008

Cyclists will have the opportunity to explore the scenic rolling countryside of Leavenworth County this weekend through the 26th Annual Buffalo Bill Century "Tour of Seven Cities" ride.

An estimated 200 riders will gather in Leavenworth Sunday, Sept. 28, to participate in the day long event that could potentially take them through six other cities in Leavenworth, Johnson and Douglas counties including Lansing, Basehor, De Soto, Eudora, Tonganoxie and Easton.

"We offer five different loops of various lengths," Buffalo Bill coordinator Baron Powell said.

The shortest route is the blue loop at about 8 miles followed by the 36-mile yellow loop. Powell estimated that about 50 percent of this year's riders will choose the 59-mile orange loop, which is the first route to make it through Basehor. The pink loop is an 85-mile trek.

"Finally, for those hearty fellows that like to spend all day in the saddle, we have the long loop, which is 104 miles and that's the green loop," Powell said. "It goes through all seven cities. We anticipate 200 riders this year and I wouldn't be a bit surprised if we had as many as 50 riders going the full hundred."

Check in and registration will begin at 7 a.m. at the pavilion at Esplanade and Cherokee in Leavenworth, but participants can pre-register at to save a little time on the day of the ride. The cost is $30 and the first 200 entrants receive a T-shirt. A mass start will follow at 8 a.m.

Basehor residents can expect to see cyclists riding south down 155th Street from about 9 to 10:30 a.m. Many of them will also stop briefly at Basehor City Hall because it will be a "stop and go," or SAG, for the riders to pick up water and stop for a brief rest.

There will be multiple SAGs along each loop and residents can expect riders to trickle through De Soto from 9:30 a.m. to noon, Eudora between 9:45 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. and Tonganoxie from about 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Powell said to keep in mind that this is a ride rather than a race, so the flock of cyclists will spread out quite a bit as the day progresses.

"Motorists shouldn't have trouble navigating around the cyclists," Powell said. "We just ask that they be careful. We're also going to encourage the riders to be mindful of traffic, be courteous, be safe and most of them do a good job with that."

While it is still a small event, Powell hopes that it will turn into a major cycling event for the area in the future. Rides like this, he said, have the potential to grow into events that can positively impact the economy with all of the extra people coming into the area to stay at hotels and visit other businesses. Right now, the goal is to welcome visitors and make each of the cities stand out. While riders may not necessarily spend a lot of time in each city on the day of the ride, he said, they may see something that catches their eye and decide to return later, which is key for future growth.

"If they like what they see, they will come back," Powell said. "Whatever we can do to attract them to this area is a positive thing. The bottom line is, we just hope everyone has a good time."

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