The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

December 26, 2013

New Year’s events on tap for birders and bikers, too

In addition to those participating in the national First Day Hike program, some hardy area residents will be bundling up on New Year’s Day for other annual outdoor traditions, including cyclists, birders and bikers.

For the 13th year, Tailwind Cyclists in Pittsburg, Kan., will put on a New Year’s Day Century Ride — that’s 100 miles — for area cycling enthusiasts.

The first year saw a foot of snow on the ground and six riders. Each year since, owner Roger Lomshek said, he has had between 10 and 15 starters and between six and eight who have completed 100 miles through rural Southeast Kansas.

Those who wish to join the group and do all or just part of the distance should arrive at Tailwind Cyclists, 1511 N. Broadway, by 8:45 a.m. to prepare for a 9 a.m. departure. Lomshek noted that the rides are unsupported, so riders must be completely self-sufficient. The group will make stops at convenience stores.

A group of birders will be covering less distance but will be no less dedicated, said Steve Ford, a biology professor at Pittsburg State University, who each year helps coordinate a bird count on New Year’s Day.

The “citizen science” effort is part of the national Christmas Bird Count, which may be conducted anytime between Dec. 14 and Jan. 5.

It’s been a tradition in Cherokee County, Kan., since Ford began spearheading it in 1988.

His group will meet at 7 a.m. at the Express Lane convenience store five miles south of the town of Cherokee, where participants will be given maps and assignments for coverage. Small groups will fan out to six areas in a 15-mile radius.

Anyone is welcome to join in, Ford said, and participants need not be experts.

Elsewhere, Lyn and Brent Linder are among a handful of motorcyclists who since 2001 have had a New Year’s Day tradition of riding as a group to Judy’s Cafe in Jasper for breakfast.

“We’ve only missed one year, I think, and that was due to icy roads,” Lyn Linder said.

This year, the Linders plan to take their new 2014 Harley-Davidson out for its first spin, weather permitting. They aren’t sure who else or how many other riders will join them.

Lyn Linder said the group, which welcomes other riders, will leave from Bo’s One Stop at Fourth Street and Highway 69 Bypass in Pittsburg the morning of New Year’s Day. In case of inclement weather, the ride will be canceled.

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A Missouri Senate committee has endorsed a 1-cent sales tax increase to fund transportation projects. The proposed constitutional amendment passed the House earlier this month. If passed by the full Senate, the measure would head to the November ballot for voter approval. Would you vote in favor of it?

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