By Andra Bryan Stefanoni
GALENA, Kan. —
For the first time in more than a decade, the annual Bike Across Kansas tour will roll through Oswego and Galena.
“It’s awesome! Too cool,” Mayor Dale Oglesby said in a phone call from New York after being told the news. “It will be right after Galena Days, which is the largest single attraction of the year for us. June’s going to be a big month for Galena.”
The annual 8-day, 507-mile bike tour, which annually draws more than 800 riders, always begins on the western border of Kansas and travels east to Missouri, following different routes across the southern, northern and middle parts of the state.
David Rohr, BAK's chairman and for 10 years its route planner, said he rotates the route through different areas of the state each year in order to provide variety to riders. The route was announced Tuesday.
The last time BAK was in Southeast Kansas was in 2001. In planning each year’s route, Rohr tries to “string together an interesting grouping of towns that are spaced appropriately.”
This year’s ride will begin June 8 and travel through Dodge City, Coldwater, Anthony, Arkansas City, Sedan and Oswego before ending in Galena on June 15. A celebration dinner will be held that evening in Galena.
BAK is billed as a recreational and social rally for cyclists — not an endurance contest, a race or a test of stamina.
The ride caps participation at 800 because many of the small towns through which the cyclists travel can’t accommodate much more than that.
Oswego Chamber of Commerce member Shawn Carter said Tuesday that his community is excited.
“I think it not only brings a great event to our city and some good focus, it’s also going to ... have an economic impact in the area,” he said. “We’re very glad to have them. There probably will be some community organizations interested in doing some things to make a grand event out of it.