By SALINA POST
Registration fittingly opens on Kansas Day for the 49th Biking Across Kansas (BAK), an event that celebrates cycling and the Sunflower State.
From June 10-17, riders will cover 542 miles from Colorado to Missouri, pedaling between 50 and 80 miles each day.
“BAK is an annual bicycle tour across the state of Kansas,” said David Rohr, BAK board president. “It promotes health and fitness through bicycling, as well as the history and beauty of the Kansas landscape, and the warm hospitality of the Kansas towns and people.”
Registration for the 2023 BAK opens on bak.org at 6 a.m. Sunday.
This year, BAK will take a more southerly route, with overnight stops in Elkhart, Satanta, Spearville, Stafford, Newton, Eureka, Chanute, and Garnett, and a celebration picnic in Pleasanton. Additionally, riders will pass through a number of other Kansas communities, including Hugoton, Sublette, Dodge City, Kinsley, Partridge, El Dorado, Toronto, and Iola.
Many bicyclists will return as repeat participants, including some who bicycled the very first tour in 1975, Rohr said. In recent years, BAK riders have represented a wide age span — from 7 to 87 — and multiple generational families, according to information from BAK.
Just under 100 riders participated in the first BAK in 1975. Now as many as 800 bicyclists make the trek across the Sunflower State. The event is capped at 850 participants.
BAK noted in a news release that this year's entries are anticipated from 30 or more states, as well as from other countries.
Why do BAK?
Rohr said the reasons are many.
“It is a cycling challenge and a uniquely Kansas adventure,” he said. “On a bicycle, you are moving more slowly and can experience this beautiful state like you can't from behind a windshield.”
Plus, there is an added benefit.
“You’re burning so many calories on the bike that you can enjoy all the pie and ice cream you want without any guilt,” Rohr said.