The people of Biking Across Kansas (some of them)

There’s so much about this trip that’s hard to beautiful and it’s hard to put it all into words, hard to focus on just one day or one part of this journey. The weather has been perfect. The route has been filled with enjoyable hills and epic scenery. (Except maybe Wednesday, when the hills seemed more intense and the wind picked up).  The hours after each day’s ride has been filled with good company.

It has been fuel for the soul.

I started taking photos of people I met along the route. I’d tell you what day that was, but I’m not really tracking the days of the week. I know that today is the day we go to Marysville, but I don’t know what day of the week it is.

There are so many interesting people along this trip. People who work in the towns we visit, people who ride and people who do work, or who just have a particularly nice and inviting smile.

So instead of writing something about my experience, I’ll just post some photos of the people I’ve met, with a little information about how I met them. Thanks to everyone who  let me talk to them for a few minutes and take a photo. I appreciate it, and the chance to meet you. And this is not even a fraction of the people who I would like to talk about. 

Team larned

Here’s Team Larned. Last year, when I got a flat outside of Sterling, they were right there to  lend me a frame pump. This year, I keep bumping into them along the trail, and I refer to them as my favorite city-based team. They’re always happy and laughing when I see them.  

Smith Center preschool

This is a preschool group we saw while exploring Smith Center. I asked them what they did for fun, and they said they biked and went swimming, and on rainy days would go to the library.


Mikalaya and Melissa stood at the edge of Smith Center to welcome us to town. I thought that was nice. They were selling lunch to raise money for FCCLA.


These girls were cooking pancakes early in the morning at Mankato. I thought I took a photo of Alyssa Davis, who 10 or 11, I think. She was in the cafeteria watching everything like a hawk. I noticed right away that she seemed to be really engaged in her job. She collected trays, and even cleaned  up the coffee I spilled on the table. Her mother, Natasha, said that Alyssa and her brother like to help when there’s something going on in town. So Alyssa got up early so she could be on time for her shift – which began at 4 a.m. I really wish the photo had taken!


Amy quilt

I met Amy Delamiade, who is friends with my friends Sarah and Chris Green. She’s done BAK for 12 years or so, and has made a great quilt out of the shirts from each year’s event.


Misti and Kristen keep showing up in photos. The first was in front of a tank that a lot of people were shooting photos of. They realized they were just trying to take a break, but that’d end up in nearly all the photos of the tank. I’ve been teasing them by telling them that they need to show up in more scenic photos. They’re posing with the SAG Hags here.


This is Hot Rod in his Spiderman shirt and sleeves.





Koy Larson pushed us so fast on the merry-go-round in Scandia that we almost got sick!.


I didn’t get this guy’s name, but he has pheasant feathers in his helmet, most likely from some road kill we all passed earlier that day.


This is part of my group, eating dinner in Belleville. Nick Levondosky came out to visit us as did Harlen Depew, who drove from Hutchinson to visit his BAK “family.” He also brought me a spare tire and tube to get me through the rest of the trip. We’ve been missing Harlen, but it was great to have the chance to visit with him for an evening.

Unfortunately I’ve been struggling with technology this week and getting the sort of internet connection. But I have a lot more photos to share – including some from a little spill I took today, an lemonade stand run by unbelievably cute kids, a hidden garden in Agenda, and a whole lot more.

Right now, though, I have  a table full of people looking at me with a hint of anger and impatience in their eyes. There’s a beer garden and a band in downtown Marysville, and they want to be there more than they want to be here waiting on me. 🙂




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