Just as two week-long mass bicycle tours — RAGBRAI and B.A.K. — announced their host cities for 2013, a third is calling it quits and partnering with a two-day bicycle festival. Ride the Rockies makes its announcement on Saturday.
After eight years, the Argus Leader Tour de Kota in South Dakota is pulling the plug on its week-long bike tour in the southeastern part of the state.
Instead, the newspaper is partnering with Sioux Falls in a weekend citywide wellness event that includes bicycling on both days.
Tour Sioux Falls, June 29, is a ride on the city’s fully opened bike trail — about 20 miles. The ride ends with a festival on the River Greenway with food, music and family activities. The next day, June 30, the city is turning over 2.6 miles of streets to bicycles for a downtown ciclovia.
More details at the Tour de Kota website.
RAGBRAI (Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa)
RAGBRAI — the oldest, largest and often longest — week-long bicycle tour rolls out July 21 through 27, 2013, on a 406-mile west-to-east route. The 10,000-plus bicycle riders will start in Council Bluffs and visit overnight in Harlan, Perry, Des Moines, Knoxville, Oskaloosa, and Fairfield before rolling to a stop in Fort Madison on the Mississippi River.
Usually keeping to the state’s small cities, the overnight in Des Moines is the tour’s first stop there since 1997.
Ride directions say this will be one of the easiest RAGBRAIs. It’s the second shortest route and the 15th flattest in the 41-year history of the ride. You might think that all RABBRAIs would be flat, but those constantly rolling hills add up.
The organizers will announce the exact route and pass-through towns in mid-March.
Registration is open now, so sign up for the lottery at the RAGBRAI website.
Biking Across Kansas
One thing is always certain about B.A.K. — it’s going to roll west to east every year to take advantage of the prevailing winds.
The 2013 B.A.K. — June 8 – 15 — starts in Johnson City and ends in Galena. The overnight cities are Sublette, Dodge City, Coldwater, Anthony, Arkansas City, Sedan and Oswego.
The ride covers 507 miles along the southern part of the state. Anyone wanting to add a few extra miles can head over to the official start at the Colorado border the first day.
You can register at the Biking Across Kansas website.
More week-long bicycle tours can be found Across State Bicycle Tour pages, which I’m madly updating when I get the chance.