BBQ, music, and riding: Bike events this weekend

Hikers aren’t the only ones out on the trails. Many of the best trails we’ve found in Kansas have been made for mountain biking. And this weekend, 8/24 and 8/25, there are some great bike races and events going on throughout the state.

Cruise the Blues Mountain Bike Race – 8/23-8/25/2013

Amidst the timber, pastures, and prairie of the Palen Family Farm east of Tipton, the Palen family has built 13 miles of mountain biking trails. These private trails are open to riders this weekend for the 10th annual Cruise the Blues bike race.

5-mile and 9-mile race options are available that can be ridden solo or as a part of a team, and there’s a kid’s race course as well. There will be bbq, live music, and general hilarity throughout the weekend.

From the Cruise the Blues website:

Make it a weekend! We invite you to join us out on the farm Friday, Saturday and Sunday August 23-25th.

Come on out and join us on Friday and Saturday nights with free camping under the big Oak trees on the Palen Family Farm and wake up to a farm fresh breakfast to get your day started right!

Friday night, get your registration check in out of the way early, and join us for a fun bike tour of the farm with Farmer Doug, savor the taste of a Farm Fresh Kansas Style BBQ and take a shot at the short course hot lap night time trial! (Lights will be made available for all riders who need them courtesy Doug Chambers at Golden Belt Bicycles.)

Saturday morning, wake up to a Palen Farm Fresh Breakfast and get ready for a great day of racing.

Stay the night on Saturday and enjoy an evening of fun and festivities, live music (the 5 piece band Gamma Raze will be playing Blues and old time rock and roll), bike games and more. Wake up to another farm fresh breakfast Sunday morning and enjoy open riding on the farm or join a guided ride of the IMBA Epic Designated Trails at Wilson Lake State Park.

Parking and camping is free! Free-wifi and electronic charging stations will be available along with primitive hot showers, washing stations, changing areas and bathroom facilities. RVs welcome!

Click here for registration.

Rock & Roll to Roots – 8/24/2013

The Roots Festival ($15 entry cost) held in the Paola Square brings together bluegrass, bbq, and biking. The Miami County Velo Cycling Club is hosting 10, 30, and 60 mile rides. While registration is closed, you can cheer on participants as they start and finish at Wallace Park on the morning of 8/24.

PedalFest – 8/24/2013

A cross country mountain bike race.

A cross country mountain bike race. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Three leisurely rides through the Wichita countryside for PedalFest will benefit Heartspring, an organization that helps kids with special needs achieve more independence.

Choose from a 50K (31 miles), 100K (62 miles) and Family Ride (5 mile). The 50K and 100K start at 7:30am and the Family Ride starts at 9:30am from Heartspring in Wichita.

Registration is still open Friday until 6pm at Bicycle Pedaler and early Saturday morning at the race start at Heartspring. Registration is $45 for the 50K and $50 for the 100K. The 5-mile Family Ride is $10 per person. For registration, you get food and a t-shirt along with a handful of other perks and freebies.

Shawnee Rotary Bike Rodeo – 8/24/2013

Perfect for kids and for giving parents some peace of mind, this event at the Mill Valley High School (5900 Monticello, Shawnee) is all about staying safe while having fun on your bike. From 9am to noon, kids who plan to ride their bikes to school can learn safety training, and get a certificate after completing a skills course. Freebies include: t-shirt, bike helmet, bike helmet fitting, and bike inspections.

Tour de Shawnee – 8/25/2013

This annual event, now in its 24th year, gives participants the choice between a 12-mile and a 25.75-mile route through bike-friendly Shawnee. For $30, you get a t-shirt, breakfast, and lunch. Along the way, there will be snacks, drinks, and vehicle support, including medical assistance and bike repair. You also get the satisfaction of knowing that you’re participating in an event that benefits the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

The tour will start and end at Power Play Family Entertainment Center, Shawnee Mission Parkway and Pflumm.

Fill out a registration form and drop it off at the Shawnee Civic Centre, 13817 Johnson Drive.

Interview with Roger of Tailwind Cyclists in Pittsburg

The rolling hills of southeastern Kansas around Pittsburg are perfect for mountain bike trails. I checked in by email with Roger Lomshek, owner of Tailwind Cyclists, which has you covered for all your cycling & outdoor needs, for his recommendations and thoughts on the Pittsburg area trails.

Kansas Trail Guide: What are the best trails in the Pittsburg area for mountain bikers and why?

Roger: We have three trails that offer a mix of flavors for riders.

The 23rd Street Bike Park is in the middle of town 6 blocks east of Broadway on 23rd ST! The bike park has a mix of roller coaster twisty singletrack with lots of short steep 10 foot tall hills. It also has a dirt jumping track with plans to add a trials riding area and pump track. While some areas are beyond the beginner rider there is almost always an easy detour and you’re never more than a half mile from the road.

One of the features at the 23rd Street Bike Park in Pittsburg

One of the features at the 23rd Street Bike Park in Pittsburg

Wilderness Park is at the far north edge of Pittsburg 1/2 mile west of Hwy 69 on McKay ST. The front half has gravel bike & walking paths that are great for beginner riders and families while the back half is a tangle of singletrack trails in heavily wooded hills.

Farlington Lake (Crawford State Park) is 10 miles north of Girard, KS on Hwy 7 (25 miles northwest from Pittsburg). A paved 6 mile road circles the lake while a nearly 8 mile singletrack trail rolls through the woodland around the lake. The singletrack trail has some very difficult sections and overall I would list it as an intermediate trail that is not for beginners.

Kansas Trail Guide: How many volunteer hours does it take to maintain the trails and how many trails does your shop take care of?

Roger: Tailwind Cyclists and our crew of volunteer trail workers maintains all 3 trail networks in our area totaling about 15 miles of trails. We usually devote at least a weekend every other month to trail maintenance and sometimes smaller half day sessions as needed.

Kansas Trail Guide: Are there areas for beginners and experts?

Roger: All three trails offer challenges for expert riders while the 23rd Street Bike Park and Wilderness Park have some beginner friendly portions.

Kansas Trail Guide: Are there any organized trail rides?

Roger: Tailwind Cyclists hosts a Thursday night mountain bike ride that leaves the shop at 6:30 PM during daylight savings time. We also do occasional road trips to further away trails on weekends. Call the shop at 620-231-2212 for details.

Kansas Trail Guide: What gear can people purchase at your shop?

Roger: We sell a wide variety of cycling accessories plus the bikes themselves and can get camping and outdoor gear as well.

Kansas Trail Guide: What do you think makes the Pittsburg area special for mountain bikers?

Roger: The people who ride! We have a great group of riders that make every trail ride fun.