By Bill Plock
I don’t know about you, but as a Colorado native, sadly I suppose, the southeast, well probably the entire state East of DIA gets very little of my attention. Maybe it should? As a cyclists seeking quiet, low traffic roads, I imagine (maybe short of a few extra breezes) it’s a great place to ride and relax.
But I have PTSD or better said PTRTF–Post Traumatic Road Trip Fear when it comes to Eastern Colorado.
As a kid constantly visiting relatives in Iowa each summer, about all I would ever look forward to was the blue roofed Stuckey’s dotted along I-76. The imposition of the 55mph speed limit made the journey last f.o.r.e.v.e.r–that and the attention span of a 12-year-old. Those were also the days of the CB, something my dad, a chemist, seemed weirdly enamored by. The constant squelching just when I would doze off and “breaker 19’s” with the windows rolled down in our “air conditionless” Ford Granda inviting hot rays of sun to microwave the fine vinyl seats made the drive so much more fun.
When the movie Vacation came out and the kids were in the back of the “truckster” with Aunt Edna, the backs of my legs just started sweating due to pure road trip disorder. Thank goodness for Stuckeys, their candy, snow globes, cap guns and a slurpee. Any deviation to search for the largest ball of string, the corn palace or some long lost relative’s farm than involved miles of dirt roads and chasing barn cats and wondering why people put handkerchiefs all over their furniture was met with disdain. I just wanted to get to Iowa and hang out with cousins.
But Stuckey’s is a shadow of what it once was and I have learned there is more–a lot more– to the Eastern part of Colorado than what is seen from I-76. But I had no idea how much more.
The Pedal the Plains will highlight many opportunities to see our state from a different perspective and offer many points of interests–that includes a visit to Coolidge KS, home of Cousin Eddy and Aunt Edna–for reals!
The 3-day tour Pedal The Plains (PTP) presented by Viaero Wireless will take participants on a 200-mile adventure as they cycle through the Southeastern Plains of Colorado where history runs deep from outlaws and bandits, to the Santa Fe Trail and the Amache Japanese-American Relocation Center. Beginning September 13th riders will head from Lamar to Holly on a 43.6 mile ride, stay in Holly for departure on day 2 to Springfield, riding 73.7 miles. Day 2 brings 108 mile ride, a Century Plus Option, taking riders into Kansas and back. For day 3, riders make their way 47.1 miles from Springfield ending the 3-day tour in Lamar.
SOME HIGHLIGHTS OF THE TOUR INCLUDE:
- Camp Amache – Japanese-American Relocation Camp during WWII
- Riding into Kansas
- Visiting a dairy farm and finishing every day with chocolate mile
- The annual Tarantula migration
- Two Buttes
- Blue Rose Ranch Horse Rescue & Adoption
- Springfield Airport Crop Dusters
- Century Ride Option on Day 2
- Incredible lunches provided by Colorado FFA
“One of the greatest things about riding on the plains is the deep history you are riding through. This year’s route through Lamar, Holly and Springfield showcases towns that define the word community in its truest form. Each town is beyond enthusiast to have us coming and they are going to make it an experience to remember for riders,” comments Deirdre Moynihan, Pedal The Plains Tour Director. “Additionally, the ride accommodates all levels of cyclists, from the first timers who want to give it a try, to those who enjoy long, more challenging rides.”
Each night there will be music, football game and more. Home made meals by locals such as the Santa Fe Trail Cookers. United Methodist Women will be cooking chicken in Springfield along with Brent Prowers Cattle and Horse Growers Association cooking up some beef.
There will even be a chance to meet Governor Polis who will kick off the event.
PTP is an initiative of The Denver Post and the State of Colorado. The Tour incorporates interactive on-route experiences by staging rest stops on farms, posting educational points of interest and serving community meals composed of locally sourced food.
Pedal The Plains will be giving a $1,500 grant from the ride to each deserving community along with a $1,000 Colorado Creative Initiative Grant and $1,000 from the Viaero Wireless Community Grant in all three communities.
“Since the beginning, and for 8 years in a row, Viaero Wireless is proud to sponsor the Denver Post’s annual Pedal the Plains ride. Once again it is a great and unique sporting and cultural event, merging the lifestyles of urban Coloradoans, and their rural neighbors on the Eastern Plains. This year, featuring the welcoming and friendly host communities of Lamar, Holly, and Springfield,” added Michael Felicissimo, Executive VP Viaero Wireless. “Part bike tour, part hayride, Pedal the Plains offers a laid-back experience with lots of peaceful and quiet riding, punctuated by festive evenings at the stage and beer garden! It’s also a great opportunity for philanthropy with the Denver Post Community Foundation and Viaero, awarding grants to worthy causes in the host towns each day.”
In addition to farm fresh meals, entertainment will also include a beer garden and local flair from country bands to cowboy poets, outdoor movies, existing harvest festivals and county fairs. Host communities benefit economically through associated fundraising initiatives and the influx of riders and their families. Vehicles for economic gain include, but are not limited to, food and beverage sales, lodging, retail and entertainment.
“Pedal The Plains encompasses so much of Colorado’s unique character by blending one of the state’s most-beloved recreational activities—cycling—with a cultural and heritage tour of the plains,” said Cathy Ritter, director of the Colorado Tourism Office. “The ride draws visitors from across the state and beyond, and provides an opportunity for cyclists and their families to get off the beaten path and get to know the friendly communities of the Canyons and Plains region.”
More about PTP
Pedal The Plains is a Signature Event of The Denver Post Community Foundation and helps support nonprofit agencies that work to improve the lives of Coloradans in the towns hosting the Tour. Pedal The Plains and The Denver Post Community Foundation Grant Program allow us to provide a $3,000 grant to a deserving organization in each host community along with a $7,000 grant to Colorado 4-H and Colorado FFA Foundation. The Grant Program funds nonprofit organizations that provide services for low-income children and youth through community programs that support recreation and/ or youth education.
Visit www.pedaltheplains.com for more information.
Here is a fun article about Coolidge Kansas and it’s conversion into a must see tourist spot: https://www.hutchnews.com/7c9c92e1-778f-5ce0-8676-4c9760eb2ac6.html