A chance to see the sights of Kansas and meet some of its colorful people make Biking Across Kansas a favorite event for several Marion County residents.
Pedaling across the northmost tier of counties, riders will travel through St. Francis, Oberlin, Phillipsburg, Mankato, Belleville, Marysville, Sabetha, and Ellwood.
They can opt to take a loop through a few towns in southern Nebraska as well.
Among those making their way across the state June 4 to 11 are Marion residents Ken and Tena Lundgren.
“I just enjoy riding, and it’s a big thing, about 850 riders,” Ken Lundgren said.
He has ridden his bike across the state twice before, in 2006 and 2009, and enjoys interaction with the people he meets along the way.
“One time we were riding along and out of this farm we saw this guy had built turtles and farm implements and whatever,” he said.
Another Kansas site Lundgren took in during a BAK ride was the Burdett childhood home of Clyde William Tombaugh, who discovered Pluto.
Lundgren plans to take the Nebraska loop of this year’s ride.
Hillsboro’s Kliewer family got started with Biking Across Kansas because Gail Kliewer, then coming up on her 50th birthday, wanted to try something new.
The next year, her husband, Lawrence Kliewer, joined her for the ride.
This year their son and daughter-in-law, Jonathon and Jennifer Kliewer, are coming from California to make the ride a family affair. Lawrence Kliewer’s sister and her husband, Mary Beth and Ken Trisanti, are joining as well.
Gail Kliewer said weather had made some year’s rides a daunting challenge, but this year looked to be easier.
Like Lundgren, Gail takes pleasure in the sights and the people she gets to see along the route.
“The people are so proud of their towns,” she said.
She learns a lot of Kansas history visiting with them.
Other area residents registered for this year’s ride are Robert Hoopes and Susan Olson.