As many of us labor on the trainer in anticipation of a new riding season, various tour organizers have announced, or will shortly, their routes for 2010. If you live in or near mid-America here are some rides to consider:
-BAK, Bike Across Kansas has announced their route, which visits different towns each year on the way from the Colorado border to the Missouri border. The tour runs from June 5-12, with an "official" early start on the 4th to ride the 18 miles from the border to the start community of Goodland.
-TdK, Tour de Kota runs from June 6-11. It's not a loop this year, but does offer riders the chance to ride from Nebraska to North Dakota. Very nice!
-BRAN, Bicycle Ride Across Nebraska is the same week as the previous 2 tours. From June 6-12 riders will travel from the northwest corner to the southeast. The start and finish locations appear to be no more than 10-20 miles from the borders of Wyoming and Iowa. I think I would have to find a way to get in those extra miles.
-RTR, Ride the Rockies is tentatively scheduled for June 12-19. They will unveil the route and open their lottery for applications on February 7.
-Oklahoma Freewheel is scheduled for June 13-19. They've named the overnight cities but don't have a map up yet.
-Border Raiders, which starts in Lawrence, KS and visits Nebraska, Iowa, and Missouri before returning to Lawrence, is scheduled for June 19-26.
-BTC, Bicycle Tour of Colorado, has a Gunnison/Pagosa Springs loop scheduled for June 20-26. Parts of the ride mirror sections of last year's CRMBT route, and promise plentiful challenges and scenery.
-RRIBT, Red River International Bike Tour is scheduled for June 21-25. No route announced yet, but their site hints that they're heading south. It could be a really nice ride through North Dakota and Minnesota, but this year it won't be international.
-RAGBRAI, Register's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa just announced their route for July 25-31. Their lottery is now open for what is said to be the 3rd easiest route ever, based on mileage and hills.
-CANDISC, Cycling Around North Dakota In Sakakawea Country runs from July 31 to August 7.
-CRMBT, Colorado Rocky Mountain Bike Tour is slated for August 1-7, covering 439 miles in their fourth year. This will be my third year joining this tour and their spectacular route will give me the chance to visit some places I've had the pleasure of riding more than once, as well as some new challenges to conquer. I'm going to blow up a picture of Mt Evans and hang it in front of me while I'm on the trainer.
I love riding bike tours. I think everyone who loves riding should try one. Short or long, easy or hard, camping or motels, just get on your bike and ride. I got an America by Bicycle calendar in the mail yesterday. Someday I would love to spend several weeks riding cross-country. In the meantime, I'll try to keep riding across, around, over and through as many places as I can.