Submitted article by 7 Cities Century Bike Ride:
250 riders from nine different states ranging from Virginia, Colorado, Iowa, Arizona, Texas, South Dakota, Kansas, Missouri, and, of course, Nebraska will be rolling through northeast Nebraska for the sixth year in a row on August 5 and 6.
This year's ride starts early on Saturday morning, August 5 in Ta-ha-Zouka Park in Norfolk and then travels to Battle Creek, Meadow Grove, Tilden, Oakdale, Neligh, Brunswick, Creighton. The riders will spend the night in Creighton and then on Sunday, August 6, riders travel to Plainview, Foster, Pierce, Hadar while finishing back in Norfolk. Total mileage on Saturday amounts to almost 72 miles while Sunday's ride adds up to around 50.
“This two-day, typically one-hundred mile, however this year it is closer to 120, weekend ride takes advantage of small-town hospitality offered by friendly northeast Nebraskans and combines it with cyclist camaraderie and simple biking fun,” says Nick Cleveland, ride director and owner of Cleveland Bike in Norfolk.
The route changes each year to vary the terrain and allow riders to visit different towns throughout the region. Some of this year's route highlights include opportunities for visits to the Antelope County fair, Pierson Wildlife and other museums in Neligh as well as an overnight stay in Creighton, home of BerryPepper Days and SantaLand.
Throughout the route, break areas called SAG (Support And Gear) stops are positioned every ten to fifteen miles. Riders are greeted with friendly volunteers offering anything from water and Gatorade to homemade pastries, cookies, fruit and other treats. Support vehicles and volunteers are also available along the route to help.
“The ride has become quite popular with both repeat and first-time riders,” says Jodi Richey, ride marketing and design coordinator and owner of Jodi Richey Design of Norfolk.
“Word-of-mouth has really traveled from year to year so that we are seeing individuals, teams, bike clubs, friends and families of all skill levels and abilities coming from all over the state and the U.S. They ride anything from road and mountain bikes to hybrid, tandem, recumbent and even trikes.”
The ride organizers remind motorists traveling on the same highways as the ride route to be aware of cyclists during the weekend. Signs will be posted on roadways to alert drivers and riders are reminded to abide by all cycling safety rules, ride instructions and helmet requirements.
The ride benefits area biking and trail opportunities as well as youth college scholarships and projects in towns visited on the route. Proceeds from past rides helped support the building of a new shelter on the bridge connecting the Cowboy Trail over the Elkhorn River. Funds from the 2015 ride helped fund the purchase of new equipment lockers for the fire hall in Pilger, Nebraska. Also, every year, college scholarships are awarded to two graduating students from the high school at the current year's overnight town.
To learn more about the ride and to view route maps visit www.7citiescentury.com.