If you are thinking that the Buffalo Bill Days celebration was only on the second weekend in September, think again.
There is another whole weekend of bicycling activities happening on the third weekend in downtown Leavenworth, beginning with the annual Buffalo Bill Century Ride on Saturday.
Although it is called the Century Ride, which means that there is a 100-mile route, there are also shorter routes for those who do not feel up to riding 100 miles in one day. This particular bicycle celebration of Buffalo Bill Days has been around since the beginning days of the party in Leavenworth. In fact, for many years, it was the only remnant of Buffalo Bill Days that remained as an annual event, thanks to the Leavenworth Bicycle Club.
The good news is that all of the money earned from this event goes toward supporting and promoting bicycling activities in Leavenworth County. In fact, this weekend is the only fund-raising event for the club, so I highly recommend that you participate in some way to help support the club so that they can continue to do good things for kids and adults in the county.
The club has bought new bicycles for the Leavenworth Youth Activity Centerís Trips For Kids chapter and often provides volunteers to ride with the kids on their Wednesday after school bike rides in town. The club also has supported the regular and very popular Late Night Under the Lights kids bicycle races over near Warren Middle School by buying the series trophies and again providing volunteers.
On Sunday, I am very pleased to learn that the Santa Fe Trails Bicycle and Coffee Shop has brought back the downtown Leavenworth Criterium. For several years, this criterium was the Kansas State Championship race. I am not sure about this year.
A criterium is basically a loop race where the riders travel the same route for a number of laps depending on their level of expertise and experience. The good news about that is that bystanders can pick out one spot and enjoy the race without having to keep moving around. Some people like to watch from a corner. Some prefer to be near the top of an uphill climb because the riders are going a bit slower. Some prefer to watch them careen downhill and hope that no one crashes at the turn at the bottom of the hill.
For the most part, if you go to Haymarket Square, you will be at or near the control point of the races while the route winds around on downtown streets which are temporarily closed to traffic and parking on Sunday. It is a shame that everything is closed on Sunday while the bicycle racers and their families are here, but if they are interested, they can come back to shop sometime when the shops are open. At least there will be quite a few visitors in town for the races.
Page 2 of 2 - There is going to be lots and lots of live music of all sorts on the second weekend for Buffalo Bill Days, but you can almost be guaranteed that Roger will show up with music playing for at least the criterium races on the third weekend Sunday.
For my part, since I am a local club member I will not be riding the century as I will be helping to grill hot dogs at the Celebration SAG near the Riverfront Community Center on Saturday. I recommend that even if you do not want to ride 100 miles or even 20 or 30 miles, that you come on out for the events on Saturday and Sunday. If nothing else, you will see people dressed in some very colorful outfits and having a great time.
Matt Nowak lives in Lansing and works as a natural resources manager.