BRAN executive director Vicki Backman says this is the 34th year for the annual adventure and she says it’s appreciated when motorists give the groups of bike riders a wide berth.
“We do want the traffic in the local areas along the route to be aware that there will be about 600 cyclists,” Backman says. “They do not usually all leave at one time. We just are looking to have safe traveling conditions for both the vehicles and the cyclists.”
The ride started yesterday in the northwest Nebraska town of Rushville and will leave Cody this morning. Other towns along the route are: Springview, Atkinson, Verdigre, Laurel and Lyons. BRAN will conclude Saturday in Waterloo. The shortest day is 57 miles, the longest is 86. The full route is 476 miles, pedaled over seven days.
The youngest cyclist this year is seven years old, while the oldest is 82. Many of them are from Nebraska but others come from great distances.
“We do get people from across the country,” Backman says. “It’s a really nice way to showcase the state of Nebraska. We always have the friendly folks in the towns that do a great job of doing that. We have 30 states represented this year and Canada.”
Bike rides across other states, like RAGBRAI in Iowa, have 10,000 cyclists, but Backman says they intentionally limit BRAN to 600 participants. She says that keeps it more of a family atmosphere.
“We get a lot of repeat riders on this ride,” Backman says. “A lot of people have made longtime friends and they meet up once a year riding across Nebraska and they have a great time with that.”
BRAN was launched by the Rotary Club as a fundraiser that provides some $26,000 a year in scholarships to Nebraska high school graduates who are heading to Nebraska colleges and universities. Learn more at www.bran-inc.org