BikeMO is a Premier Ride Supporting Cycling Advocacy
BikeMO, an annual fundraising ride for the Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation and the Missouri Bicycle Foundation, will be celebrating its 10th year on August 23rd. Proceeds from the event are used to support the Federation’s mission to promote bicycling and advocate for better bicycling conditions in Missouri. The ride, which was held in the Jefferson City area for the first 7 editions, now starts just outside of Columbia, in Rocheport, Missouri. The current Ride Director, Matt Maher, moved the ride in an effort to increase participation from around the state and provide participants with more options.
“Columbia is a vibrant city providing participants with more lodging, restaurant, and entertainment choices. In addition, there are many great cities and towns along the route which offer riders additional activities and great dining and lodging facilities. Boonville, Rocheport, Arrow Rock, and Blackwater each offer their own unique flair; from B&Bs to old saloons, riders can find a lot of unique things to make their stay in the area enjoyable. The ride has really turned into an event in which riders and their families can come to Mid-Missouri and make a weekend trip out of it”
The ride starts and ends at Les Bourgeois Winery and Vineyards in Rocheport, Missouri. As the riders roll through the beautiful rural countryside of the Missouri River Valley, the take them through several historic towns including Rocheport, Boonville, Blackwater, and Arrow Rock. Riders have the choice to ride 30, 50, 60, and 90 mile route options but the out-and-back nature of the route allows riders to turn around at any point in the ride for their own choice of mileage. BikeMO also offers a unique option for riders; those who prefer, can ride along the Katy Trail. Maher believes that the addition of the trail ride brings the biggest opportunity for growth and participation, “The Katy Trail option offers riders who don’t like to ride on the roads, families, and other participants to enjoy the ride, and ride along one of the most beautiful trails in the region. The trail even meets up with the Boonville SAG stop, allowing trail riders to take advantage of SAG support.”
The ride itself is a non-competitive event but those riders who like to test themselves can take part in the BikeMO King of the Mountain competition. The competition pits riders against each other on 5 climbs along the route. The male and female riders who have the fastest accumulated times are the winners. “It was the first of its kind in the region,” says Maher, ” the KOM competition utilizes Strava, a GPS based app used by a large percentage of riders. It automatically tracks the riders’ times on each climb and publishes it to the Strava system. Once the times are all uploaded, the winners can easily be determined.” Riders don’t have to be the first one to the top of the climb, they can compete head-to-head with other times no matter when they make the attempt on the course which makes it more accessible to every participant. “You don’t have to be the first rider up the climb, you just have to be the fastest.”
Les Bourgeois Winery After-Party
BikeMO also offers a one of a kind after-party. Held at Les Bourgeois Winery,riders are treated to spectacular views of the Missouri River Valley from atop the bluff several hundred feet above the Missouri River. Participants enjoy live music, drink discounts, and reserved seating as they relax after a hard day on the bike. Sunset offers a special treat as the sky is painted with a beautiful palette of pinks, oranges, yellows, and reds.
Q&A With MOBikeFed Executive Director Brent Hugh
We sat down with Brent Hugh, Executive Director of The Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation, to learn a little more about the ride and to find out what makes BikeMO such an important event for MOBikeFed.
This is the 10th edition of the ride, how did BikeMO get its start?
It was back in 2004, soon after I become involved in the bicycle federation. We had done some training with national organizations, and they said the successful statewide organizations raised a significant part of their annual budget through events. So we did some brainstorming about what an annual ride in support of statewide bicycle advocacy would look like, and BikeMO was the result. The idea was to do the event in the center of the state, so people come come from all parts of the state and could meet friends from all over the state for at least one great ride together each year.
How has the ride changed over the past decade?
The ride has grown gradually over the years. Probably the biggest and best addition to the ride is when we moved to Rocheport, starting and ending the ride at Les Bourgeois Winery. It is a beautiful area, the Winery is very supportive and welcoming, and it makes for a great ride after-party at the Winery on the bluffs of the Missouri River. The move to Rocheport also opened up the possibility of a trail option on the Katy Trail. The Trail option has become far more popular with trail lovers and families over the past couple of years.
Why is it important to support rides like this?
BikeMO is a great opportunity to get together with like-minded cyclists from all over Missouri–those who work together to support better, safer bicycling and trails. But i’s a great opportunity to do that when we can just have some FUN and enjoy the ride! We don’t have to meet anyone, we don’t have to talk with anyone, we don’t have to advocate with anyone. For once, we can just get together and enjoy what we advocate for!
Have the local communities and businesses embraced the ride and how have they helped the event?
The local communities and businesses have been the key to BikeMO’s success. Historic and tourism-oriented communities along the BikeMO route like Arrow Rock, Blackwater, Boonville, and Rocheport have embraced the ride and love to have visitors. The difference is like night and day between these communities that actively welcome the ride and riders, and some areas where we have held events, where the community just tolerated the ride at best. Communities like Arrow Rock, with an entire section of the city dating back more than a hundred years and in excellent historic preservation, and Blackwater with the Bucksnort Trading Company and Saloon (and don’t forget Imogene, the Pie Lady of Blackwater!), are places you might want to come back and spend a weekend visiting.
A Bright Future
BikeMO has continually increased rider participation over the past 3 years. Thanks to great SAG support, a great route, and support from the local communities, the ride will continue to grow and is poised to become one of the premier events in the Midwest. If you are interested in participating in this year’s event you can check out the BikeMO website for more information.