Last month’s Ride 2 Boulevardia brought riders to the heart of Kansas City for a great event. The ride raises money to support Children’s Mercy Oncology and Cancer Action. This year’s ride saw an increase in ridership of 66%; 250 riders hit the streets of Kansas City to support the cause, raising several thousand dollars for the ride’s beneficiaries.
Largely an urban/suburban ride, four route options, 15, 30, 60, and 100 miles, were available to riders. The roads don’t open up until you get further south on the 100 mile route so riders don’t get much chance to open up their legs for long stretches on the shorter routes.Riders left from the West Bottoms near Kemper arena and headed south through the city at hour intervals based on the route they chose to tackle.
The 100 mile riders took off at 7:00am; the air temperature wasn’t too bad at the start but a strong south headwind meant a long slow journey south before turning back north to take advantage of a tailwind. The route took riders through the city’s southern portions and out through the suburbs. A fair amount of shade courtesy of the tree-lined neighborhoods in the early miles made for a pleasant ride as the heat slowly began to build. The routes were fairly hilly and the elevation added up as the day went on.
Some of the century riders opted to cut their ride short and turned at the 60 mile route as the slow crawl south and impending heat were less inviting than the cold beer waiting at the finish. Those that soldiered on to finish the century route had a long hot day in the saddle and were well worn by the time they rolled back into the finish area.
SAG stop volunteers were friendly and helpful and the stops were stocked with food and water for weary riders to refuel before continuing on their ride. As far as urban riding goes, the routes were great and traffic was very minimal during the morning hours.
The only issue we ran into, one that can easily be remedied for future editions of the event, was the route marking. This was the only real weak-point of the ride. Most of the turns and arrows were marked only at the intersection which couldn’t be seen until right on them, creating a few issues along the way. A few intersections were miss-marked causing a few riders to head off course for a bit.
Partnering with Boulevardia, riders are treated to a great after-party. All riders received a free entry to Boulevardia, a meal ticket, and a drink ticket. Held in the West Bottoms, under the 12th street bridge, Boulevardia is a great festival with bands playing on several stages, yard-games, food, entertainment, and the usual festival activities.
Boulevardia was only a few blocks from the start/finish of the ride and many participants chose to ride their bikes to the event and take advantage of the awesome, and free, valet bike parking offered by BikeWalkKC. A shuttle was also available for those who preferred not to ride to the event.
Those who finished the ride early were able to get to the event before the crowds and were treated to short beer lines, plenty of seating, and no waiting for food! We highly recommend that riders take full advantage of their access to Boulevardia in future years and make a day out of it!
Ride 2 Boulevardia is a great event and should continue to grow each year. The ride raises money for a great cause and offers riders some great perks. Partnering with an event such as Boulevardia presents a great opportunity to get more people excited about, and interested in, cycling.