Expect to see plenty of cyclists pedaling their bicycles this week through Columbus. The Tour de Nebraska circle tour officially kicks off in grand fashion in the City of “Power and Progress" on Wednesday, June 21st.
The tour is a five-day excursion that sees up to 500 riders start and finish the trek in the same place. This year’s path will take participants from Columbus to Albion and eventually to Norfolk before ultimately making it back to Columbus on Sunday, June 25th.
But things will really get started today, Tuesday, June 20th, as approximately 250-300 bicyclists will arrive at Pawnee Park for a kick-off celebration that will feature food courtesy of Regina’s Kitchen, Family Traditions BBQ and Bake Up Artist down by the west shelter. There will also be plenty of entertainment. City Parks and Recreation Manager Betsy Eckhardt said she’s appreciative of the Columbus Area Convention and Visitors’ Bureau and Tour de Nebraska for bringing the event to Columbus and utilizing Pawnee Park as part of the festivities. The public is invited to come out and enjoy the atmosphere with the race participants.
“Come enjoy some good food, meet new people and enjoy some fun entertainment,” Eckhardt said.
Tour de Nebraska will then officially get underway on Wednesday, June 21st, when the cyclists take off on their journey. Racers are expected to hit the road by no later than 7:30 a.m., with daily mileage ranging from 45-70 miles. Day one will see the group travel approximately 48 miles to Albion. Day two will involve a 55-mile trek among the Albion Loop before a 60-mile ride from Albion to Norfolk. Day four, touted as an “option day,” gives participants two loop-ride choices of completely different lengths before the day five beefy 62-mile path back to Columbus from Norfolk.
According to the Tour de Nebraska website, the event was founded in 1988 as "a fun way for cyclists to experience the beauty and friendliness of rural Nebraska. People of all ages from nearly every part of the world have ridden Tour de Nebraska, and call it the most memorable adventure of their lives!"
(ABOUT THE MAP: The route of the 35th annual Tour de Nebraska, as provided by the event.)