HOLTS SUMMIT — Different folks and different spokes showed up at the sixth annual BikeMO Fall Foliage Extravaganza on Saturday.
Held by the Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation as a fundraiser for their advocacy work, the ride included 17-, 40-, 62- and 100-mile routes.
About 175 riders participated, which made this year's ride one of the event's bigger years, according to Fred Schmidt, treasurer of the federation.
Schmidt, a Columbia resident since 1959, said there are usually roughly 100-200 riders each year. He suspected the beautiful weather had something to do with the larger number of participants this year.
“If this ride keeps going, we’ll probably have one in Kansas City and St. Louis also,” Schmidt said.
Laura Vie, the secretary of the federation and a Columbia resident, said she was disappointed she wasn't able to ride because she had to work the event.
“It’s a fabulous route,” said Vie, who has been involved in planning and organizing the event since it started in 2005.
Vie and Schmidt agreed that Columbia was doing a good job accommodating bicycles on roads. Clark Lane is a good example of a road with poor cycling and walking conditions, but that is improving thanks to the Complete Streets movement, Schmidt said.
Schmidt said both motorists and cyclists share responsibility to keep roads safe.
Bikers should stay out of blind spots, not ride to the front of a row of cars at a stop sign or red light, stay in the middle of the lane as if they were a car and make sure they’re visible, he said.
“It’s called vehicular cycling. If you do that, people intuitively know what to do,” Schmidt said.
“You need to have some experience and training,” which is nothing a bike safety class couldn't fix, he said.
Nancy Rezabek and Anne Cotton, both of Columbia, came to support the federation and enjoy a nice ride.
“We just love getting up early and freezing our tails off,” Rezabek said.
She didn’t have any complaints about the riding conditions on the streets of Columbia — other than the time a bug flew under her sunglasses and stung her three times before she could stop and take the glasses off.
John Anderson, another rider and a cycling enthusiast from Kansas City, also came to support the federation's work. Anderson has been riding all his life, he said, and enjoys the improving cycling conditions in Kansas City.
There are more trails and overpasses being built in Kansas City with people who use alternative modes of transportation in mind, such as the Heart of American Bridge, Anderson said.