An SUV with a mud-covered bicycle

An SUV with a mud-covered bicycle hanging from the back of the car parks in front of the repair station at Walt’s Bike Shop. 

Each year, bike tours bring hundreds to thousands of people on a spectrum of ages to the heart of the U.S. A number of annual group bike rides were cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19 and the need for strict social distancing guidelines, but a year into the pandemic, public gatherings are slowly growing as local and statewide ordinances regarding COVID-19 precautions begin to lessen.

Gradually, cycling tours are beginning to make a comeback of their own. Here are some tours that will be held Summer 2021 and where the routes begin.

June 13-18: Big BAM 2021 June Ride — Poplar Bluff

The Big BAM rid is among the popular rides in Missouri The ride is four days, and the group will take off from Poplar Bluff, Mo. on June 14 There will be a kickoff celebration event on June 13 for all bikers to attend before setting off on their trip. Cyclists are able to join at the varying checkpoints on the route, which ultimately ends in Ste. Genevieve, Mo. . In total, the trip is 297.8 miles long. The cost for one day riders is $75 to register. Week-long riders and group week-long riders can register for $370 or $350, respectively. For information on how to get involved, go to the Big BAM website at www.bigbamride.com , or call the event phone line at 660-537-2521.

June 13-18: Grand Illinois Bike Tour — Litchfield, Illinois

The 18th annual Grand Illinois Bike Tour is a six day, roundtrip ride, beginning and ending in Litchfield, Il. with an explorative stop in Madison County, Il. near St. Louis. Riders are able to choose longer or short distance days, which in the complete trip may total anywhere between 200 to 375 miles. Overnight stops will be held throughout this tour, which ventures south through Illinois. Non-members of the Ride Illinois organization can register for a fee of $525 while the fee for existing members is $490. Riders 17 and under pay a fee of $365, but must come with an adult. Register on the Grand Illinois Bike Tour page at rideillinois.org, or send questions to info@rideillinois.org.

Sept. 4-5: Pedaler’s Jamboree — Columbia

Pedaler’s Jamboree is a popular bike tour and music festival. The route begins in Columbia and ends in Jefferson City via the Katy Trail. There will be a meet and greet kick off event on Sept. 3, with live music by Carrie Nation and the Speakeasy. Riders and non-riders alike will have the opportunity to attend the music event, as well as another that will take place in Jefferson City at the end of the bike trip. From Columbia to Jefferson city, the ride is 39 miles. According to the Pedaler’s Jamboree website, an Advance Jamboree Pass for riders includes “gear transport, rider packet, entry to all events on Saturday and Sunday and camping at the Missouri State Penitentiary.” The pass costs $65 for adults, and $50 for riders ages 7-16. Register at pedalersjamboree.com.

TBA: BAM on the Katy — Defiance

Big BAM on the Katy is another popular Missouri trail ride. It begins in Defiance on the Katy Trail and ends to the west in Clinton, Mo. In past years, this has been a five day event. Due to the pandemic, the dates for this event have yet to be formally announced, but will be posted to the trail website when dates have been set. However, riders are able to register now on the BAM on the Katy page at bigbamride.com. Registration costs a one day rider $75, and $340 to bike all five days.

Information courtesy of Walt’s Bicycle Wilderness in Columbia, Mo., bigbamride.com, midwestweekends.com, rideillinois.org and pedalersjamboree.com.
  • K-12 Education reporter, studying international journalism. Reach me at sofizeman@mail.missouri.edu, or in the newsroom at 882-5700

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