Pedal the Plains Relies on Community Volunteers

Pedal the Plains Logo



The 2019 Pedal the Plains, three-day biking event, will be held in Lamar, Springfield and Holly between Friday, September 13th through the 15th.  Each of the three days takes a commitment from community volunteers, according to Tour Director, Deirdre Moynihan.  She and several members of the planning group held an overview meeting for the communities involved in this year’s run at the Lamar Community Building on Monday, February 4th.

Jenny Anderson, Communities Event Manager and Tour Director, Deidre Moynihan

“You can expect to have from 900 to 1,200 persons in your community for one of those three days,” she told the gathering of community representatives. Lamar will actually see that many bicyclists on registration day on Thursday, September 12th, the following day for the first leg of the race and again on Sunday as the riders make their last trek between Springfield and Lamar.  Holly will be the mid-point town for the riders on the 14th as they prepare for a 75 mile journey to Springfield for their overnight stay.  A tentative route is being developed that take the riders into Coolidge, Kansas for a turnaround point and then back to Holly.  Two Buttes and the Black Hole were also suggested as a focal point for the southern journey to Highway 160 leading into Springfield.  While the bicyclists prefer a hard surfaced road, they are used to traveling on either dirt or gravel, but would prefer to do that on a dry surface.

Plains Group, First Meeting

Those attending the Monday session included the Lamar Fire and Police Departments representatives, Lamar Chamber of Commerce, health-oriented representatives, the Colorado State Patrol, and representatives from the Cities of Lamar, Springfield and Holly as well as Baca and Prowers County Commissioners.

A detailed notebook was distributed to all attending which covered logistical aspects of the three day ride. This included:  three meals a day, a medical truck, medical responders on bicycle, aid stations and water refill points, bicycle tech support, radio communications, battery recharge stations, car parking, bike storage, personal storage points for riders, rest room and shower facilities, available motels and hotels, acreage for tents for in-door and out-door camping, private home rentals for overnight accommodations, security for bicycle corral, certified massage therapists, sanitary waste control, water dumping locations, coordination of any shuttle busses that can be made available, street sweeping, and local trash sites.

Communities can be expected to need from 50 to 60 volunteers to help with these and other duties as well as local FFA and 4-H organizations plus college or high school sport team volunteers to heft and handle personal bags and tents weighing an average of 70 lbs. Evening dinners and a beer garden will be provided as well as some form of entertainment.  Restaurants can expect to be swamped and owners and managers can expect to purchase additional food items for their menu and plan for more personnel to deal with the influx of customers for each community.

Lamar played host to an early Pedal the Plains event in 2013 which saw close to 900 riders and it’s expected those numbers will be repeated if not exceeded for 2019. Moynihan said about 1oo persons have already registered for the event which is eight months in the future.  The Pedal the Plains ride attracts visitors from surrounding states as well bicyclists who make the journey from European countries to attend.

Lamar will host a Friday breakfast between 7am to 9am and Moynihan explained that a rolling start between 9am and 11am will begin the first leg of the journey to Holly. It’s also expected that some riders will prefer to use a shuttle bus to bring them back to a town of their preference for an overnight stay, pending available accommodations.  Some riders can get by with just a tent for an overnight stay, while others prefer several levels of upgrades for their evening.  The 2018 statistics showed that 59% of the riders are male, 41% female, 92% are Colorado residents and the media age is 47 years.  27% are first time participants.  The events are sponsored by the Denver Post and Viaero Wireless and are partnered with the Governor of Colorado’s office.

By Russ Baldwin


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