BY CALLY ANDERSON
With freshly stretched legs and helmets clipped on, nearly 200 bike riders took to the streets of Hays and the surrounding area this past weekend for Tour die Kapellen (TDK), a Tour of the Chapels.
This annual bike ride hosted by the Hays Area Bicyclists drew in a crowd from the entire state of Kansas and even some of the surrounding states of Colorado, Nebraska, Missouri, and Texas.
With a mileage choice of 15, 30, 50, 62, 75, and 100; the wind was low and the sun was shining creating perfect weather conditions to view St. Catherine Church, The Basilica on the Plains, Holy Cross Church, and St. Francis Church.
Hays local and Fort Hays State University Professor Justin Greenleaf was able to participate in the tour for his second year with his wife.
“The day of the race this year was unbelievable. While the weather is not something the coordinators can control, we couldn’t have asked for a better day,” Greenleaf said. “There was very little wind and the temperature was not overly hot in the morning.”
Shortly after the bikers began their ride at 7:30 am, a coach bus picked up 50 participants for the Tour of the Chapels via a bus ride. At each church, they were greeted with live music and snacks to enjoy the Western Kansas beauty and history they learned about from their bus tour guide.
Following completion of the tour, with tired legs and sweaty hands, bikers divulged in an authentic Volga-German meal after completing their chosen ride – a loaded plate of mashed potatoes, sauerkraut, meatballs, noodles, and green beans.
Overall, this day brought together the history of Hays to riders in support of the Volga-German communities. The Munjor community prepared and served the meal as an appreciation for being the primary beneficiary of funds received from this year’s TDK.
“The communication about the ride was excellent, it felt safe and there was a lot of support from race staff and local law enforcement, each stop on the 30-mile route was well administered by friendly and helpful staff, the churches and music were beautiful, and the food and reception at the end were a great way to finish the ride,” Greenleaf said.
Those interested in riding can check out the Hays Area Bicyclists.