27th annual Tour de Nebraska Bicycle Tour is June 18-22, 2014
Will Visit Pender, Ponca, Crofton, Verdigre and Pierce
LINCOLN – The 27th annual 5-day Tour de Nebraska bicycle adventure will head to beautiful northeast Nebraska on its 265-mile round trip journey, June 18-22, 2014. Approximately 250 cyclists will leave Pender on Wednesday, June 18 and camp overnight in Ponca, Crofton, Verdigre and Pierce.
“We are very excited about the route this year—we love the scenic terrain and friendly people in this part of the state,” according to Susan Larson Rodenburg, who organizes the tour with her husband, Rich.
The noncompetitive circle tour will start and end in Pender, 106 miles north of Lincoln. It will then proceed to overnights at Ponca State Park (Wednesday, 6/18), Crofton (Thursday, 6/19), Verdigre (Friday, 6/20) and Pierce on Saturday, 6/21), before returning to Pender on Sunday, June 22.
The Tour de Nebraska bicycle adventure is a mental and physical challenge for cyclists of all ages. Participants come from across Nebraska and other states, including California, Minnesota, Idaho, New Mexico, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, Virginia, Kansas, Missouri, South Dakota, Colorado, Iowa and Arizona.
“Our cyclists like the size of Tour de Nebraska because it’s big enough to meet some new people, but small enough not to overwhelm the communities we visit,” Susan Rodenburg said. “We have families, school teachers, busy executives and others who all share a passion for cycling and adventure. They can ride all day at their own speed so they can take full advantage of sightseeing and food in the small communities along the way. By the time the tour ends, we are all bonded in one way or another.”
The Rodenburgs created Tour de Nebraska 27 years ago after many of their friends expressed interest in doing a statewide tour. Since then, it’s grown from 11 cyclists and is now limited to 250 cyclists. Tour de Nebraska arranges meals, rest stops, daily maps, itineraries, luggage/gear transfers, emergency sag support on the highway, daily fruit and water. Riders camp at city parks or near high schools. There are also indoor camping options at Ponca State Park and high school gyms.
A new option this year is No Hassle Tent Service, provided by University of Nebraska-Lincoln Outdoor Adventures. “We are excited about partnering with UNL to provide this service which includes tent set-up and packup…essentially ‘pampered’ camping. We don’t want the thought of setting up a tent stop anyone from enjoying this experience,” Rodenburg said. The No Hassle Tent Service is an additional cost beyond the registration fee.
TDN’s Official Bike Shop is Cycle Works of Lincoln, which provides mechanical support during the tour.
The Rodenburgs help local communities along the route prepare for rest stops and overnight stays. “We encourage the communities to highlight their community spirit, history and friendliness – their uniqueness,” she said. “We work closely with the local organizers so they can provide everything we need. Most find that hosting Tour de Nebraska is fun way to bring new revenue to the area. It’s always exciting to find out what they have planned for us.”
The favorite rest stop and overnight host towns chosen by the riders receive cash awards. “It’s a small token of thanks for their efforts,” Rodenburg said. Organizers also present daily spirit awards to build camaraderie among riders. The coveted Tour de Nebraska Team Spirit Award is presented during Saturday night’s Tour de Nebraska Banquet to a deserving individual who has shown a great amount of spirit, humor and joy while facing the challenges of the tour.
Tour de Nebraska is 5 days instead of 7 like many other tours, making it perfect for first-time tourists or those with limited vacation schedules. There are many repeat riders. “It’s like a family reunion on wheels,” Rodenburg said.
The $285 registration fee includes: TDN t-shirt, daily maps and itineraries, TDN handbook, meal and camping arrangements, fruit, kick-off breakfast, sag service, luggage transport and Saturday night’s Tour de Nebraska Awards dinner. Registration information is available online at: www.TourdeNebraska.com
or by request to: Susan@TourdeNebraska.com, 402-440-3227.