HUTCHINSON, Kan. (KSNW) — Many racers are thrilled to be back for Bike Across Kansas (BAK) after a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19, but this year’s event has come with its challenges, mainly the weather.

On Tuesday, June 14, in Hutchinson, Harley’s Bicycles organized a community event with partners to hand out much-needed cold drinks, cold towels, snacks, friendly faces, and words of encouragement to bicyclists participating in BAK.

“Well, this year, the route came through Hutchinson. So we thought, well, it’s Harley’s 100th year in business, and we thought let’s just make an extravaganza out of this thing. And so it just grew into a great event, and we’re having a super turnout,” said Bob Updegraff, owner of Harley’s Bicycles.

“The fact that we had 600 people cycling through our town, we definitely wanted to play that big today,” said Amy ConKoing, the assistant executive director of Hutch Rec.

Cyclists have now passed the halfway point in their journey, but many agree the biggest challenge has been the weather.

“I love BAK, and this year’s no exception, but [it has been] one of the very hot years so far and windy. That’s not unusual, but it’s, you know to have the combo of the heat and the wind definitely some challenges,” said Sheri Barnes, who has been participating in BAK for over 20 years.

“Well, it’s been very, very hot and very, very windy. But it’s also been a lot of fun. I mean, you just have to learn how to kind of manage your day and manage yourself and know what you got to do to make it through,” said Jason Probst, cyclist and Kansas legislative representative for Hutchinson.

“It certainly has not been one of the easier starts of this event. I’ve been to that so many years I’ve seen worse. So I have something to compare to. But certainly, yeah, it’s anytime that temperatures get over 100 [degrees fahrenheit]. It’s hard for everybody,” said David Rohr, cyclist and chair of the board of directors for Bike Across Kansas.

The Trans Am Bike Race, which stretches from coast to coast, is also making its way across the Sunflower State. Cyclists like Dale Le Bar say it’s a great time to raise awareness among motorists.

“I know there’s a three-foot law across the country [but] I would love to see people just change lanes,” said Le Bar, cyclist and DotWatcher.

“I always wave and smile because I want people to know that we are people to you know motorists, we’re out here, and we’re somebody’s mom, and daughter, and sister, and friend, and all that too,” said Barnes.

If you are out on the road, be aware of cyclists sharing it with you. Riders from Bike Across Kansas and the Trans Am Bike Race will be cycling through in the coming days.

To read more about Kansas’ bicycle laws, click here.