Elgin, Petersburg On The Route For 7 Cities Century Bike Ride In August

Most people have owned a bicycle at one time or another and those bikes have often found their way to a shed or garage to collect dust. However, the 7 Cities Century Bike Ride, now going into its 5th year of existence, encourages individuals, friends and families of all skill levels and abilities to get out their bikes and join this year’s ride to be held August 6-7.
The final ride registration deadline is July 25. People can register online or by mail by visiting www.7citiescentury.com.
Entry fee includes meals from the Friday evening through Sunday lunch plus all rest stop refreshments. It also includes hauling of overnight gear, an event t-shirt, a chance to win one of many door prizes and entrance into a bike giveaway. The event website contains more information on the route and ride details as well as answers to frequently asked questions. This year’s ride has a 250 rider participant limit so early registration is encouraged.
The 7 Cities Century could be thought of as “bike sightseeing” because the pace of the ride is leisurely and the focus is on having fun rather then on competition.
Riders can bike at their own pace with family, friends or acquaintances they meet along the way.
The two-day, one-hundred mile weekend ride takes advantage of small-town hospitality offered by friendly northeast Nebraskans and combines it with cyclist camaraderie and simple biking fun. This year’s ride travels to Madison, Kalamazoo Petersburg, Elgin, Oakdale, Meadow Grove, Battle Creek and starts and ends in Ta-ha-Zouka Park in Norfolk.
Early on Saturday morning on the first day of the ride, riders from Nebraska and beyond depart from Norfolk for the first fifty miles of the ride. Throughout the route, break areas called SAG (Support And Gear) stops are positioned every ten to fifteen miles. Riders are greeted with friendly volunteers offering anything from water and Gatorade to homemade pastries, cookies, fruit and other treats. Support vehicles and volunteers are also available along the route to help with repairs and transportation.
Once the overnight town located about half-way along the route is reached, bikers pitch their tents or grab their gear transported by event staff to prepare themselves for the overnight stay at the school in Petersburg. They then can enjoy an evening of fun, relaxing, eating, listening to music and sharing stories from the day’s travels.
The next day riders mount their bikes and head out on the road back to Norfolk where they will complete the second half (approximately 50 miles) of the ride.
The “7” refers to the 7 cities the inaugural ride route visited within Madison County, Nebraska. Following its success, the event organizers decided that this experience should not be limited to just one county but to other areas of northeast Nebraska. Now it has become an annual event that joins riders of all levels to ride anything from road and hybrid bikes to cruisers, mountain, tandem and recumbent bikes and even trikes!
The ride benefits area biking and trail opportunities as well as youth college scholarships and projects in towns visited on the route. Proceeds from past rides helped benefit a new shelter on the bridge connecting the Cowboy Trail over the Elkhorn River. Funds from the 2015 ride helped fund the purchase of new equipment lockers for the fire hall in Pilger, Nebraska. Also, every year, college scholarships are awarded to two graduating students from the high school at the current year’s overnight town.
This ride born from the desire of a small group of local avid cyclists to show off the beautiful towns and roads in northeast Nebraska by bike seems to have brought many new riders into the wonderful world of cycling.