WAYNE – It was clear skies to start, with clouds rolling in throughout the day as Wayne America was the next stop on the list for many bicycle enthusiasts.
Wednesday mid-morning riders made their way to Wayne from North Bend for the 37th Annual Bike Ride Across Nebraska (BRAN), “5 States, 5 Nations”.
Close to 400 bicyclists began their journey in Falls City, making their way through Auburn and Weeping Water while crossing into parts of Kansas and Missouri. North Bend was the halfway mark where about 30 riders stopped and around 30 more joined in for the back half of the week-long event.
Irene Fletcher and Nancy Johnson were co-chairs for the Wayne BRAN committee. Fletcher said that the event would not have been put together without many volunteers.
“We have staff from the City who have been awesome in helping with all the amenities for the riders as well as our Wayne Schools helping putting things together there as well,” said Fletcher. “So, a great group of volunteers.”
BRAN changed their route, instead of going across the state, the committee decided to work the eastern portion of Nebraska.
As the riders came into town, they were welcomed with bells, bubbles and more. Bike riders made their way down the trail and set up their tents at the Summer Sports Complex, near the House of Pain Rugby Field.
Wayne has been a host community and a ride-through town in the past. Fletcher added that it means a lot the community of Wayne.
“It’s recognition that we are on the route,” Fletcher added. “And it also gives us a chance to showcase the community to the riders and hopefully they will come back at another time with their family to visit us.”
BRAN was originally organized through the Omaha Northwest Rotary Club in 1980. Each overnight community is provided a $500 scholarship to award a single recipient. Following the tour, the riders will select the “Best Host Community” to receive an additional $500 scholarship.
There were several evening activities for the community and riders, themselves, to enjoy.
Other communities where bikers will overnight in, are Wakefield, Winnebago and Tekamah. During the final three days bikers will venture into parts of South Dakota and Iowa.
There are three main routes from Wayne to Wakefield. The shortest route is 28.4 miles, followed by a 46.3-mile route and the longer routes are 84.6 miles or 91.2 miles (cross into Vermillion, South Dakota.).