Fall weather greeted 50 bicycle riders on the second annual Butler County Half Century Bicycle Ride on Saturday.
Organizers are still assessing the success of the ride, which had several goals: raise funds for local youth and family related projects, provide a fun outdoor activity and promote the attractions of Butler County to visitors from across the region and state.
Ride coordinator Angie Peirce said that the reactions in rider surveys were positive. Because it’s still a new event, the ride committee is looking for ways to improve it and grow its numbers. Whether the ride continues in its current form or with changes next year has yet to be determined.
“Our committee of volunteers puts in a lot of time in preparations, and we have to determine how we can get more riders and accomplish our other goals,” Peirce said. “We know our riders had a good time and our volunteers did a great job representing Butler County.”
About half of the riders came from more than 50 miles away, including from Omaha, Ralston, Lincoln and Elkhorn. Several came from as far as Blue Hill and Hastings for the ride.
About half took the 55-mile route from David City through Bruno and Abie to Prague and then back on Nebraska 92. The other half of the riders made the round trip to Brainard, an ideal route for those who are new to cycling or aren’t conditioned for the hills.
For avid cyclists, the rolling hills on the 55-mile ride are among the best in the state, providing a challenge and beautiful scenery.
Organizations benefiting from this year’s ride proceeds are Blue Valley Community Action, Butler Believes in Youth and Community and Butler County TeamMates. Each of those organizations, plus others, provided volunteers to help make the ride a success.
The ride date is coordinated to avoid home Husker football game days at the beginning of fall to attract riders who enjoy the cooler fall weather. This year, a memorial ride was held Sunday in Lincoln for avid cyclist Randy Gibson, who was hit and killed by a car. The memorial ride may have prevented some riders from coming to Butler County.
No cyclists were injured in Saturday’s ride, although there was a report of a car “buzzing” two cyclists on the road south of Abie. Cyclists said the driver of the silver car, an older model, came within inches of their bikes and did not move the required 3 ½ feet to the left, even though the other lane was open. The incident happened about 9:30 a.m. Saturday south of Abie. It was reported to the Butler County Sheriff’s Office.
The ride committee will provide more information about the ride in future editions of the newspaper.