.....The BiKeWriTeR

VIDEO | Adopted in Wichita, KS

Exploring Wichita, KS by bicycle. This is the most I’ve prepared to see the sights on tour and while I was able to navigate the steel sculptures and find the hot spots, I ended up being more impressed with the things I just happened upon… and that let the adventure begin.

2024 Pedaling Wichita, Kansas

With a population of 396,000+ Wichita is the largest city in Kansas and it is pretty simple to maneuver by bike.

St. Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church was built in 1902. Pedaling through the brick pavers on the streets of Old Town, this is the oldest Catholic Church in Wichita and was designated a historic landmark because of the Moorish steeple.

Even more interesting is the grotto to the east of the church.

The grotto was constructed two years ago at the request of  Vietnamese parishioners. While taking a photo, a family walked by, we chatted… they liked bikes and I obviously liked bikes and pretty soon they adopted me and took me home. Odd to think this can happen in this day and age, but we all agreed nobody was going to murder each other so then it worked out.

Wichita, KS is full of friendly people especially the Adams family, Brian, Kate, and Eli, who fed me, gave me a safe place to stay, and we had plenty of conversations about bicycling and unicycling (Eli is the master). Eli is also going into 8th grade. He plays the trombone, likes robotics and reading, and we both spoil ourselves by taking a fan on our camping adventures.

The kindness of strangers strikes again.

The other amazing find in Wichita was the College Hill neighborhood. Lots of historic buildings including the Crown Theatre. Opening in 1928 with Al Jolson in “The Jazz Singer” the theatre has lived a life similar to a lot of older venues; read as remodel, sale, remodel, sale, etc. It’s the finials atop the building that caught my attention along with the chaser lights under the marquee. (see video)

The street art and vintage signs were also part of the attraction of College Hill.

The team at Bicycle X-Change was the best. This is a deep store with a hardwood floor that’s seen a ton of traffic. The place is filled with a vibe of goodwill and happiness, like having a birthday… every day.

The mechanics, while busy, told me they would be with me in two minutes. I have a threaded headset on my handlebars that gives me fits when I travel. A special wrench is needed to tighten it up. The team quickly made it happen and what they did next made me shake my head in disbelief. I know I have an old bike… but it’s been with me since 1982 and it’s part of the story.

The mechanic raved about my steel frame Centurion. “Toughest bike around,” he said. “Enjoy your tour.” And with that he ripped up the bill; another episode of the kindness of strangers.

Following on the heels of an overnight storm, I headed out the next morning on Oliver Street north to Selina, KS. It would be a strong 100 mile pull on the first real day of bicycling. I was optimistic but totally exhilarated to be on the road again.

It only took 12 miles before I was distracted by roadside art and met a wonderful artist Rollin Karg and his lovely wife Karen. The pair met late in life. Rollin’s wife Patty had died and Karen returned to Kansas after spending 15 years in Hawaii. Friends introduced them at a party. Rollin said he kept staring at the beautiful woman sitting next to him. Then he went on a two month trip, she texted him to see if he remembered her. “You better believe it,” he said. The rest is history.

Rollin spent the first part of his career in glass blowing and followed that as an artist working with metal.

His artwork is on display in Salina, KS. I set out to find it.

Tidbits on the tour:

“Have I not commanded you? …  Be strong and courageous. … Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”  Joshua 1:9


The 2024 Amazing Ride for Alzheimer’s is raises money every year for music programming for seniors at Cedar Community, a 501c3, so all donations are tax-deductible.

Donate via the secure website through Cedar Community.  Donations should be marked “Amazing Ride 2024.” Click HERE to make a secure online donation.

Checks may be made payable to “Cedar Community” with “Judy Bike Ride” in the memo line and mailed to 113 Cedar Ridge Dr., West Bend, WI 53095

Be sure to include the Federal Tax ID Number for the Foundation: 39-1249432

You may also find a downloadable donation form HERE.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *