ROCHEPORT, Mo. – Missouri Life magazine is coordinating another Big BAM bicycle ride across the state this summer.
The title stands for “Bike Across Missouri,” and the magazine has hosted the event since 2015.
Riders traveled across Missouri on Route 66 for the 2018 event. And thanks to unrivaled scenery and generous hospitality from nearby towns along the route, BAM will follow the same path in 2022 – beginning in Joplin on June 12 and ending 346 miles away in Eureka on June 18.
Riders are encouraged to start early in the morning in order to make it to the next town in time for planned festivities, exploration, food stops and more.
Missouri Life magazine coordinated with multiple chambers of commerce that helped the magazine with lodging, recommendations for restaurants and popular attractions, and guaranteed discounts for the riders. As participants reach each town, nightly regional bands will provide entertainment at designated areas.
“It’s a really great opportunity for the towns to receive revenue nearing the summer,” said Missouri Life marketing and events coordinator KateLynn Ketsenburg. “As the tourism department said, ‘It’s a revenge of tourism, this year’. People are making up for COVID, so they are trying to tour Missouri as much as possible right now.”
Fortune magazine describes “revenge travel” as “the strong desire to travel even more than before the onset of the pandemic – more about getting revenge on the coronavirus” for the lockdowns and slowdowns.
After the first night of riding is complete, BAM riders can look forward to a special John Lennon tribute show in Willard performed by Branson artist and entertainer Adam Webster.
Pork Belly Ventures LLC will be providing comfort and convenience with free showers and complimentary toiletries at each stop. The business also will provide riders with a phone-charging trailer, canopy-covered seating, coffee, massages, tent set up and much more.
Support and Gear (SAG) vehicles will be assigned to lead riders each day while a support vehicle trails behind. SAG workers will be on hand to assist riders with basic bicycle repairs, water, first aid and transport to the next town or a rest stop if riders wish.
The first two days of Big BAM will be the longest days in the saddle. Starting in Joplin, the bicyclists will ride through Carthage and then head 83 miles to Willard. After another 71 miles on Route 66, participants will find themselves camping in Lebanon.
Days 3, 4 and 5 will be shorter rides of roughly 40 miles each to Waynesville, Rolla and Cuba. Riders will then trek their final 60 miles to Eureka to complete the ride on Day 5.
Once participants reach Waynesville, they will have the option to kayak or canoe a portion of the Roubidoux River while their bikes are hauled to the next stop.
Participants can expect a Big BAM block party once they reach their final destination in Eureka. Bands will entertain while patrons enjoy various foods, activities, vendors and a kids area with games. The riders and general public are encouraged to bring chairs, blankets, friends and family to enjoy the festivities.
The block party is scheduled for Saturday, June 18 at 6 p.m. at Central Avenue Spur, with parking available at Geggie Elementary.
Most riders are over 18 years old, Ketsenburg says, but there are no set age limits for Big BAM. Missouri Life expects anywhere from 200 to 300 riders for this year’s event, if not more.
Those interested in more information about Big BAM’s Route 66 ride or how to register can visit its website.
Big BAM’s second ride of 2022 will take place Oct. 9-14. Participants for that ride will be taking a different route and riding Missouri’s famous Katy Trail. Those interested in learning more details about the second ride can visit the website here.