Folks on Spokes

bill plank on jeffcityblog

Bill Plank

We're fortunate to have friends like Bill Plank share their time and expertise on this blog. When Bill isn't busy with his job at Naught-Naught Agency or being the Jefferson City Chamber Chairman, you can find him riding one of his three bicycles. He's a great person to know and we're so excited to have him back here to share information on group bike rides anyone can get involved in. Take it away, BIll!


You’re someone that likes to ride bikes. Or, maybe you think you might like to.  Maybe you’re just curious what it’s all about as you see more and more bikes around town. That’s understandable as the popularity of cycling has been growing the past few years.  Since Jefferson City is adjacent to the Katy Trail, you may assume that’s where most people are riding their bikes.  While a good number of people ride on the Katy Trail (a surprising amount of folks actually travel in from all over to ride it) there are many other types of riding. There are even groups that get together to do these rides. As we all know, if something is fun it’s even more enjoyable with a group of friends. Take a look at the scheduled group rides below. If one sounds like you’d dig it, check it out. For more information on any of these rides or any others that might spring up, check out the JCMO Cyclists Facebook page. If you’re part of a ride not mentioned here, please share the love! 

Mega Fun Rides Saturdays at 8:00 AM – Katy/Greenway or Road

group bike rides jefferson city mo

Starting this spring, a group of cyclists will be departing from The Millbottom every Saturday morning. Both of these groups will roll out at 8:00 and return whenever appropriate.  Since these rides haven’t happened yet, I’m not sure what will happen when they get back.  But, I know what I’ll do – grab a cup of coffee from Three Story!  Weekly details and rides are posted as events on the JCMO Cyclists Facebook page.

The Fitness / Hybrid Group

These riders will meet at The Millbottom and decide where and how far they want to ride based on rider abilities and desires.  Anytime a person gets on a bike they are getting a workout, but these riders are not coming out to get ready for huge races.  Instead, they want to be outside and enjoy life on two wheels.  This group might ride to Hartsburg for pie, towards Railwood for a great view of the Capitol, or down the Greenway to throw rocks in the creek.  The goal is simple: get people together that like to ride bikes to build a sense of community.  All are welcome to this ride regardless of fitness level, bike type, age, or goals.

Road Ride 101

This is the intro to riding a bike in a group on the road and perfect for anyone with a skinny tire drop bar road bike.  Maybe you’re a rider that is getting back into the sport, a fitness rider that would like more challenge, or a cyclist that has been riding for a while and needs a group to ride with.   Rides in the beginning of the year will be 10-15 miles at a very relaxed, no drop pace. Distance and speed is ultimately up to the group to decide so may change as the season and group fitness progresses.  If you are a seasoned rider looking for long miles, use this as your warm-up. If you are new to town and looking to find routes & fellow riders, this is for you.  If you just want to see why in the world someone would wear head to toe spandex, this will answer those questions! Speak up with the group about your goals, ambitions, and ability level so they can make sure everyone is comfortable.  Remember, the objective is to build community!

Tuesdays at 6:15 pm - Mountain Bike Group Ride

Photo By Chuck Daugherty

Photo By Chuck Daugherty

This ride starts and ends near the campground at Binder Park.  It is social in nature and the riders regroup several times throughout the ride.  Everyone from newbies to experienced racers are welcome.  The “standard” ride is about 7 ½ miles but always subject to change.  Mountain biking is very weather permitting – STAY OFF THE TRAILS WHEN WET!!!  If unsure, call Nick at Red Wheel or ask on the JCMO Cyclists page.

2018 will have a new option – Tuesday night self races - #BeatYoSelf! How’s that work? Glad you asked, let me explain… The entry fee is low –$5 – with half going into a pot to be won at the end of the ride and half to trail maintenance & improvements.  The trail is divided into segments and one of these segments will be randomly drawn to determine which one to race.  As the group gets to the segment, everybody stops.  Then, riders take off one by one with the fastest riders first.  Get to the end & stop to wait for & cheer on the others.  To win, you must have your best time of the year (PR) as determined by Strava. If you are the only one to PR, you win the pot. If multiple folks get PRs, you have to decide to split the pot or draw for it.  If nobody PRs, the pot remains until the next week.

The rides always end with lots of stories, laughs, and rehydration so bring a snack and something to drink for after.  Good beers are always welcomed!

Wednesday at 5:30 PM - Roadie Hammerfest

Photo By Chuck Daugherty

Photo By Chuck Daugherty

This is a road bike ride starting and ending at the Governor’s Mansion on Madison St.  The group always follows the 25 mile JC Extended Loop route ( with plenty of climbing.  There is often an A & B Group. You’ll need a drop bar road bike, some familiarity of cycling, and a knowledge of rules of the road for these rides.

The A group rides as fast as possible – usually averaging 18 to 22 mph.  These riders are competitive and push each other to be better.  Pacelines are common.  If you have never been in a paceline, don’t worry because the group will help coach you along and keep it relatively safe.  But, it would be really wise to watch some YouTube videos before to kind of know what to expect.  The riders are a good mix of seasoned and new but fit riders. Despite the speed, this ride regroups periodically so nobody is left behind.  Be warned, you will be dropped at some point and have to catch back up.  Keep coming and eventually you won’t get dropped as much!

The B group rides at a more relaxed pace and often cuts off one of the hillier sections to limit the ride to about 20 easier miles.  If you are new to road riding or just not in the mood to push your limits all night, this is a great place to start.  The B group is not guaranteed to go off every week so I would highly recommend bringing a friend or being very familiar with the roads.

Regardless if you ride with the A or B group, we’ll all end up at a downtown bar to have a drink and dinner.  Even if you don’t ride road but enjoy cycling, feel free to join for the post ride rehydration festivities. The group is often sweaty and kind of disheveled looking so it’ll probably be outside somewhere!

Thursday at 6:15 PM– Gravel or Group Choice

Photo by Chuck Daugherty

Photo by Chuck Daugherty

Gravel grinding is the fastest growing segment in cycling because it is like road riding but without the cars and with better scenery.  Although any bike can technically be a gravel bike, most have drop handlebars like road bikes with larger tires to handle the rougher surface.  They are more efficient than a mountain bike and typically have better components and geometry more suited to longer rides than a “comfort bike” like you might ride on the Katy Trail.  The gravel rides are decided on the spot and anywhere from 20 – 30 miles.  They start at Red Wheel Bike Shop, go across the bridge into Callaway County and then there are several route options based on what the group wants to do.  Gravel is adventure riding at its finest.  The scenery is unbeatable and self-reliance is critical.  Word of caution: if you have not ridden gravel before, talk to someone that has or ask your local bike shop.  The needs aren’t great but there are gear considerations you’ll need to think about before trying this genre.  You’ll be hooked once you do, though!

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