Over 500 riders from over 30 states will ride five days in a nearly 300-mile loop on Missouri Life’s fifth annual Big BAM (Bicycle Across Missouri). It will begin in Columbia, Missouri on June 9 and end on June 14 in Columbia.
On the first day, Big BAM riders will head northeast to Perry which is on the southeast side of Mark Twain Lake. Riders will spend the night there and head to these other overnight towns — Macon, Moberly, and Arrow Rock – before heading back to Columbia on June 14. “This is the first time Big BAM has done a loop,” says Big BAM executive director and Missouri Life publisher, Greg Wood. “And some may say it should be called Bicycle “Around” Missouri, but it’s still Big BAM either way!”
Each town will open its city park or fairgrounds to welcome hundreds of Big BAM participants and anyone who wants to attend. Visitors will find free live music and entertainment from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the event area in each overnight town. The public is invited and encouraged to come enjoy the music and festivities. That includes the pre-ride party and live music at Columbia’s Blue Note on June 9 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and the after-ride Grand Finale at the Rose Music Park from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.
One veteran Big BAMer is Carl Meiners from Toddville, Iowa who has been on three of the four BAMs and has signed up for this year’s ride. “What brings me back is the people, the culture, and the friends I’ve made each year,” says Carl who has been on many other cross-state rides and a longtime RAGBRAI rider. “BAM is what RAGBRAI used to be. The towns are welcoming, there are no huge crowds or lines to deal with. BAM is like going back to my childhood and there’s just something magical about the state of Missouri.” RAGBRAI is the Des Moines Registers Great Bike Ride Across Iowa.
Big BAM is a fully supported ride and registration fees include gear transport, camping, SAG support, water, and food stops every 10 to 12 miles, bike repair services, a live concert every night, free coffee in the morning, and shower trailers located next to the camping area. “We work with the pros in the industry to make sure everything works like clockwork,” says Wood.
Big BAM also works with local authorities all along the route to help create a safe and fun event. “We also encourage people along the route to set up refreshment stands if they wish and to cheer on the riders. We have riders coming in from all over the United States and many other countries. For some, this will be their first time in Missouri. We hope all the towns along the route will be joining in on the fun and welcoming Big BAM riders.
Central and northern Missouri has so much to offer to bicyclists,” says Wood. “We travel mostly on roads with little traffic and very scenic countryside.” BAM encourages riders to participate even if they can only ride one day. “We will work with each rider to make sure they have a great experience and that includes shuttling them back to their cars,” says Wood.
Visit BigBamRide.com for information and to register for the ride. Click here to view the route map