The Bicycling Family (dad Chris Conk, mom Julie Grenier, and their children, Leo, 11 and Charlotte, 8) recently rested in Iola on their 7,000-mile bicycling adventure, a one-year self-supported tour from Canada to the Panama Canal.
They left Montreal, Quebec in late June, making their way through Vermont and upstate New York, before crossing back into Canada and riding north of the Great Lakes, re-entering the U.S. at Sault Ste. Marie, and making their way to Minneapolis before heading south, with their most recent stops in northwestern Missouri, Kansas City, Overland Park, Osawatomie and Garnett.
They reached Iola on Friday afternoon, riding in a light rain on the Prairie Spirit Trail from Garnett:
The Bicycling Family carries all their own supplies and gear, and has been primarily either camping or staying in people’s homes along the way. They average about 30-40 miles a day.
In Iola, they were hosted by a local family, who’d they connected with on Warm Showers, a web site that connects bicycle travelers to “hosts”, people willing to offer a space in their home or yard for a night.
The Iola Register reports that the Bicycling Family appreciated the Iola hospitality, and the quality of the local trails:
Conk echoed other cyclists in praising the Prairie Spirit Trail, which the family rode along Friday to get to Iola from Garnett.
“That’s what we look for when we use Google Maps,” Chris said. “We look for sections with a green route (marking rail trails). We just drool over this. Rails to trails is probably one of the greatest things on earth.”
He was equally as effusive in praising Iola’s appeal. “When we get chances to share our experiences, Iola is going to be on the tips of our tongues,” he said. “We won’t forget Iola,” Julie added. “It’s going to be one of our top cities.”
After their stay in Iola, the Bicycling Family continued their trek on the Southwind Rail Trail, accompanied by a group of local cyclists:
If you’re interested in hosting touring cyclists, sign up for Warm Showers — you’ll meet the most amazing people who take incredible journeys by bike!