Group serves bicycling enthusiasts

Combining an entrepreneurial spirit with the spirt of service paid off on both ends for a local family group.

Dana Maxfield and her family teamed with Katie Kliewer, 17, to provide a refreshment stop for the more than 800 bicyclists who pedaled through Hillsboro last Wednesday morning with Bike Across Kansas.

Maxfield credited Katie and her parents, Lawrence and Gail Kliewer, for providing the idea and encouragement to take on the project. The parents were planning to participate in this year?s 474-mile trek.

?Since they?re friends of ours, and knew the route stops, they said, ?Why don?t you set up a bake sale and serve all the bikers??? Maxfield said. ?Because they?ve done this for several years, they knew what the bikers like to eat and what services and things they like.

?Katie kind of brought it up, too, and said, ?Let?s do it together.??

The possibility of some extra spending money was another motivator, especially for Katie, who moved to their home south of Hillsboro this spring.

?Since they?re new to town, she had to quit her job where she used to live, so she doesn?t have a real steady summer job,? Maxfield said. ?So I said we could make some money doing this.?

Helping with the project were Maxfield?s husband, Jonathan, her daughters, Allison and Kate, and her mother, Donna Dalke.

The team baked 28 pies of six varieties, ?many hundred? cookies of eight varieties, and several dozen cinnamon rolls. They also provided free water and a hand-washing station.

The team set up shop in the early hours of Wednesday morning at the Jost Skelly station at D and Ash streets and waited for the bicyclists to roll in.

The first potential customers arrived from the previous night?s stop in McPherson at about 6:30 a.m., Maxfield said. The biggest rush was between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. and the last cyclists pedalled through about 11 a.m.

?With the heat from the day before, people really wanted to get out and get going before it got so hot,? Maxwell said about the early start.

After the 25-mile jaunt from McPherson, the local pit stop was well-received.

?We sold out of cinnamon rolls and sold most of our pies and many cookies,? Maxfield said. ?We still have quite a few cookies?they might be at the farmers market this week.?

Beyond lively sales, the biggest payoff came in the form of good will.

?My goodness, they were so nice and so complimentary,? Maxfield said. ?Many of the people who ate would come back and say, ?Thank you for serving us, we appreciate that you?re here, your pies and your food were very good.?

?Some people even gave us money and didn?t want or take anything,? she added. ?A lot of people asked for a tip jar. One lady gave us five dollars and said, ?I just appreciate your effort and that you?re here and you?re giving free water and having a hand-wash station.??

The pack of bicyclists included a third participant from Hillsboro, Randal Claassen. But several of the bicyclists had local connections, Maxfield said.

?They would say, ?Do you know so-and-so?I worked for them years ago. Tell them so-and-so said hi,?? she said.

?This is definitely a social event for many of them,? Maxfield added. ?Several of them said, ?We don?t call it biking across Kansas, we call it eating across Kansas.? We heard several people say that.?

Bike Across Kansas varies its route from year to year. This year it began June 5 at the Colorado border, about 16 miles west of Tribune. It finished June 12 at the Missouri border, just west of La Cygne.

Along the way, the group made overnight stops at Tribune, Scott City, Ness City, Hoisington, McPher?son, Cotton?wood Falls, Burling?ton and Garnett.

The group was hosted in local high schools. The stops ranged from a high of 74 miles in one day to a low of 40.

After leaving Hillsboro, the bicyclists stopped for lunch and a rest at Marion before heading to Cottonwood Falls, where they spent the night in Chase County High School.

The people who manned the Hillsboro pit stop said the effort was worthwhile.

?It was a fun deal and just kind of a spur-of-the-moment thing,? said Donna Dalke, matriarch of the group.

?We met so many neat people,? she added. ?A lot of them were from out-of-state. We got good compliments. I thought we were kind of ambassadors for Hillsboro, maybe.?

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