PEABODY – This weekend, residents will have the chance to safely explore Marion County with the inaugural Flint Hills Counterpoint Musical Bike Adventure Ride. The ride, on April 17, will take bicyclists through a 15 or 30 mile trail of Marion County, with stops along the way for musical entertainment and refreshments.
Susan Mayo, home-base Flint Hills Counterpoint, said, “Part of the whole project is outreach tours into Marion County, appreciate what’s here, bring people in, and let people know what’s here.” The ride will feature two courses, a 15-mile ride to The Copper Shed and back to Mayo’s property, and a 30-mile route to The Copper Shed and then on to Marion Park. From Marion Park, riders can either return using the same route, or take an alternate, primarily gravel and dirt road route back to Mayo’s home.
Becki Yoder, one of the primary coordinators of the ride, said it was an opportunity to share a hobby. With COVID-19 still keeping people apart, the bicycle ride allows for low-risk interactions, outdoors, with people who share a common interest.
“A lot of people have signed up by themselves. You go on these rides and you end up talking to people, and eventually you find someone that bikes at your speed, and you finish the ride with that person or group of people, and that’s what makes it fun. You get to know people,” she said.
Yoder, who helped plan the route, said there will be plenty of Marion County’s beauty on full display, particularly along the 30-mile route.
“It’s really beautiful. It’s just dirt roads that curve and wind and not many farmsteads. You’re out in the Flint Hills. You can imaging being out there and what it would look like in the early 1900s,” she said.
Along the way, Mayo said riders will be treated to live music and snacks at the two stops, and a luncheon back at her homestead. At the return of the ride, Mayo said Marilyn Jones, a former greenhouse owner and community advocate, will be handing out sunflower seeds. Shirley Davis will have her massage table at Flint Hills Counterpoint and will be offering first-come-first-serve massages for donations to Flint Hills Counterpoint .
Local singer and songwriter Aaron Widel will perform from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm at The Copper Shed. A husband and wife professional violinist and cellist will perform at Marion’s Central/Booker Park from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm.
“They do arrangements of all kinds of fun things, Paraguayan folk tunes, classical, jazz, anyone is welcome to their performance in the park, even if they are not signed up for the bike tour,” said Mayo
Pretend Friend, a bluegrass band from Wichita, will be performing at Mayo’s homestead from 11:45 am to 2:45 pm.
Yoder said she will be available for cyclists “who can’t finish the route, or get into any kind of trouble” with a pickup truck to bring riders back to Flint Hills Counterpoint.
Mayo said the event is the first of many that feature Marion County’s beauty and artistic talent.
“The idea behind the whole process is to start projects and maintain this type of activity in the county. This is a big kickoff and lets people really know what is going on,” she said.