Grandfather, grandson complete BAK together

Friday, June 22, 2018
Richard Long, Mound City, approaches Skubitz Plaza at the finish of Bike Across Kansas June 16. Long, 72, and his grandson, Hunter Holt, 14, completed the entire 558-mile course.
Tammy Helm/Tribune

A Linn County man and his grandson recently completed the state-wide Bike Across Kansas event, which finished last Saturday at Skubitz Plaza.

Richard Long, 72, and his grandson, Hunter Holt, 14, completed the 558-mile long course that began at the Colorado state line near Johnson County and finished up at the Missouri State line four miles east of Fort Scott.

Long, pastor of the Mapleton Community of Christ, was participating in the event for the third time. He also rode in the 2014 and 2015 races. Holt was involved for the first time.

(From left) Linda and Dan Scharenberg congratulate Hunter Holt and Richard Long after the completed the Bike Across Kansas June 16 at Fort Scott.
Tammy Helm/Tribune

“It was great to have somebody you can bike with,” Long said. “It can get a bit lonely. We have different riding styles and I might bike five or six miles ahead and then wait for him to catch up.”

Even if Long got too far ahead, other riders along the course looked out for Holt.

“We’re all family after the first few days,” Long said. “We all looked out for each other.”

Although Holt was on his first long-distance ride, he gets around by riding his bike from place to place and covers some fairly long distances.

“(Hunter’s family) live about a mile or so outside of Mound City,” Long said. “Hunter bikes to the library or to his other grandparents’ house.”

Long said that his grandson had the support of the other riders in Bike Across Kansas and even came across some help when he needed it pretty badly.

“He had mostly a grin on his face that he got it done,” Long said. “People were bragging on him that he could do it. On the hills and in the strong winds, they’d encourage him.

“He had a flat tire at one point but it happened near a service station. And they patched it up for him.”

The pair probably won’t ride together next year as Holt’s Spanish class is planning a summer trip to Spain.

Holt is the son of Kirk and Christa Holt, who are both coaches and teachers at Jayhawk-Linn High School in Mound City.