Bicycle Across Missouri will cover legendary Route 66

Missouri Life Magazine’s Big BAM (Bicycle Across Missouri) will ride across Route 66 in June. The upcoming annual six-day recreational ride across our state will be hosted by the following towns: Joplin, Willard, Lebanon, Waynesville, Rolla, Cuba, and Eureka.  

Riders will start on June 13 in Joplin and ramble along rural routes and climb the Ozark foothills to the town of Willard to stay the night. On June 14, riders will experience a trek through valleys along Route 66 to our third overnight town, Lebanon. The next day, cyclists will experience the shortest day of 35 miles, just to Waynesville with the opportunity to float down the river afterward. On June 16, the ride travels along Devils Elbow before entering Rolla. The next day, they will pass several wineries and murals along the route to Cuba. Then the ride will end in Eureka.

Photo—Notley Hawkins

This year’s route is familiar to past riders. “This [route] truly is a piece of history to be able to experience it more intimately on a bicycle, instead of an enclosed car,” says Chris Webster, a cyclist who has been riding Big BAM since 2015. “You can just almost feel how it was back in the day when families would go on vacations. You would stop off at these old souvenir stores and stop off and see the World’s Largest Rocking Chair and roadside attractions.”

The ride through the Mother Road includes samplings of local food, locally produced wine, beer, and distilled products. Cyclists will be able to hear live music from local talents, explore and shop the towns along the route, as well as experience Big Piney River for a few hours along the waterways via kayak, canoe, or paddleboard. 

Patrick Tuttle, the tourism director in Joplin, says, “Route 66 is America’s longest museum and therefore it’s got a lot of Americana on there that you won’t see anywhere else.”

Big BAM is a fully supported ride, which includes a camping area each night, gear transport, hot showers, water and relief stations every 10 to 15 miles, SAG support, and bicycle mechanics. Plus, there is a concert every night that is free and open to the public.

For more information, visit BigBAMRide.com. The sponsor of the event, Missouri Life Magazine, is the state’s largest paid circulation travel and lifestyle magazine.