The 44th year of the longest-running bicycling event in Kansas history — a 558-mile ride across the State — begins today.

Biking Across Kansas is an eight-day tour originating at the Kansas-Colorado line with up to 700 bicyclists, including support staff.

The bicyclists will start at the Kansas-Colorado line west of Johnson City.

Their overnight stops will be Montezuma, Ashland, Pratt, Clearwater, Burden, Fredonia, and Arma.

The cyclists’ final night together will be in Arma on Friday, June 15.

The following morning, they will cycle to the Missouri border in Arcadia and cycle into Fort Scott, where they will celebrate the end of the ride with a picnic at the Fort Scott National Historic Site.

BAK is also routed through: Ulysses, Meade, Greensburg, Coldwater, Zenda, Belle Plaine, Winfield, Longton, Elk City, St. Paul, and many more Kansas towns.

"2018 offers a variation of the much-requested southern route that Biking Across Kansas has visited less frequently than other parts of the state," said David Rohr, Chairman of Biking Across Kansas, Inc.

"The route will take cyclists through several scenic regions of Kansas including the wide-open High Plains, the Red Hills, the famed wheat country of south central Kansas, and the rolling Flint Hills.

"Highlights along the way include the Adobe Museum in Ulysses, the Stauth Museum in Montezuma, the Dalton Gang Hideout in Meade, the Big Basin sinkhole in Clark county, the World's Largest Hand-Dug Well in Greensburg, the Bartlett Arboretum in Belle Plaine, and Historic Fort Scott."

Participants will enjoy the state’s favorable cycling conditions as well as people, attractions, food, and entertainment in rural Kansas.

Bicyclists will also visit residents at Parkwood Village in Pratt and Morningstar Care in Fredonia to visit with residents and share about bicycling, bicycling gear, and BAK.

The Spokesmen, BAK's barbershop chorus, will serenade residents. Participants represent 26 states and 124 cities in 65 Kansas counties.

Ages range from 10 - 85. Quite a number or riders have participated in BAK for more than 40 years.

The primary objectives of Biking Across Kansas are to promote wellness through bicycling, celebrate Kansas history and the beauty of its landscape, and enjoy the warm hospitality of its towns and people.

For more information on Biking Across Kansas 2018, visit bak.org.