On May 4, 2024, the quaint town of Pittsburgh, Kansas, transformed into a bustling hub of cyclists and history enthusiasts as it hosted the annual Coal Miner’s Century Bike Ride. This event, which has become a beloved tradition, offers participants a unique opportunity to explore the scenic beauty of southeast Kansas while honoring the region’s rich coal mining heritage.

As dawn broke on that Saturday morning, cyclists from across the country gathered at the starting line, eagerly anticipating the adventure that lay ahead. With the sun casting a golden glow over the rolling hills and lush green countryside, riders set off on their journey, embarking on a century-long trek through history.

The Coal Miner’s Century Bike Ride is more than just a physical challenge; it’s a testament to the resilience and spirit of the hardworking men and women who once toiled in the coal mines of this region. As cyclists pedaled along the winding roads, they passed by remnants of the coal mining era – weathered mine shafts, abandoned railroad tracks, and quaint mining towns that still bear the scars of their industrial past.

 One of the highlights of the ride is the opportunity to visit the Miners Memorial in nearby Frontenac. Here, riders pause to pay their respects to the miners who lost their lives in the pursuit of coal. The memorial stands as a somber reminder of the sacrifices made by those who helped fuel the nation’s growth and prosperity.

But amidst the solemnity, there is also a sense of camaraderie and celebration among the riders. Along the route, volunteers hand out snacks and refreshments, offering much-needed sustenance to weary cyclists. Local bands provide musical entertainment, filling the air with lively tunes that echo through the valleys and hills.

For many participants, the Coal Miner’s Century Bike Ride is not just a physical challenge, but a journey of self-discovery and reflection. As they pedal through the picturesque countryside, surrounded by the beauty of nature and the echoes of history, riders find themselves transported to a bygone era, where hard work and perseverance were the cornerstones of daily life.

As the day wears on and the miles tick by, riders push themselves to their limits, drawing strength from the stories of the miners who came before them. And when they finally cross the finish line, exhausted but exhilarated, they know that they have not only conquered the course but also honored the legacy of the coal mining community.

The Coal Miner’s Century Bike Ride is more than just a bike ride; it’s a celebration of history, heritage, and the indomitable human spirit. Year after year, cyclists return to Pittsburgh, Kansas, drawn by the allure of this unique event and the opportunity to connect with the past in a meaningful and profound way.

As the sun sets on another successful ride, participants bid farewell to Pittsburgh, their hearts full of memories and their spirits renewed. And as they head home, they carry with them the legacy of the coal miners and the timeless reminder that true strength comes not from the power of the pedal, but from the depths of the human soul.

Thanks to our dedicated local ARES personnel who supplied radio communications for monitoring the riders and ensuring their safety at all times.  Present were Thomas Zeller, KB0ORZ,  and Tim Ryder, N5STR, who operated the Arcadia KS rest stop, with guest appearances from Matt KG0W, Jeff KA0EGE, and Steve KE0AKN. They utilized a dual band antenna up at 36 feet on the back of the Lamar Ham-Mobile bus for the APRS IGATE and repeater communications. With the use of the bus’s IP camera, at about 30 feet to keep an eye on things, the event was a success and a lot of fun, reports Tim, N5STR.  He issues a big Thanks to our neighbors and friends in Kansas, Crawford County ARES for inviting us to participate in the festivities.

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