Cyclists turn out in attempt to break world record


By Denise Neil

By Denise Neil

The Wichita Eagle

(MCT) — The hundreds of bicyclists who rolled through Riverfest on Saturday in an attempt to break a world record won't know officially for a few weeks whether they achieved their single-file goal. But they had a good time trying.

They were participating in an event designed by the festival to promote bicycling and to get Wichita to set a Guinness World Record. The goal: Get 1,200 bikers to ride in a single-file continuous line, starting at the WaterWalk, heading west on Waterman, to McLean, north to Douglas, east to Main, then back to where they started at the WaterWalk. The current continuous bike train record stands at 1,148 cyclists.

Though anecdotal evidence suggests that numbers on Saturday might have been a bit short of the goal, festival officials say they won't know until Sunday or Monday how many people participated. If it looks like they did get enough people after all, it'll take Guinness several weeks to verify that the record was broken, said Ann Keefer, the festival's vice president of programming.

Around 12:30 p.m., the Hyatt lawn was filling up with bicyclists wanting to be part of the attempt.

The crowd included people of all ages and bicycles of all styles. There were mountain bikes, trail bikes, cruiser bikes, recumbent bikes and bicycles built for two. There were bikes with jumbo tires. Bikes with tiny tires. Bikes with baskets filled with puppy passengers. Parents toting kids in pull-behind contraptions. Training wheels. Ape hanger handlebars. Bikes with honking horns. Bikes with ringing bells.

Many people came with their bicycles already decorated, like one woman who had hers completely covered with artificial flowers. Other people decorated theirs when they arrived, using colorful balloons, ribbons, streamers, pinwheels and flags provided by organizers.

Only 25 minutes after it started, the event was over. Participants regathered on the Hyatt lawn to compare bicycles, trade tips and speculate about the world record chances.

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