By CRISTINA JANNEY
The Tour Die Kapellen (Tour of Chapels) bike ride has already exceeded its total registration from last year's event.
However, there is still time to sign up for the bike tour or the event's new bus tour option.
The event, which is in its third year, will be July 9 and begin at Hays Municipal Park.
The event this year will offer 15-, 30-, 50-, 62-, 75- and 100-mile rides. In addition, the event will offer a 54-mile multi-surface ride — 27 miles of which will be on gravel.
Maps of the routes can be found on the event website. Registration for both the bike ride and bus tour can be done online at the same website.
Riders that choose the 75- or 100-mile options can ride self-supported to visit the churches in Schoenchen and Antonino.
Volunteer-manned support-and-go (SAG) stops with water and snacks will be offered at the main church stops in Catherine, Victoria, Pfiefer and Munjor. Coolers with water and snacks will be left at the churches in Schoenchen and Antonio for riders who choose the self-supported 75- and 100-mile rides.
The 15-mile casual ride will be led by experienced cyclists Kathy Rome and Susan Bowles. They will instruct new cyclists about the rules of road cycling.
"What our hope is to generate a culture of bicycling that is more prominent in our community," Werth said, "from a health perspective and an economical perspective with the cost of gas and for our drivers so that they are accepting ...
"It's a healthy thing for your heart," she said. "It's a healthy thing for the environment."
The early registration deadlines for both the bike ride and bus tour are June 24. Those who register by that date will receive a free event T-shirt.
The cost of the bike ride is $45 per person. The cost of the bus tour is $60 per person.
After June 24, cost of the bike ride will be $55 per person, and the cost of the bus tour will be $75 per person.
On-site registration will open for the bike ride at 6:30 a.m.
Preregistration is required for the bus tour. Slots are filling fast. A waiting list for the bus tour will be maintained if the bus fills.
In addition to the church stops, the bus tour will also drive by Grant's Villa and Historic Fort Hays. It will also pass by the old Walker Air Base and the remains of the Emmeram Church. All registrants receive a SWAG bag and a T-shirt.
The bus will return to Municipal Park to join in the After-Ride Party, which will include a German meal, beverage and music by the Joe Dolezal Polka Band.
The tour guide for the bus tour will be local historian Mary Kay Schippers.
Event organizers discourage people from trying to visit the churches that day by car. The increased traffic on the roads could be a hazard to bicyclists, Kay Werth, event coordinator, said.
The Tour Die Kapellen was conceived with the idea proceeds from the event would go to Ellis County nonprofit groups. This year the event will donate proceeds to the St. Francis Church in Munjor, which will use the funds for facility projects.
The event gave money to the Basilica on the Plains in Victoria in 2019 for its remodel, and $12,000 to St. Catherine Church in Catharine for interior repainting in 2021.
Members of the Hays Symphony will be playing portions of musical pieces in Catharine, Victoria, Pfeifer and Munjor. See the schedule below for the musicians and their locations.
"The members of the Hays Symphony will be playing snippets of music in between so people can get the ambiance of the music with those cathedral ceilings," Werth said.
Werth said the ideas behind the bike tour are to promote wellness, bring people to Ellis County, create an appreciation for the rural terrain and Volga German heritage, and promote the Hays Symphony.
Saturday, July 9
6:30–7:15 a.m. — Registration (Pick up packets at Municipal Park, Hays)
7:15 a.m. — Announcements, national anthem, invocation
7:30–8 a.m. — Sheriff escorts riders (cycling 30 or more miles) out of Hays
8– 8:30 a.m. — Bus Tour Participants meet across from Municipal Park, at NCK Tech. Participants will check in with Jeannie Kline as they board the bus. They will get packets and have their wristbands put on for the tour.
8:15–9:15 a.m. — St. Catherine Church, Catharine – Music by Ben Cline, Gamba and Hilary Shepard, Baroque flute
8:30 a.m. — Bus departs from Municipal Park
8:30–9:45 a.m. — St. Fidelis Church, Basilica of the Plains, Victoria
— Music by St. Fidelis Brass Quintet
9 a.m. — 15-mile cyclists meet at the shelter house in Municipal Park
9:30–9:45 a.m. —15-mile, casual ride departs Municipal Park
9:30–11:30 a.m. — Holy Cross Church, Pfeifer – Music provided by Hays Symphony Conductor Brian Buckstead, violinist
10–11:30 a.m. — St. Francis Church, Munjor — Music provided by Harpist, Jane Hyde
Optional rides to Schoenchen and Antonino churches are self-supported
11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. — St. Francis Church, Munjor — Music provided by Hays Symphony principal flutist and clarinetist, Hilary Shepard and Kristin Pisano
11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. — German Meal prepared by St. Francis Church, Munjor, Defiance Brewery and root beer and cream soda provided by LB Brewing, Gella’s
Noon to 2 p.m. — music provided by the Joe Dolezal Polka Band in Municipal Park, Hays
For those cyclists continuing the self-supported 75- or 100-mile options, arrange your schedule to enjoy the meal and music in the window provided.