Employee Spotlight – Dan Schrick

Every five years of service, Farmers Alliance provides a financial gift to employees, and when Dan Schrick celebrated 30 years with the company earlier this year, he knew exactly how he would spend his reward. He purchased a new bike that he would ride for Bike Across Kansas (BAK).

Bike Across Kansas

BAK is an eight-day bicycle tour across Kansas that starts along the Colorado border west of Coolidge and finishes east of Louisburg along the Missouri border. Dan heard about BAK several years ago, but he did not feel that he was physically prepared for the 512-mile ride. “I ride 10 to 15 miles in the evenings a few times a week, and I have done several long-distance rides before but never more than 50 miles. I was attracted to the idea of traveling through the state and experiencing the sights on a bicycle,” Dan said. 

BAK was canceled the last couple of years, so Dan decided to use that time to train for the big tour. Earlier this year, he signed up, along with his 26-year-old daughter. His wife and four-year-old grandson traveled by car along with them from town to town.

Stories from the Road

Dan said, “the mornings were always the best. We would start out at about 6:00 AM each day when the air was cool and there was no traffic. As the sun was coming up, we would travel for miles and see nothing but beautiful Kansas landscapes with the occasional tractor or combine.” While the mornings were pleasant, on many days the heat indexes reached 100+ degrees. Many communities offered cold drinks, and some even put out sprinklers to help riders beat the heat. “The last 10 miles of our second day as we were traveling through Western Kansas the temperature and the heat came up, and I was not sure if I could make it. We powered through and each day after the rides seemed to get easier.”

As Dan and his daughter rode through Emporia, they accidentally missed a detour and rode through a construction zone, leaving some tire tracks in freshly poured concrete. “The construction workers were taking a lunch break under a nearby shade tree and just smiled as we rode by. We plan to revisit the area someday and see our permanent tire tracks,” said Dan.

At the end of each day, they had the option of camping or sleeping in a high school gymnasium. “I opted to camp. With over 500 riders, there were many tents and plenty of company.” Dan said “the evening meals were often prepared by a local church or school as a fundraiser. The food was always good!

Renewed Goal

When he started training, Dan had a goal in mind to finish the ride as quickly and uneventfully as possible. As the days went by, his goal changed. “I wanted to ride at my own pace, enjoying the scenery, and taking time to interact with people in the small towns who were waiting to greet us as we came through.” Dan happily reports that he achieved his new goal, with the bonus of some great time together as a family along the way, and a renewed appreciation for the peaceful scenery and great people of Kansas.