Newspaper accounts of BAK 2008



A little family time together on the road



James Rorstrom has found the perfect way to get the full attention of his teenage daughter when he speaks to her this week.

And father and daughter are having the time of their lives, even though there is some work involved.

Rorstrom and 13-year-old Katarina are riding a tandem bicycle in the 34th annual Biking Across Kansas, and they are communicating through an intercom system hooked to their helmets.

"It's great," Rorstrom said. "Intercoms make it all worthwhile."

The father-daughter combination is one of several family groups making the 470-mile trek across Kansas on bicycles, braving the elements and getting a taste of rural Kansas firsthand.

With the sun hiding behind a cloud and a slight breeze, the early-morning portion of Tuesday's ride promised to be a pleasant one.

However, there had been talk of the wind picking up later in the day, and the Rorstroms wanted to knock off a good chunk of their 55-mile journey from Smith Center to Beloit before Mother Nature made her presence known in a big way.

Having lived in western Kansas for nearly 15 years, Rorstrom is well aware of how the wind can make even a short ride a lot more work, especially on a tandem.

But, he's learning, what a way to go.

"A big advantage of a tandem, you don't leave the other person behind," Rorstrom said. "When you're on a tandem, you're hooked together, like it or not."

So far, the Rorstroms like it -- a lot.

Although Katarina looked a little tuckered when she got off their bicycle at Cawker City, she soon regained her enthusiasm when she spotted the World's Largest Ball of Twine.

"I want my picture taken," she told her dad as she nearly danced up the steps to the platform that holds the roll of nearly 8 million feet of twine that weighs a little more than 9 tons.

Rorstrom is an experienced bicyclist who has participated in rides in Colorado.

But he thought it was time to take a family member along, so he purchased a tandem last year and took a week off his job as director of pharmacy at Hays Medical Center.

Katarina is the oldest of four siblings -- she left three younger brothers home with their mom, Jane -- and Katarina said she hardly can wait to tell them about her experience.

"They'll probably go sometime, too," Rorstrom said of BAK. "But she's the oldest, so she gets first shot."

"Katarina doesn't get to do much with dad by herself, so this is fun," he added.

Another father in the medical field also decided to take some time off from work to hang out with his own daughter -- times two.

Dr. Cranston Cederlind, an obstetrician from Lenexa, traded delivering babies this week for spending time on the road with daughters Shannon, 28, and Amy, 27.

Cederlind, a 22-year veteran of BAK, has taken his wife, Cheri, on the trip 15 times.

Last year, he talked older daughter Shannon to go along.

"And I convinced her to go after I had fun last year," Shannon said, nodding toward her younger sister.

So Mom stayed home this time around, as did another mother, Tricia Marsh, from Topeka.

Marsh owns Bobo's Drive-In, a popular fast-food restaurant in Topeka, along with her husband, Richard.

Richard Marsh wanted company on his first BAK, so he asked his 10-year-old son, Tristan, one of the youngest riders on the trip, to accompany him.

Even younger is 8-year-old Natalie Johnson from Shawnee, the third rider on a "triplet," a three-seater.

Her dad, Mark Johnson, and his crew actually started the 2008 BAK route on a four-seater before his oldest daughter went home and left younger sister and Julie Reed, a family friend, behind with Dad.

There also was a mother-son combo -- Pam Millershaski from Ingalls and her 10-year-old son, Ryan, each riding their own bicycles.

"It's a wonderful way," Cranston Cederlind said, "to spend time with the family."