The Bicycle Ride Across Nebraska, or BRAN, is getting new organizers.
The Omaha Pedalers Bicycle Club is taking over the annual ride that takes cyclists across the state. It ends the Northwest Rotary Club of Omaha’s 38-year run organizing the event.
The change has been in the works since August and became official last week, said Kim Scherlie, president of the Omaha Pedalers Bicycle Club.
“If we wouldn’t have taken it over, (the last ride) probably would have been the last of BRAN,” Scherlie said.
The next ride will be in June.
Wes Galusha, past race director of BRAN, said the rotary club’s membership was getting older and fewer members were able to be as involved in the ride.
In recent years, attendance had gone down. Galusha, who recently left the rotary club, said the ride was capped at about 650 riders in recent years. This year’s event saw about 425 riders. He said it’s likely because BRAN riders also were getting older.
“By bringing the pedalers in with a more youthful attitude, perhaps we’ll be able to get younger riders back into riding across the state,” Galusha said. “... The whole point was that we wanted them to be able to take over the ride and continue what’s been a great tradition.”
Scherlie said the 2019 BRAN route will be announced in November. She expects to offer the typical seven-day route and a shorter distance, too.
“It’s going to have the same feel and fit as it had before,” Scherlie said. “... We’re excited that we took it (over) and we’re going to be able to do the same thing we’ve done in the past.”
Many of the bicycle club’s members volunteered at past BRAN events.
The Omaha Pedalers Bicycle Club is in its 50th year. The club offers about 10 signature rides annually from May to October. They also host a movie night and bicycle swap meet.