NEWS SOURCE: MCA, WEEK 25, PAGE 3A
PICTURE ABOVE: Pals Sue Walker, Shelly Painter, and Dede Mitchell relax at the Paris rest stop at the Monroe County Courthouse during Big BAM.
YOUTUBE DESCRIPTION: The Big BAM (Bicycle Across Missouri) bike tour spent day five of six exploring the sites and views of Monroe County, Missouri. The Monroe County Appeal covered some of their journey including the historic Union Covered Bridge and the town of Paris, Missouri.
Dede Mitchell was one of two bike riders from Paris, Missouri to participate in this year’s Big BAM biking tour and music festival. The 6-day route was designed to showcase the hospitality of Missouri’s small towns and incredible live, local talent.
The route of days four and five, specifically, impacted Mitchell because the course ran throughout three towns that were dear to her heart: Higbee, Moberly, and Paris.
“Big BAM chose me,” said Mitchell.
Mitchell graduated high school from Higbee R-VIII School District and has fond memories of Moberly’s softball fields in which she called “her second home.” She now resides in Paris, the same town her two children, Jesse and Tara, both graduated from.
Her favorite part about her Big BAM experience has been meeting all the talented bike riders across the United States and being without technology, which has allowed her to reconnect with herself without outside influence.
“When you wake up and you see nothing but fields and the run rising, you know that God is with you and that everything will be okay. It is a very spiritual experience,” said Mitchell.
She explained that after participated in RAGBRAI last July, she wasn’t positive she’d ever complete a bike tour again. The 2016 course, featured across seven days, had routes covering almost 420 miles throughout Iowa.
“I just came back broken,” said Mitchell. “It was so hard and the hills were upright.”
However, with the rejuvenating effect of Big BAM, Mitchell is ready to continue her biking efforts in several tours throughout the coming months. She is especially excited about the “Total Eclipse of the Katy Bicycle Ride” taking place on August 21, starting at Rocheport and finishing in Jefferson City. Sue Walker, Paris resident and juvenile officer at the 10th Judicial Circuit of Missouri, will be joining her for the adventure of a lifetime.
Mitchell, Walker, community business owner Cherylene Ramos, and several other community members are also biking throughout Illinois on September 9-10 for “Bike MS: Gateway Getaway Ride 2017” benefiting those affected by multiple sclerosis. They are already accepting donations for the charity. Links to their donation sites can be found scattered throughout their Facebook pages.
“Life is a journey. It ends when you take your last breath,” she concluded and encouraged everyone to get out and support one another – whether that be biking, participating in events that benefit your local communities, or donating to charities that friends or family are involved with.
Disclosure: Article, pictures, and video were all created by Danielle Wheelan while working for the Monroe County Appeal.