River Festival

Riverfest 2015: Two Guinness World Record attempts to happen during festival

Last year, Wichita fell short of the Guinness World Record for a moving line of bicycles. Will this year be a record-breaking year?
Last year, Wichita fell short of the Guinness World Record for a moving line of bicycles. Will this year be a record-breaking year? File photo

Watch out, Davis, Calif.

For the second year in a row, bicyclists in Wichita will try to break a world record set for the longest single line of moving bicyclists. In fact, it’s one of two attempts to set Guinness World Records that will take place during Riverfest.

“Last year, with very little publicity, we were able to mass about 850 riders of all shapes, sizes and abilities,” said Barry Carroll, a member of Bike Walk Wichita who is leading the effort. “Our goal would be about 1,200 riders in a straight line that could be documented.”

That would surpass the record set by 916 participants in Davis, a farming and college town near Sacramento, in October 2010, according to the Guinness World Records website. Organized by members of the Order of Odd Fellows lodge, that effort had 1,148 people at the start, but because of the length of the route, only 916 were able to line up at once.

Something similar happened last year in Wichita, which is why the loop that will be ridden by this year’s participants is longer. Bicyclists will start out south of the Hyatt Regency, cross over to the west bank of the Arkansas River, head north on McLean Boulevard, cross back over on First Street and travel south on Waco to Douglas in front of Century II.

Organizers plan to document the attempt by registering riders and setting up a video camera somewhere along the route to record each rider. Riders can sign up at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium at 9 a.m. on Saturday or by going to the Bike Walk Wichita website (bikewalkwichita.org).

One other change this year: Ride “marshals” from Bike Walk Wichita will be at the head of the pack to cut down on any confusion.

“We’re trying to have a little more order,” Carroll said. “Last year, we had multiple loops going on.”

Carroll said the festival’s start on Friday, during National Bike Month, makes it a natural for bicycling-related events. He and other Bike Walk Wichita members think the city is coming into its own regarding bicycling as new paths and trails open and more people appreciate the activity’s benefits on a personal and broader level.

“To me, the (Guinness) record maybe isn’t as important as the event of getting bicycles downtown, having fun, building a community of bicycle riders,” he said.

The other attempt to break a world record won’t require any exercise beyond standing. The Young Professionals of Wichita are organizing what they hope turns out to be the largest human image of an airplane.

Tim Brunson, a YPW board member, said the idea came to him while trying to figure out a way for the organization to become involved in Riverfest.

“What’s something special to Wichita? Obviously, airplanes,” he said.

The group has set a goal of about 2,500 participants – enough to best a human image of an airplane created in Singapore in 2013, Brunson said. Currently, the record listed on the Guinness World Records website – 294 people, gathered in Rome last year – is much smaller.

Brunson said that “294’s pretty beatable. How cool would it be to bring that (record) to Wichita?”

The organization will make its attempt at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. Brunson wasn’t sure yet whether the parking lot or stadium itself would be used. People can register at the stadium or by going to a Facebook page, RiverFest World Record 2015.

The attempt will take place at 6 p.m. on June 5 – Aviation Day at Riverfest.

If You Go

World record attempts

What: World’s longest line of bicycles

When: Noon-1 p.m. on Saturday

Where: RedGuard Stage

What: Largest human airplane

When: 6-8 p.m. June 5

Where: Lawrence-Dumont Stadium

Bikes at Riverfest

▪ Bike Walk Wichita is holding two other events during Riverfest as well. Throughout the festival, volunteers from the group will offer free “valet bike parking” at Ackerman’s Backyard, holding bicycles in a secure area until their owners return for them. Barry Carroll, a member of Bike Walk Wichita, said the idea is to encourage people to ride to Riverfest. Actually, any human-powered locomotion is welcome. “We even parked four kayaks last year,” Carroll said.

▪ Starting at the valet area at 11 a.m. on June 6, Bike Walk Wichita member Steve Palmer will lead a one-hour cycling tour of downtown Wichita, focusing on historic buildings.