Bicycle Ride Across Nebraska
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What is BRAN?

BRAN stands for Bicycle Ride Across Nebraska.  Jerry Baird, a Northwest Rotarian, given the job of finding a community service project for a fledging Rotary Club spawned it.  He saw an employee of his, Ray Weinberg, take a week of vacation to ride his bicycle across Iowa on the Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI). After questioning Ray's sanity, he proposed the project to the club as a fundraiser for charity.  It was such a simple idea, a cross-state bicycle ride with proceeds to help others.  With the help of wayward dentist John Wupper, BRAN was conceptualized in 1980.

As of 2008 (the 28th year of the ride), we've visited Ninety-three counties and 22 different starting towns; Over the years, the ride has developed a fine reputation and a lot of support throughout Nebraska. The past and current organizers have had the wonderful opportunity to meet some great folks on the ride and across the state.  And after 28 years, we are still questioning Ray's sanity.

BRAN as an entity is set up as a charitable Nebraska non-profit corporation. Its intent is to provide a fun, safe way for participants to experience the great state of Nebraska.  Technically, separate from both the Rotary Club of Northwest Omaha and the Omaha Pedalers Bicycle Club, it uses its excess revenues to provide scholarships to Nebraska high school graduates to Nebraska Colleges and Universities.  It is a way to give back to the state for what the state has given us over the years.  We want to stop the "brain drain" from Nebraska while at the same time supporting safe cycling.  Our vision is to have a BRAN scholarship at every Nebraska College and University.

BRAN is more than a bike ride, fundraiser, or a community service project. It is in fact a multifaceted experience, which benefits many in the state of Nebraska.

What does BRAN provide?

  • Sport and Recreation - for 600 cyclists and their accompanying friends and family.  BRAN represents many participants' "summer vacation."  One rider has ridden all 27 previous BRANs; many have ridden 20 or more.  The ride represents a healthy way to see the great state of Nebraska.
     
  • Camaraderie - for Northwest Rotarians who work together exemplifying "service above self".  Over twenty-five Northwest Rotarians work on BRAN during the year.  From loading the buses and semi that bring the riders to the start to hosting a "welcome home" reception and hot dog roast, BRAN is truly an innovative service club project.
     
  • Visibility - for both cycling and the Northwest Rotary Club throughout the state and nationally. BRAN is a high profile event.  It receives excellent media coverage in the state, the region and nationally. It is known throughout the United States as an extremely well organized event.
     
  • Safety - for a fun event where participant's safety is of foremost concern.   BRAN has had an excellent safety record in its 28 years.  No serious accidents or injuries are remarkable for a long running event of this type.  BRAN riders have pedaled over 7 milion miles over the years without a serious incident.
     
  • Community Service - for statewide impact by providing money to fund scholarships for Nebraska High School graduates to Nebraska colleges and universities.  Besides the scholarships, BRAN provides revenue to community civic and church groups who put on "feeds" for the riders or who use the "BRAN experience" to better help their community.
     
  • Fund Raising - for providing a means to establish an endowment to perpetuate its scholarship activities.  BRAN is not a fundraising ride. We do not ask riders to collect pledges.  In fact, our registration fee barely covers the direct costs of putting on the ride.  We have done an excellent job of controlling expenses, which allows us to offer scholarships.
     
  • Rural-Urban Interaction - for an opportunity to bring people from rural and urban Nebraska together for a common cause.  City folks and country folks too often don't get a chance to interact with each other.  BRAN brings both of these groups together to explore all they have in common.  BRAN riders often remark about the beauty of Nebraska - both its countryside and its people.
     
  • Support for Cycling - for being the premier cycling event in the state and by sponsoring the Omaha Pedalers Bicycle Club Hotline.  In addition, to the OPBC Hotline, BRAN lends out its equipment to other cycling and sports groups.  Our goal is to share what we have with others.
     
  • Tourism - for the experience of seeing the beauty of Nebraska and appreciating its rich history.  BRAN has won the state tourism award in the "Events" category a number of times.  A typical BRAN ride will have participants from 25-35 different states, and 50-70 different Nebraska towns and villages.  Over the years we have had participants from ten other countries ride with us.
     
  • Economic Development - for generating significant economic activity for villages, towns, and cities throughout the state.  On five occasions we have run "Two Dollar Tuesday" a unique way of measuring economic impact in an overnight town.  The amount of money spent by BRAN riders has ranged from $10,000 to $16,000.  Not bad considering BRAN usually doesn't arrive in town until mid-afternoon and is gone by 9:00 am the next morning.

What is Rotary Club of Omaha Northwest?

Rotary InternationalVeteran riders know of the Rotary Club of Northwest Omaha's founding of BRAN. What most riders don't know is all of the activities the Northwest Rotary does to help make a community better place to live and work. From recycling Christmas trees, to recognizing employers who hire people with disabilities, to supporting literacy, to providing food on holidays for 911 personnel, to helping place trail markers on the Keystone Trail, Northwest Rotarians are examples of "Service above Self." The club's emphasis on community service sets it apart from others. As part of Rotary International, we are fostering goodwill among all people of the world and leading the march to eradicate polio from our planet. If you are a business leader or professional in the Omaha area, inquire about joining our club at the BRAN Camp Headquarters. The Club meets at noon on Tuesdays at The Champions Club in Northwest Omaha.

What is Omaha Pedalers?

Omaha PedalersOmaha Pedalers Bicycle Club was founded in 1970 to promote bicycling in and around the Omaha, Nebraska area. In spite of diverse ages and occupations, the 250+ members are bound together by common interests in health, exercise and bicycling. In the early years, members were able to go a short distance to a starting point and soon be riding outside of the city. Now with urban sprawl and the multi-trail system, the nature of the rides and the makeup of the club have changed. The Club sponsors a wide variety of tours, an overnight ride in the spring and several social events during the year. The OPBC newsletter is sent out monthly during the riding season and bi-monthly in the off-season. The club website address is www.omaha-pedalers.com. Consider joining this group and becoming active in the Omaha Pedalers.

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