GARNETT — Off-road motorcycles from around the region will converge on the Anderson County Fairgrounds early next month when the Garnett Lions Club hosts the Kansas Dual Sport Safari, featuring trails and back road motorcycle rides throughout rural areas of Anderson and adjoining counties.


The event is set for June 5-6, and Lions organizers expect more than 50 riders at the third annual fundraising event.


Dual sport motorcycles are ruggedly constructed bikes built to withstand trail riding, but still include headlights, taillights and turn signals to make them street legal. Riders have to be licensed and insured the same as any other road bike.


Now in its third year, the Garnett ride has become Kansas’ largest gathering in the sport, with roughly twice the number of riders at most other events.


Sometimes referred to as “Adventure Rides,” dual sport rides gravitate toward trails and back roads, gravel roads and minimum maintenance county roads and avoid or minimize pavement and highways. Their participants extol the virtues of seeing sights not typically seen from the standard thoroughfares, and the rich Americana of some of the country’s smallest backwater towns. A mapped ride known as the Trans America Trail, which runs some 5,000 miles from starting points in North Carolina coastal areas and ends at locations in Oregon, attracts numerous riders every year who either do all or portions of the trail — all of it on country gravel or off-pavement roads.


The TAT bisects the Arkansas Ozarks, Oklahoma and Colorado but doesn’t traverse Kansas or Missouri, so riders in those states typically attend a variety of organized and “rendezvous” rides across their respective regions.


Safari chairman and Garnett Lion Dane Hicks said the local area’s position as a transition point between different types of Kansas terrain makes this ride particularly attractive to dual sport riders from across the region.


“You can drive west 15 miles and it’s basically the beginning of the Flint Hills,” Hicks said, “and east of here 15 or 20 miles it gets hilly and more like western Missouri. We’re right at the overlap area where you can combine lots of different terrain in a single day ride — that’s probably one of the reasons the Safari is so popular.”


The Safari ride routes will total between 140-200 miles, will be led by an experienced rider and will be graded to beginner, intermediate and advanced riders. An additional trails segment is also offered utilizing private land offered by permission of local landowners. A new event this year, the Safari “Golden Compass Challenge,” offers a scavenger hunt motif with riders searching out and finding waypoints using traditional maps and navigation techniques.


Riders get breakfast Saturday morning served by the Garnett VFW, a guided ride during the day and a steak dinner served by the Lions on Saturday night and a commemorative ride T-shirt, all for an $80 registration fee. Funds go toward the Garnett Lions Club’s local civic endeavors and sight-related service projects.


For more information the Kansas Dual Sport Safari, see the Garnett Lions Club Facebook page or download the information sheet at www.garnett-ks.com/safariscoop2020.pdf.