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Pedal the Plains 2014: Northeast side story

On Wednesday, Governor John Hickenlooper announced the route and three host communities for the third annual Pedal the Plains Bicycle Tour. Scheduled for September 19 through September 21, the three-day tour will take cyclists of all speeds and ages through Colorado's northeastern plains, where they can discover the charms of Wiggins, Fort Morgan and Sterling.

See also: Plains Thinking

"Pedal The Plains is a unique ride that truly sums up what Colorado is all about," Hickenlooper said at the announcement. "It's about people from all over the state coming together, being outside, exercising and exploring the state's heritage and history. It is a great opportunity to explore the congenial communities along the roads less traveled."

The ride starts and ends in Wiggins, with overnight stops in Fort Morgan and Sterling. Here's a quick description of those towns.

About an hour's drive from metro Denver, Wiggins -- population 985 -- not only has an active agricultural community, but also offers opportunities for fishing, boating and hunting. On clear days, you can see Pikes Peak, Mount Evans and even the Medicine Bow Range in Wyoming.

Fort Morgan, located 75 miles northeast of Denver, has 11,000 residents. The childhood home of big-band leader Glenn Miller, it still celebrates its musical heritage; Morgan Community College sponsors several performing groups.

Sterling is located 128 miles northeast of Denver, on a stretch of native grassland, bluffs and rolling hills. The city has 15,000 people, a two-year college and many local industries.

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Pedal the Plains started three years ago as a way to celebrate Colorado's agricultural roots and the state's frontier heritage on the eastern plains. The event benefits the Denver Post Community Foundation, Future Farmers of America and Colorado 4-H.

For more information and to register online, go to pedaltheplains.com.

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