VALENTINE, Neb. - Over the river and through the woods, across the Sandhills bikers go.

“Nebraska has more than just cornfields. This is a really pretty part,” John Wetzel said.

Wetzel from Powell, Wyoming, and his friend - another John - John Rindler, are capturing memories as they take part in Tour De Nebraska. The five-day bike tour has more than 400 bicyclists riding hundreds of miles throughout north-central Nebraska.

“My buddy is from Chicago, so it actually worked well to meet in the middle,” Wetzel said.

“It was about ten hours for me and about ten hours for John,” Rindler said.

“It is a reunion for us. We met in the sixth grade and went all the way through high school together. We stayed in touch, but finally lately we’re like, ‘We need to do something together.’ We both ride,” Wetzel said.

With hundreds of bikers traveling across the Sandhills, it can also provide an economic boost to the area.

“They’re going to be here for three days, so they’re eating meals, shopping downtown and going to our brewery,” said Regina Osburn, Cherry County Tourism Director.

While the bikers are in Valentine for a few days, they’ve also wheeled through Ainsworth, Springview and Bassett—all while making memories with old friends and new.

“With the winds, we’ve had to group up and help pull each other through because going on your own through the wind is a nightmare,” Wetzel said.

And so, with each pedal stroke, they’re facing the winds together, strengthening friendships along the way.