Friday, July 29, 2011


 Earlier this week, I met up with 10,000 cyclists traveling the state as part of RAGBRAI, the Register's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa.  I was sent to cover a Farmers Feed Us event for our ag newspaper.  This was my first time I caught up with the RAGBRAI riders on the country roads, and I was thrilled to see it in person.  It's hard to imagine the scale of that many bikers on the roads unless you see it first-hand. 

Western Iowa farmers were shaking hands with the riders and serving up free beef samples under the shade of a grain bin.

I met so many interesting people!  There was a Michigan man who rides the entire week of RAGBRAI across the state by himself.  His wife drops him off in the starting city and then picks him up at the ending city a week later.  I learned from him that "sport kilts" are very popular with the male bike riders.  He told me the kilts were very comfortable when the temps hit 90 degrees!

Spandex-wearing cyclists checking out the farm equipment on display.
 I met a couple of father-son teams who were biking the entire route, statewide, together.  The sons were under the age of 13!  Can you even imagine doing something like that at such a young age?

Yet what really surprised me was how many baby boomers were riding RAGBRAI.  I just pictured that the cyclists were college students looking for a summer party.  But many of these cyclists were grandpas and grandmas, also looking for a party!  So inspiring!

Fun to see all the team jerseys.
The farm I visited was a "pit stop" half-way between two towns.  Several vendors set up shop on the farm's front lawn, including a homemade ice cream vendor that was cranking out ice-cream on gas and solar-powered churns.

 Back behind the grain bins was a cattle feedlot. Several cyclists stopped to take pictures of the cattle.  I wonder what the cattle thought of all the commotion -- there were hundreds of bicyclists who stopped at the farm!

I'll be posting more photos from RAGBRAI soon.  I grabbed my bike and joined in on the fun earlier this week.  Can't wait to show you what I found!

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