Mon, Jan 16, 2012 | by TJ JuskiewiczShare
by Mike Kilen, The Des Moines Register
The Iowa Bicycle Summit & Expo has grown into more than just a small gathering of engineers. It’s a winter fix for bicyclists looking toward warmer months.
Two years ago organizers added the RAGBRAI Route Announcement Party to coincide with the conclusion of the two-day conference. This year’s Jan. 27-28 summit includes an expanded consumer bicycling expo, free and open to the public on Jan. 28.
Cyclists can drool over new gear or plan their summer bicycling vacations. Winneshiek County officials can show off information on their much-anticipated new trail and a new brewery opening up trailside. Raccoon River Valley Trail officials can give advice on new lodging and camping options along its trail. The Iowa River Revival team can suggest water trails to paddle a boat and complete a loop by pedaling back.
“There is an untapped market for biking tourism,” said Mark Wyatt, executive director of the Iowa Bicycle Coalition in Coralville, which partners with the Iowa Department of Transportation to organize the summit. “The baby boomer population is a very active group and getting those folks on bikes is a great opportunity for the state.”
Bicycling numbers in Iowa continue to grow, Wyatt said. With bike commuters, miles of trails and cycling events, he said, the League of American Bicyclists ranks Iowa No. 6 in bike-friendliness and he thinks the state can crack the top five this year.
The educational aspect of the summit is a way for professional city planners, engineers and advocates to integrate new research into their cities. Roger Geller, bicycle coordinator for Portland, Ore., will discuss the North American City Transportation Officials new guide to bikeways, and Rails to Trails Conservancy will speak about trail building. The biggest benefit of the summit, Wyatt said, has been the integration of bike lanes to Iowa’s fast-growing network of trails. Eight years ago, Iowa only had 10 miles of bike lanes, he said. The next step is “shared-lane marking,” which isn’t a bike lane but pavement markings to remind motorists and bicyclists to expect each other.
Iowa Bicycle Summit & Expo
When: January 27-28
Where: Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Des Moines.
Admission: The expo and seminars on Jan. 28 are free and open to the public.
Information: For a list of exhibitors go to www.iowabicyclecoalition.org
RAGBRAI party: To join the RAGBRAI Route Announcement Party, 8-11 p.m. Jan. 28, go to www.iowabicyclecoalition.org. Tickets are $30.
Saturday, January 28 – Seminar Schedule
Session 1A: Bicycle Tourism Iowa Scenic Bikeways, Iowa Tourism, Iowa Economic Impact Study.
Session 1B: Iowa Safe Routes to School Partnership, iWalk and the Iowa Department of Public Health Local Program Implementation
Session 2A: Triathlon and multisport Triathlons in Iowa, Team in Training.
Session 2B: Safety & Accessibility, John Brunow — All Ability, Adaptive Sports Iowa, Adaptability Iowa.
Session 3A: Trails and Travel Bike Events 101, Iowa is the Trails Capital of the World! Branding a bigger message, Lewis and Clarke Trail Update.
Session 3B: Consumer Equipment: 29ers, Utility Bicycles on Campus/Business, What women want.
Trail Session 4A: Dirt: High School Mountain Bike League, CVAST — Reggie Blanco.
Session 4B: Ride Right Meeting for RAGBRAI Clubs & Teams
RAGBRAI Route Announcement Party
At the RAGBRAI Route Announcement Party, 8-11 p.m. Jan. 28, the overnight towns along RAGBRAI’s 40th anniversary ride will be revealed. Tickets to the party, at Veterans Memorial Auditorium, are $30 and include live and silent auctions, live music by Boogie and the Yo-Yoz, RAGBRAI-style hors d’oeuvres and drinks, free beer and more. Kick it up a notch by reserving a table for 10 for $400. Purchase a membership to the Iowa Bicycle Coalition and attend a VIP pre-party starting at 7 p.m. Tickets are limited, and the party sold out the last two years. Purchase tickets at www.iowabicyclecoalition.org/routeannouncement Proceeds benefit the Iowa Bicycle Coalition.
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