Tue, May 28, 2013 | by TJ JuskiewiczShare
There really is only one good way to inspect the selected roads for a bike event… get out and ride it on a bike! And that is exactly what will happen starting June 2nd with a team of knowledgeable cyclists thoroughly examining every mile of the RAGBRAI XLI route on bicycles.
For the ninth consecutive year, Jim Green and Dan McKay will lead the team riding the entire RAGBRAI route 50 days in advance of the event. Green, the retired RAGBRAI director, volunteered to help the event in any way possible as he was retiring from his post back in 2004. He probably didn’t realize that might entail pedaling 406 miles across the state during the windy season.
Green and McKay, the State RIDE RIGHT Chairman, were appointed in 2005 to head up the Route Inspection Ride and spend an entire week inspecting the route and teaching the local RIDE RIGHT Committee what to do with the information learned during the inspection ride. They also will be looking at traffic patterns since they will be riding the route on the same day of the week that RAGBRAI will ride on later this summer.
Green and McKay are joined by two dozen experienced cyclists including RAGBRAI Director T.J. Juskiewicz, RAGBRAI Assistant Director Scott Garner, GeoBike’s Rich Ketcham and the Iowa Bicycle Coalition’s Executive Director Mark Wyatt. The local RIDE RIGHT Committees will also join the ride in their areas of the state.
In addition to reporting on road conditions, the team will be posting a daily update for the RAGBRAI.com web site, pointing out some places of interest along the route that riders wouldn’t want to miss. The team will also be inspecting some of the tasty treats that the town will be serving to RAGBRAIers in July. I know Dan always helps me find the best pie in each town (preferrably one with two crusts for Dan!). We feel this is a challenging and scenic route with amazing attractions, sites and towns along the way.
RAGBRAI works diligently with the RIDE RIGHT committees to continually inspect the roads and report potential hazards to local officials and engineers who might be able to repair the roadways. The local RIDE RIGHT committee also alerts home owners on the route about the event and educates townspeople about bicycle safety. Many committees will host bike rodeos or safety events for the community’s youth prior to RAGBRAI’s arrival.
For the past several years, Green and McKay have been joined daily on their trek by the local committee members as well as local bike club members and bike shop owners that are willing to help.
For those that want to ride for a day and help with the inspection, a schedule is listed below. You have to provide your own transportation back to the starting location and battle Dan when there is only one slice of apple pie left at the diner!
RAGBRAI XLI Route Inspection Pre-Ride – June 2-8, 2013
A schedule is listed below of the Route Inspection Ride across the state of Iowa.
Sunday, June 2
Ride from Council Bluffs to Harlan
Historic 100 Block, Underwood, Neola, Minden (Meeting), Shelby, Tennant*
Ride leaves at 7 AM from: Mid-America Center West Entry (1 Arena Way)
Monday, June 3
Ride from Harlan to Perry
Kimballton, Elk Horn (Karras Loop), Hamlin, Guthrie Center (Meeting), Springbrook State Park, Yale & Washington Township
Ride leaves at 7 AM from: Shelby County Courthouse (Downtown Harlan Square)
Tuesday, June 4
Ride from Perry to Des Moines
Minburn, Dallas Center (Meeting), Van Meter & Historic Valley Junction in West Des Moines
Ride leaves at 7 AM from: Hotel Pattee (1112 Willis Avenue)
Wednesday, June 5
Ride from Des Moines to Knoxville
Iowa State Fairgrounds, Adelphi*, Runnells & Monroe (Meeting)
Ride leaves at 7 AM from: Gray’s Lake Park (NW Parking Lot, near Fleur Drive Entry)
Thursday, June 6
Ride from Knoxville to Oskaloosa
Pella (Meeting), Bussey & Beacon
Ride leaves at 7 AM from: Marion County Courthouse (Downtown Knoxville Square )
Friday, June 7
Ride from Oskaloosa to Fairfield
Cedar, Fremont, Hedrick (Meeting), Martinsburg* & Packwood
Ride leaves at 7 AM from: Smokey Row Coffee House (109 South Market, Downtown Square)
Saturday, June 8
Ride from Fairfield to Fort Madison
Birmingham, Keosauqua (Meeting), Bentonsport, Bonaparte & West Point
Ride leaves at 7 AM from: Central Park (Downtown Fairfield Square)
Be sure to tune in each day for the daily updates and photos from the route inspection ride on the RAGBRAI web site and FACEBOOK. You can also follow the pre-ride adventure and learn interesting tidbits about the route by following us on TWITTER by following @RAGBRAI_IOWA or @TJRAGBRAI.