RAGBRAI XLIV Countdown – July 24-30, 2016
Friends of RAGBRAI

RAGBRAI news team

Munson: Texas mayor serious about biking for public health



TERRIL, Ia. — Y’all may not believe this, but I’m willing to bet that the mayor of Fort Worth, Texas, puts most RAGBRAI riders to shame in terms of pace and fitness.

Mayor Betsy Price, 64, downplayed her Lone Star grit Monday as I huffed and puffed behind her and her carbon-framed Cervélo bike into Terril early in the second leg of the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa.

“It just happens to feel really good this morning,” she claimed.

She also runs half-marathons.

And what about Monday’s heat index that was predicted to push past 100 degrees? No reason to break a sweat, Iowa.

Texas doesn’t have the “Hotter’N Hell Hundred” century ride every August for nothing.

Sure, Price prefers country music and the likes of Lyle Lovett, whom she saw in concert earlier this summer. But she also enjoyed the blaring hard rock of cover band Hairball on Sunday night in Arnolds Park.

“They were good — real good,” she said.

“Don’t mess with Texas” took on new meaning as I shared a stretch of road with the chief executive of the nation’s 17th-largest city, nearly 800,000 residents.

This may be America’s bicycling-est mayor.

Her city is in the middle of her own Tour de Fort Worth — a monthlong schedule of daily bike rides through different neighborhoods.

She also has led weekly rolling town halls for the last 2 1/2 years. That’s right: Citizens simply pedal up alongside Price and air their grievances. Staffers sometimes record the Q&As with a GoPro camera.

Yes, Price, a fiscally conservative Republican, has been confronted by a hot-tempered constituent or two. And the mayor’s security detail did make her switch to rubber-soled biking shoes in case she needs to flee on foot.

But she’s undeterred as a biking evangelist for public health.

Price rolls more under the radar on this, her second RAGBRAI, following her first visit half a dozen years ago when she was a county tax assessor.

She hears the occasional, “Hey, Texas!” flung in her direction on the route.

She’s aware that a couple of her fellow prominent Texans, namely Gov. Rick Perry (in the playing-footsie phase of the 2016 presidential race) and polarizing former bike-race champ Lance Armstrong (slinging beer on RAGBRAI), also have been lurking in Iowa this week.

She attended the Tour de France twice when Armstrong won it.

“I hate the doping piece,” Price said of the Armstrong scandal, calling it “shameful.” “But I think he did phenomenal things.”

Price’s husband, Tom, a State Farm agent and competitive trap and skeet shooter also here to ride, is equally swift on two wheels.

The couple have three kids and three grandsons.

Price has been a serious cyclist for about 25 years, since around the time her father died at age 73 from his second heart attack.

She didn’t know anybody in Iowa when she first brought her bicycle north.

“Everyone who cycles even semi-seriously knows about RAGBRAI,” she said.

Well, yes, we Iowans like to think so. Everything’s bigger in Texas — except biking.

But the mayor had another reason to return to RAGBRAI: She’s in the middle of a new civic health push.

More than half the schoolkids in Fort Worth are obese, and the mayor has launched “FitWorth” as an antidote.

Of course, human empathy is the main driver. But it’s also economic development, Price said, as more companies crunch public health data on workforce costs before they build in a given city.

So she biked Monday with like-minded public health guru Dr. Richard Deming, the Des Moines Mercy Medical Center oncologist whose Above + Beyond Cancer team rides on RAGBRAI.

The mayor and the doctor agreed: Hills are healthier than pills if you can stay active your entire life and are lucky enough to avoid chronic disease.

The mayor gazed out across the cornfields and noticed all the wind turbines that had sprouted here since her last RAGBRAI.

She was eager to sample a Mr. Pork Chop chop — and was thrilled to hear that today’s route winds through Bancroft, the hometown of the original Mr. Chop, Paul Bernhard, and his son who has succeeded him in the business, Matt.

Price leaves the route after Tuesday’s ride. She has budget hearings to look forward to next month.

“I’d love to see this gridlock settled,” Price sighed Monday. “It just drives us crazy.”

She was talking about Congress in Washington, D.C., not the long lines for pork chops or the clogged lanes full of 18,000 bicyclists on RAGBRAI.

I’ll have to be able to keep up with Price for more than 10 miles in Iowa before I can contemplate taking my bike and Jell-O legs to Texas.

1 Response on “Munson: Texas mayor serious about biking for public health

David Ryan

July 22, 2014 at 1:44 am

I am originally from Fonda, Iowa. My fiancée Cindy Kindl from Cedar Rapids were aming the first to ride with the mayor when we lived in Ft Worth. Mayor Price is in a class by herself.
Cindy and I are in Silicon Valley now, but we sure miss riding with the Mayor.
I was not able to do RAGBRAI this year, but Cindy is enjoying her 3rd RAGBRAI that includes a group she recruited from the Ft Worth area
Thank you for your article

PS did she mention the time she was thrown fromher bike, cracked her helmet broke her arm and suffered a concussion? ? She used it as an opportunity to stress bike safety and helmet use.

Leave a Reply

Latest Blog Posts

  • RAGBRAI XLIV Daily Maps are Now Available!

    The daily bike maps for RAGBRAI XLIV are now available for downloading. You will find bike maps, mileage between towns, meeting towns, elevations, bike shop locations, service times and ...

  • RAGBRAI Training: Rule #4:  Resting is Training Too

    Number 4 on my 5 Rules of Training list is rest. God said to rest one day a week, I say you can even rest two or even three days ...

  • RAGBRAI Adds “Mile of Silence” to Remember Riders We Have Lost

    A “Mile of Silence” will be dedicated to the memory of those who sadly have been injured or killed while enjoying a bicycle ride.

  • RAGBRAI Training: Rule #3: Ride Fast

    All right, I know I’ve said numerous times in this blog that RAGBRAI is not a race, so why would I tell you to go out and ride fast in ...

  • Wristband Transfer Form Now Available

    Wristband Transfers: If you are unable to participate in RAGBRAI, and won’t be asking for a refund on your registration, you have the option to sell your wristband packet on our ...

  • RAGBRAI Training: Rule #2 : Ride Far

    Rule #1 is Ride Consistently. Rule #2 is built upon Rule #1. Riding consistently will prepare your body for the daily rigors of riding on RAGBRAI. ...

  • RAGBRAI Route Inspection Pre-Ride Day 7 - Washington to Muscatine

    Today we completed our ride from the Missouri to the Mississippi and rode 49.7 miles from Washington to Muscatine with 1,314 feet of climb.

  • RAGBRAI Route Inspection Pre-Ride Day 6 – Ottumwa to Washington

    Today we rode 68.5 miles from Ottumwa to Washington, with 2,541 feet of climb.

  • 45 photos: Friday RAGBRAI Route Preview

    Take a peek at ride what riders could encounter between Ottumwa and Washington in July.

  • RAGBRAI Route Inspection Pre-Ride Day 5 – Centerville to Ottumwa

    Today we rode 53.2 miles from Centerville to Ottumwa, with 1,999 feet of climb. The landscape stole the show today, we had to stop many times for photo ops.

Latest Videos

  • On Tuesday, June 28, 2016 a "ghost bike" was installed in rural Boone County to mark the spot where Mark Snopek was killed while riding his bike on August 8, 2007.

  • RAGBRAI 2016 Jersey

  • Merchandise Monday! Riders Try on the 2016 RAGBRAI Jersey

  • Darrel Harken of Riceville said goodbye to his daughter Grace as she headed home on her bike. Moments later he and his other daughter Hannan stop at a car accident only to discover the woman who was hit by a car is Grace.

  • Where will RAGBRAI ride in 2016? See the full RAGBRAI XLIV route including overnight and stopover towns.

  • Register reporters talk with RAGBRAI founder John Karras about the announcement that RAGBRAI and the Des Moines Register were working to create a statue of Karras and fellow founder Don Kaul.

  • RAGBRAI director T.J. Juskiewicz talks about the southern Iowa 2016 route. "We haven't been to some of these towns in a long time!" he says.

  • Miss the live RAGBRAI 2016 overnight town announcement show? Join Kyle Munson, Michael Morain as they chat with RAGBRAI riders and towns vying for a spot on this year's route. And learn the overnight towns, of course!

  • Watch as RAGBRAI director T.J. Juskiewicz unveils the 2016 RAGBRAI overnight towns. The route is heading to the southern cities of Glenwood, Shenandoah, Creston, Leon, Centerville, Ottumwa, Washington and Muscatine.

  • Get the details on this year's RAGBRAI overnight towns in southern Iowa.

Find us socially

Email Signup

Sign up for the latest RAGBRAI news and notes (if there is no news in a day, you won’t get an e-mail).

© 2016 RAGBRAI | Terms of Service | Privacy Policy