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RAGBRAI 2012: Lehigh tries to get signatures from every state

  • 24 July, 2012
  • Regina Zilbermints

Rich Puder stands next to a map for riders to sign in Lehigh.

LEHIGH – For Rich Puder riding RAGBRAI this year is both new and familiar.

He’s no newbie. This is his fourth RAGBRAI. But it’s also his first in 24 years.

“It’s a lot bigger now,” he said. But the familiar feel of the ride and communities it passes through, “That’s what I love about it.”

Puder grew up in Davenport and his first three rides were when he was living in Iowa. But then he moved to San Diego and stopped cycling for a while. Now, he’s back.

On Tuesday morning, he signed his name to a US map drawn onto the side of a building near the entrance to Lehigh.

By 10 a.m. it already had signatures in every Midwestern state as well as New Jersey, Utah, Nevada, Texas and Colorado.

One country was listed under the “other” column: China.

“They say there are people from every state,” said Lehigh Mayor Paula Martin. “So we’re hoping to prove it.”

RAGBRAI last passed through Lehigh in 1995, but the town didn’t do anything similar to the map last time around, Martin said.

And even though setting up for RAGBRAI has been plenty of work, she said she was having fun greeting riders as they poured into town.

After the event, people from the town will seal the map, “and hope it stays up,” Martin said.


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