Iowa kindness in action

Thursday morning in Sully my recumbent’s steering mechanism broke, rendering the bike useless. I was in the process of zip-tying the bits together to ready it for the sag wagon when local resident Ron offered to help. He ended up driving me to Lynnville where he knew a guy who could “fix anything”. In the end there was no saving it, but…..what can I say? This level of kindness and generosity is what makes RAGBRAI and Iowa very special. Ron, if you read this or hear about it, thank you again.

6 Replies

Adam Meuser, July 30, 2018 at 4:30 pm

Below is a Yelp review that one of my teammates did after an absolutely perfect RAGBRAI experience in Jefferson.

We had dinner at Casa De Oro during the overnight RAGBRAI stop in Jefferson. They were unbelievably busy and almost inundated with orders.

Our waitress ended up being a lady named Teresa, who we later found out to be a manager at the restaurant. We got our drinks and gave our orders. It took forever for us to get our food but they gave us chips, salsa, queso, and pico and plenty of drinks!

It took forever because RAGBRAI was in town and we understood the situation, we all understood. Teresa was apologetic but we told her, it was all good, we understood.

As we finished our food, which was so good and flavorful, we saw that it was getting pretty late and the shuttles to our campground had stopped. We mentioned to Teresa, jokingly, that we’d be walking back to our campground. She asked where we were camping and we told her. Teresa said we were ‘quite a long way out’. She then said, “I can take you”. We all said, “no worries, you guys are so busy!” This place was probably having the busiest day in it’s history and the manager was offering to bring us to our camp. There’s no way we’d expect that.

As we finished paying our bills, Teresa removed her waitress garb and said, “hold on, I’ll be right back”. She came back only a short time later with her keys and said, “let’s go, my trucks out back!”

We were stunned but yet relieved all at the same time. We were definitely more stunned and also excited about this would-be all-time RAGBRAI memory.

We all loaded up into Teresa’s truck and she took us the several miles back to the campground. We were all so thankful and she had a smile that didn’t leave her face. She talked about her family and seemed excited with an upcoming vacation.

As she dropped us off, we all thanked her and told her how great the food was and how much we appreciated the ride. Teresa left an impression on all of us, no doubt.

She was our RAGBRAI Mother Teresa.


stuckinmizzou, July 31, 2018 at 9:31 am

On Friday one of our teammates and her son were able to join us in Sigourney to ride for the day. She is in the process of moving to Oregon so she wasn’t able to be with us all week. She asked for someone to drive her car to Kalona so she could go back and pick it up after getting into Iowa City. I volunteered to find a place for her car. I was looking for a place to park it but a lot of the streets had “No Parking” signs. I parked the car and walked around the neighborhood and asked a local resident where I might find parking. Typical Iowa: this elderly lady grinned at me and said, “Honey, just pull it up into our yard. We’re going downtown to see the excitement but we’ll be back later and we’ll make sure to keep an eye on it”. This is what makes RAGBRAI special; it isn’t always about the ride, it’s the experiences and memories of meeting people.


tacook, August 2, 2018 at 2:05 pm

Yes, Iowa kindness abounds on RAGBRAI (and always!). We had two acts of kindness during one incident. My husband dropped/lost his bike wallet in Riverside. The town’s RAGBRAI leader, after taking his information, asked if we were okay for cash, fully planning to ensure we had enough money to make it (fortunately we had split our money between the two of us). Her first thought was to ensure that two total strangers wouldn’t be stranded or hungry.

The second part was that a lady in an ISU jersey had found the wallet and taken it to Iowa City where she turned it in to the RAGBRAI lost and found. This rider could have just left it; rather she took the time to make sure it made it’s way to a place we we find it.

Thanks again to the great folks of Iowa!


Bruce Atkinson, August 2, 2018 at 8:52 pm

My first kindness took place about 2 miles from the Newton RAGBRAI village. I was battling a headwind and the hills. I could see another hill ahead. My wife phoned to find out where she could pick me up to go to Marshalltown and our hotel. I pulled onto a side street.

I was giving up right there. I started to give her directions when a man, who lived in one of the houses, walked up to me and told me “Take this street down two blocks, take a left, and you’ll avoid the next hill.” I thanked him and told my wife I would phone her back.

I was skeptical, but I went down two blocks and took a left. After about five blocks I rejoined the RAGBRAI route. The shortcut avoided the last huge hill of the day and cut about a mile of the ride.


Bruce Atkinson, August 2, 2018 at 10:23 pm

The second kindness was the continuous thoughtfulness and friendliness of my fellow bikers. My chain hopped off track a few times and people asked if I was OK as I took a minute to put the chain back on the sprockets.

People answered my newbie questions. Everyone made me feel like I had been part of the RAGBRAI experience forever.


Thoreau, August 3, 2018 at 2:13 pm

After the first day’s ride, the bike mechanics at the Pork Belly camp discovered that I had cracked my carbon fiber frame (on the chain stay) and that my bike was unsafe to use. Nevertheless I rode the second day, easing down the hills and avoiding potholes. This seems an unsustainable approach, so I talked to the folks at Bike World Iowa about buying one of their loaner Treks–which they sold me–and moved my pedals, front bag, and computer to the new bike in an hour. I so appreciated their calm manner and their help in getting me back on the road and having a wonderful five additional days.


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