RAGBRAI Route Inspection Pre-Ride Day 3 – Winterset to Indianola

Everyone Was a Winner in Winterset! So obviously we felt great as we rolled toward Indianola.

And it’s our shortest day of the week at 39.9 miles, with approximately 1,374 feet of climb. Don’t make the mistake of breezing through this day. The pass through stops today are “Grade A” and it’s worth spending some serious time in: the Iowa Ag Oasis, Cumming, and Norwalk! Click this text for a map of the third day of RAGBRAI XLVII.

Tuesday is Parkinson’s Awareness Day on RAGBRAI to spotlight how to live well with Parkinson’s. It was during RAGBRAI where a doctor discovered that the simple act of pedaling a bike can reduce the symptoms of Parkinson’s. Davis Phinney, an Olympic Bronze Medalist and Tour de France stage winner, established the Davis Phinney Foundation to help people live well with the disease and fund research projects. Click this link for more info on the Davis Phinney Foundation. 

Check out our photos from Day 3 of the Route Inspection Pre Ride by Brian Powers of The Des Moines Register!

2019 RAGBRAI pre-ride: Day 3, Winterset to Indianola

2019 RAGBRAI pre-ride: Day 3, Winterset to Indianola

Here are the towns that we visited today:


Open to registered riders only, the Iowa AG Oasis presented by the Iowa Soybean Association will give riders a chance to hop off their bikes during a long stretch between towns to get some water and use a bathroom. AKA take a nice break. Matt Phippen from Scheels will be handing out tons of free stuff too! Riders will also have an opportunity to learn about agriculture in our great state and taste some of those treats from Iowa. The first AG Oasis will be at Howell’s Greenhouse & Pumpkin Patch between Winterset and Cumming on County Road G4R.

For more information about the Iowa Soybean Association and Howell’s Greenhouse & Pumpkin Patch, visit:


The City of Cumming is excited to welcome RAGBRAI riders to their community. They plan on having beverage gardens on the N 44th Street just north of the Cumming highway.  This will showcase The Cumming Tap and The Iowa Distilling Company. Both located right off the Great Western Bike Trail. This will be the hub for a DJ that will offer a variety of music to get everyone pumped up all day long.

The Cumming Tap welcomes riders coming in off the trail all year long and hosts several events through the year.

The Iowa Distilling Company is located in a century old building.  Tours of the distillery will be available to see what it takes to make some of the finest spirits around. The Iowa Distilling Company is winner of the Cityview’s, “Best Local Distillery” and “Best Whiskey”.

Vendors will line up in the street just past the beverage garden area.  Cumming will be welcoming both outside vendors and locals. Food offerings from locals will be a college student raising funds for a mission trip to Thailand. She will be selling oranges, watermelon, and bananas.  The local Legion will also be selling food.  The Des Moines Bacon Company will also be on site.  Some of the other vendors you will find include:

  • Tender Toms Turkey—turkey drumsticks
  • Climb for Haiti— make-your-own salad bar
  • Clare’s Tenderloins—yummy tenderloin sandwiches, onion rings and cheese stick’s
  • Say Cheese, Grilled Cheese
  • Garden of Eden—chicken and veggie burritos
  • Smokin’ G’s BBQ

Adam and Abby’s restaurant is located in the one room school house where students from kindergarten to high school all learned in the same room.  As riders head out of the main downtown area they will see the old School house, which will soon be developed into a restaurant and brewery.

Some planned development in town makes this an exciting place to land. Their small town, population of 351, offers a quiet retreat for active professionals and families.  The City’s convenient location to the metro has spurred growth in this vibrant community with business and residential development. Cumming is excited to welcome new development bringing Iowa’s first Agri-hood on 400 acres located on the south side of Cumming. The Development concept proposes an organic vegetable farm, vineyard, orchard and residential gardens that will anchor the residential and retail development.

The City’s theme and logo is the same as they have always been. “I Heart Cumming”

For more information about Cumming’s RAGBRAI plans, visit:
Cumming RAGBRAI on Facebook


NORWALK (Meeting Town)

Norwalk is one of the fastest growing towns in Iowa.  With commercial and residential growth, the city’s population has grown by over 2,000 people in the last few years.  Located just south of Des Moines with a shorter commute than most of the metro suburbs, Norwalk is the ideal place to live.  The school system is one of the top in the State and the city is the reigning safest city in Iowa.  With a public pool, a residential district lake, connection to the bike trails, the Warren County Freedom Rock and mall shopping within 10 minutes, Norwalk is a prime location.

Norwalk is home to two well-known super heroes, Aquaman (Jason Mamoa) and Superman (Brandon Routh).

  This year when RAGBRAI rolls through town, Norwalk will celebrate all of its superheroes.  We honor police, fire, teachers and volunteers as well as our Justice League and Avenger Superheroes.  The Iowa League of Heroes will stop by during the day for some great photo ops.  Our local downtown businesses, Pyra Pizza (named for Norwalk’s original settlement name) and 804 Main, will greet you with pizza and specialty egg rolls.  Cold beverages will be easy to get your hands on.

Norwalk will kick off festivities at 9:00 am with a local musician, Dan Trilk, and his youth rock bands. The dueling piano group Pianopalooza will keep things going through the lunch hour and Punching Pandas will round out the day.  When breaks are needed, riders will be entertained with local baton twirling talent.  The festivities will take place in the city’s multi-acre City Park in the center of down town.  With over 30 vendors, natural shade, plenty of beverages, a water (get wet) area and games, Norwalk will be a great place to spend the day between stops.  Giant lawn size beer pong, twister and bags will help keep you limber and you can leave your mark by writing a note on the park’s bathroom wall telling Norwalk what a great time you had!

As you head out of town, don’t forget to fill your water bottles at the free water station.  And just before you turn off the city route to head to Indianola, stop by Warrior Run for one last beverage and a photo with the Warren County Freedom Rock.  Norwalk Hometown Pride and Mark Burke will host the last hurrah before you bid your farewell.

Some other events that you’ll want to return to Norwalk include Front Porch Norwalk (June 18, July 9 & August 6), Chair-ish the Library (August 2) and the Norwalk Music Festival (September 1)


For more info about Norwalk’s RAGBRAI plans, visit:


Your route into Indianola will set the tone as you Roll into ‘Nola on July 23 after the shortest day on RAGBRAI. You’ll want to stop and get a selfie with the giant Roll into ‘Nola sign that will greet you as you enter Indianola and a series of Mardi Gras masks will mark your way through the city.

Indianola has deep roots with RAGBRAI. Clarence Pickard of Indianola was 83 years old when he rode the very first RAGBRAI. He completed the 460-mile ride on a girl’s Schwinn 10-speed bike he bought days before the ride and he often wore a long-sleeved shirt, trousers, long underwear and a silver pith helmet along the way. The Warren County Historical Museum offers a display on Pickard along with other Indianola historical landmarks, including a museum devoted to the great scientist George Washington Carver, who attended Simpson College.

Simpson College itself is at the heart of Indianola and your overnight stay. The Methodist affiliated college, founded in 1860, offers wide, treelined sidewalks where you can walk or just relax and enjoy nature. Dunn Library, on the college campus, will offer an air conditioned retreat as RAGBRAI rolls through Indianola.

The College also is at the center of the party. Buxton Stadium, on the southwest corner of campus, will host the headline bands July 23. Sister Hazel will take the stage at 7 p.m., followed by Big Head Todd at 9 p.m. A beer garden in the stadium will offer convenient refreshments, and a second beer garden across the street will be open from 11 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. on Wednesday.

More than 40 vendors, along with additional entertainment, will stretch along the streets connecting the stadium to the traditional Indianola Square, ready for riders to enjoy.

As you wander down that way, check out the Des Moines Metro Opera’s Lauridsen Opera Center, housed in the former Carnegie Library, built in 1908. You can peek in the large display windows to see examples of the costumes used in the Opera’s summer festival, held each year on the Simpson College campus, and if you listen carefully you may hear strains of La Boheme or Candide, two of the productions being staged by the world-famous opera company this season.

Follow the vendor offerings another block to the south and you’ll find small town shops hosting more than 275 masks created by Indianola art students to welcome RAGBRAI riders. The very heart of the Indianola Square will be under construction, with the 1939 Warren County Courthouse demolished just before RAGBRAI’s arrival, and site work beginning for the modern new justice center that will take its place.

You have to look in every direction to take in all that Indianola has to offer, and that includes up. Soon after the bikers leave, hot air balloons will take over as Indianola hosts its annual National Balloon Classic. Toward evening, turn your attention skyward to see a few hot air balloons that will float over the city (weather permitting), or head down to the National Balloon Museum on Hwy. 65-69 north of Indianola to learn more about both the Classic and the history of this most laid back form of flight.

For more information about Indianola’s RAGBRAI plans, visit:


We recorded a preview of our journey from Winterset to Indianola on the JustGoBike Podcast! Listen here: https://soundcloud.com/justgobike/ragbrai-pre-ride-podcast-day-3-justgo-fix-your-bike

Don’t forget to check back the rest of this week for daily updates and photos from the route inspection ride here on the RAGBRAI web site www.ragbrai.com. You can also follow the pre-ride adventure and learn interesting tidbits about the route by following on Facebook Facebook.com/RAGBRAI or on TWITTER by following @RAGBRAI_IOWA@TJRAGBRAI, or @RAGBRAI_Andrea

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