Route Inspection Ride set for May 31 – June 6
by T.J. Juskiewicz, RAGBRAI Director
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 we are going to do with a team of knowledgeable cyclists thoroughly examining every mile of the RAGBRAI route on bicycles.
For the fifth consecutive year, Jim Green and Dan McKay will ride 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 442 miles across the state during the windy spring.
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.
In addition to reporting on road conditions, I’ll be writing a daily update for the web site. I try to point out some places of interest along the route that you wouldn’t want to miss. I know Dan will help me find the best pie in each town. We feel this is a beautiful and scenic route with great towns along the way. I’ll be helping provide support along with Judy Green for the riders and riding a portion of the route as well. Judy is Jim’s wife, who has headed up the Information & Merchandise trailers in the campgrounds every day of RAGBRAI for the past few decades.
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. Charlie Harper, of Harper’s Cycling & Fitness in Muscatine, has joined the group for at least a few days each of the route inspection rides.
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.
Sunday, May 31
Ride from Council Bluffs to Red Oak
Mileage: 52.6 Miles / Feet of Climb: 3,684 Feet
Ride starts at 8 AM from Wabash Trail head parking lot
Monday, June 1
Ride from Red Oak to Greenfield
Mileage: 72.6 Miles / Feet of Climb: 5,096 Feet
Ride starts at 8 AM from the YMCA
Tuesday, June 2
Ride from Greenfield to Indianola
Mileage: 77.1 Miles / Feet of Climb: 4,470 Feet
Ride starts at 8 AM from Nodaway Valley High School
Wednesday, June 3
Ride from Indianola to Chariton
Mileage: 44.4 Miles / Feet of Climb: 2,182 Feet
Ride starts at 8 AM from First Baptist Church
Thursday, June 4
Ride from Chariton to Ottumwa
Mileage: 76.9 Miles / Feet of Climb: 3,388 Feet
Ride starts at 8 AM from Connecticut Yankee Pedaller bike shop
Friday, June 5
Ride from Ottumwa to Mount Pleasant
Mileage: 75.5 Miles / Feet of Climb: 2,841 Feet
Ride starts at 8 AM from Bridge View Center
Saturday, June 6
Ride from Mount Pleasant to Burlington
Mileage: 43.2 Miles / Feet of Climb: 1,145 Feet
Ride starts at 8 AM from the Rodeway Inn Motel
Be sure to tune in each day for the daily updates and photos from the route inspection ride on the RAGBRAI web site. You can also follow the pre-ride adventure and learn interesting tidbits about the route by following me on TWITTER by following @TJRAGBRAI.