The Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa

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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. 

Jim Green, retired RAGBRAI Director

Jim Green, retired RAGBRAI Director

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. 

Dan McKay, RIDE RIGHT State Chairman

Dan McKay, RIDE RIGHT State Chairman

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.

11 Comments

Peggy Phillips, May 26, 2009 at 6:21 am

We will be setting up an “Oasis” in our yard. Mr. Porkchop is also joining us. Are there any requirements or suggestions? We would love it if you stopped in on your route inspection ride on June 2. We live 2 1/2 miles east of Peru. I’ll have my famous banana cream pie for you. Have a nice ride. Our phone is: 641-728-4729. Looking forward to seeing all of you and the riders on July 21, also. Sincerely, Peggy and Denny Phillips

Jason, May 26, 2009 at 6:41 am

Yesterday we rode the first half of Day 2. Caught the Memorial Day luncheon at Villisca. We were surprised that H34 into Corning is a RAGBRAI road, narrow and pockmarked, with a deep groove down the middle. Also, watch out for the big hole in the pavement about 11.5 miles out of Red Oak.

David, May 26, 2009 at 8:38 am

Jason,
There is still plenty of time to fix that road. I am sure that is the reason for these guys riding the route. Any other suggestions for repairs will be greatly appreciated!

Ride Right on Right Roads!

Darren Beachy, May 30, 2009 at 5:52 pm

I look forward to reading about your journey

Pat Boland, May 31, 2009 at 7:40 am

So, just to confirm, if we want to ride with the inspection group for a day, just show up at the ride start for that day?

TJ Juskiewicz, May 31, 2009 at 8:56 pm

Yes, you just show up and ride. You need to have a ride back though.

Brent Spurrier, Jun 1, 2009 at 1:55 pm

Just spent about 10 miles with this group riding from Corning to Prescott. What a great group of people. Thanks guys.

Grandpa Dave, Jun 1, 2009 at 8:00 pm

Hope to get Wednesday off to ride Indianola to Chariton. Check the route into Indianola. Drove the gravel rode at the west edge off town. Pretty scary – bumpy, lots of loose gravel.

Connie, Jun 25, 2009 at 10:57 pm

Just wondering where the support vehicles will be going? Hope they will come close to ATTICA for the greatest BBQ/Potato Salad/Homemade Ice Cream and Hard Boiled Eggs:):):) Remember Ragbrai 2003 KINFOLKS-KINFOLKS-KINFOLKS
7 Miles south of Knoxville on Hwy 5 or 20 Miles north of Chariton. 641-943-2362

Matt, Jul 8, 2009 at 9:31 am

Hey Connie,
You are making me hungry already! Looking forward to it.

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