The Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa

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Route Inspection Riders are Ready to Roll

by T.J. Juskiewicz, RAGBRAI Director

The Route Inspection Ride team arrived in Council Bluffs this afternoon and checked out the impressive Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge that crosses the Missouri River connecting Council Bluffs, Iowa and Omaha, Nebraska.  This mammoth 3,000 foot, cable-stay bridge opened this past fall.

Jim Green and Dan McKay will ride the entire RAGBRAI route 50 days in advance of the event.  Green, the retired RAGBRAI director, and McKay, the State RIDE RIGHT Chairman, were appointed in 2005 to head up the Route Inspection Ride.  This year’s ride will encompass 442 miles across the state, from Council Bluffs to Burlington. 

Jim Green (aka Greenie) is the retired RAGBRAI Director (left) and Dan McKay is the RIDE RIGHT State Chairman.

Jim Green, retired RAGBRAI Director (left), and Dan McKay, the RIDE RIGHT State Chairman, at the Bob Kerrey Pederstrian Bridge in Council Bluffs.

They  plan to spend an entire week inspecting the route and meeting with the local RIDE RIGHT Committees, informing them what to do with the information gleaned from 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. 

The team met with the local Council Bluffs RIDE RIGHT Committee to discuss Sunday’s pre-ride and safety concerns in their community.   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.  The Council Bluffs Committee will have 18 trusty cyclists joining the group to ride to Red Oak in the morning.

may-29-2009-day-council-bluffs-010Most of the activities for the RAGBRAI kick-off in Council Bluffs will be surrounding the Mid-America Center (MAC).  Hundreds of acres of camping are a five minute walk to the MAC.  The RAGBRAI Expo will feature over 50 bicycle-related companies in the MAC parking lots.  The evening will culminate with a concert by the band, the Barenaked Ladies, which is part of the annual RibFest America event.  The concert will also be held on the grounds of the MAC.  Specially priced $10 RAGBRAI tickets for the concert will be sold in the Expo or you can purchase tickets in advance through TicketMaster.  

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.
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