The Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa

2009 RAGBRAI

St. Charles welcomes the King

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Matt Rohden of Winston-Salem, N.C., left, and Kurk Rosenberger of Lindenhurst, Ill., wheel their bikes through Macksburg Tuesday morning on their way to the bar. Rosenberger made a deal with his friend Rohden that he would only come back and ride RAGBRAI with him if they dressed as Elvis.

St. Charles, Ia. – Church bells rang as cyclists rolled into town Tuesday morning to check out the sights. There was the miniature covered bridge on Main Street that bikes could roll right through. There were the decorated portable toilets, including one made to look like the undersea pineapple SponeBob SquarePants calls home. There was—thank ya very much—the king of rock ‘n’ roll.

Eddie Simpson of Boxholm donned a sequined jumpsuit and gold shades to sing a few tunes at one of the town’s outdoor parties. But the real fun started once Elvis had left the beer tent.

Simpson wandered through the stream of bicycles and posed for pictures with riders and locals. As his wife looked on, he greeted women along the route with trademark Elvis swagger: “Hey baby, what’s going on? Where you from?”

Posing for a photo with Laurel Darren of Moline, Ill, he cautioned: “Don’t throw your bra at me or nothing. There’s kids around.”

Simpson has entertained at RAGBRAI stops for a few years now, and knows what to expect when thousands of spandex-clad cyclists roll into town looking for a party.

“The best thing about doing this,” he said, “I never got felt up so much in my entire life.

-L. Lars Hulsebus

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