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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

RAGBRAI bikes and t-shirts impact Cherokee businesses

Friday, July 17, 2009

37th annual ride across Iowa hits the road Sunday

On Sunday, RAGBRAI XXXVII kicks off. Although this year's route takes place in southern Iowa, the effect of the cross-state bike ride is felt through out the entire state.

Tom Letsche, owner of Letsche's Bike Shop in Cherokee is pictured working on a tandem bike in his repair shop in back of his store. Letsche will be heading out for RAGBRAI this weekend to offer his services and support on the annual Iowa cross-state bike trip. Photo by Mike Leckband
With the route of RAGBRAI changing every year, there are 10 official RAGBRAI bike shops placed through the state. Cherokee is home to one of those bike shops. For the past 10 years, Letsche's Bike Shop has provided support by fixing and repairing and selling bikes for RAGBRAI riders in western Iowa. In fact Letsche's is the only official RAGBRAI bike shop locate in western Iowa.

Each year these shops have their repair vans on the bike route taking care of the riders.

Besides giving logistical support for RAGBRAI, these bike shops are the only vendors with permission to sell official Ragbrai t-shirts and other RAGBRAI mementoes. Letsche's Bike Shop gets into the spirit of RAGBRAI every year by having t-shirts made right here in Cherokee.

For much of the last 10 years Mick and Marilyn Samsel of Creative Services of Cherokee have printed t-shirts for Letsche's Bike Shop. Working as a team, Mick and Marilyn work with Letsche's Bike Shop owner Tom Letsche and his wife Amy, to get the design right, colors, and shirts picked out.

Marilyn handles all of the logistics of ordering the shirts and checking the order in, and readying them to print. Then the work begins, with Mick printing, and Marilyn handling the drying process, then sorting and re-packaging the shirts.

Mick Samsel, owner of Creative Services of Cherokee,is pictured working at his silk-screening machine. Samsel is making one of the 700 official RAGBRAI t-shirts that are for sale at Letsche's Bike Shop in Cherokee. Photo by Mike Leckband
This year they printed 700 shirts and 3,200 squeegee strokes later, Letsche's Bike Shop, has their official RAGBRAI t-shirt for sale.

Letsche's has to pay royalties to be able to produce official RAGBRAI mementoes, about 23 percent on each item sold. According to Tom Letsche the royalties payment goes back to RAGBRAI and helps go for the next year's ride, plus RAGBRAI supports several charities with funds raised. "And plus, being licensed by RAGBRAI, I can do a lot of fun things" said Letsche.

One of those fun things that Letsche dose is a little memento that is a medallion of a miniature metal t-shirt that list all the places that Letsche will be during RAGBRAI if a rider needs any repairs while on the road.

Letsche's road schedule is as follows; on Sunday he will be in Henderson, Monday-Corning, Tuesday-Macksburg, Wednesday-Sandyville, Thursday-Bethlehem, Friday-Hedrick, and Saturday he will be in Mt. Pleasant.

If you need help to prepare for RAGBRAI, any of these shops listed below are official RAGBRAI bike shops and are able assist you.

Letsche's Bike Shop
215 West Main Street, Cherokee, 51012-1851
Phone: 712-225-3433
Web site: letsches.com

Bike Country
825 East 1st Street, 
Ankeny, 50021-2058
Phone: 515-964-5623
Web site: bikecountry.com

Connecticut Yankee Pedaller
908 Court Avenue, 
Chariton, 50049-1826
Phone: 641-774-5557
Web site: cypbikes.com

Boulevard Sports
4211 Chamberlain Drive, 
Des Moines, 50312-2210
Phone: 515-255-8433
E-mail: blvdsports@aol.com

Bikes to You
921 Broad Street, 
Grinnell, 50112-2047
Phone: 641-236-8600
Web site: bikestoyou.com

Harper's Cycling & Fitness
1106 Grandview Avenue, 
Muscatine, 52761-1631
Phone: 563-263-4043
Web site: harperscycling.com

Rider Sales, L.L.C.
102 East 3rd Street, Suite B, 
Washington, 52353-2205
Phone: 319-653-5808
Email: rider@iowatelecom.net

Bike World
5970 Ashworth Road, 
West Des Moines, IA 50266-7110
Phone: 515-222-1880
Web site: bikeworldiowa.com

Rasmussen Bike Shop
301 Grand Avenue, 
West Des Moines, 50265-3715
Phone: 515-277-2636
Web site: rasmussenbikeshop.com

Spoken Wheel Cyclery
420 Washington Avenue, 
Iowa Falls, 50126-2313
Phone: 641-648-2924
E-mail: swcwillie@hotmail.com

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