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 will happen starting June 3rd with a team of knowledgeable cyclists thoroughly examining every mile of the RAGBRAI XL route on bicycles.
For the eighth 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 471 miles across the state during the windy season.
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.
Green and McKay are joined by another dozen experienced cyclists including RAGBRAI Director T.J. Juskiewicz, RAGBRAI Assistant Director Wes Hall, GeoBike's Rich Ketcham and the Iowa Bicycle Coalition's Executive Director Mark Wyatt. The local RIDE RIGHT Committees will also join the ride in their areas of the state.
In addition to reporting on road conditions, the team will be posting a daily update for the RAGBRAI.com web site, pointing out some places of interest along the route that riders wouldn't want to miss. The team will also be inspecting some of the tasty treats that the town will be serving to RAGBRAIers in July. I know Dan always helps me find the best pie in each town (preferrably one with two crusts for Dan).We feel this is a challenging and scenic route with amazing attractions, sites and towns along the way.
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.
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!
Ride from Sioux Center to Cherokee
Orange City, Alton, Granville & Marcus
Mileage: 54.4 Miles
Ride leaves at 7 AM from: All Seasons Center (770 7th Street)
Ride from Cherokee to Lake View
Aurelia, Hanover, Schaller, Nemaha & Sac City
Mileage: 62.0 Miles
Ride leaves at 7 AM from: Letsche's Bike Shop (215 West Main)
Ride from Lake View to Webster City
Auburn, Lake City, Lohrville, Farnhamville, Gowrie, Harcourt, Dayton
Stratford (Karras Loop) & Lehigh
Mileage: 81.2 Miles
Ride leaves at 7 AM from: West Stone Pier (Lake & 3rd Street)
Ride from Webster City to Marshalltown
Kamrar, Jewell, Ellsworth, Story City, Roland, McCallsburg, Zearing
Saint Anthony & Clemons
Mileage: 77.1 Miles
Ride leaves at 7 AM from: West Twin Park (1101 Superior Street)
Ride from Marshalltown to Cedar Rapids
Garwin, Clutier, Garrison, Vinton, Shellsburg, Palo Community Center & Covington
Mileage: 84.8 Miles
Ride leaves at 7 AM from: Riverview Park (402 Woodland )
Ride from Cedar Rapids to Anamosa
Czech Village/New Bohemia, Mount Vernon, Springville, Viola & Fairview
Mileage: 42.2 Miles
Ride leaves at 7 AM from: Ellis Park Pool Lots (2000 Ellis Blvd)
Ride from Anamosa to Clinton
Hale, Oxford Junction, Lost Nation (Meeting), Elwood, Delmar, Charlotte & Goose Lake
Mileage: 69.4 Miles
Ride leaves at 7 AM from: National Motorcycle Museum (102 Chamber Dr)