The last week in July, bike riders from Iowa, the rest of the country and some foreign counties invade Iowa with their bicycles. This ride begins at the Missouri River in western Iowa and concludes at the Mississippi River in eastern Iowa.
From Sunday to Saturday, upwards of 20,000 bikers take part in the event that begin in 1972 when you two Des Moines Register writers rode their bikes across the state. RAGBRAI (Register's Annual Great Bicycle Race Across Iowa) was born.
The route changes each year and covers more than 400 miles. Designated cities(they apply for the opportunity) across Iowa host riders every night. Even though it isn't a race, you better be in shape. This isn't like going out with your grandma and leisurely viewing the country side. You best be ready to grind out approximately 60-80 miles per day.
Riders are traveling the northern route this year so there is more interest in the event for people in my part of the state. Yesterday, there were a short 11 miles north of my town.
It is quite the site to see the sea of bikes and bikers. I talked to one biker yesterday with a Texas outfit. I asked him what his favorite college sports team was. Much to my surprise he said that he cheered for Iowa State. This Dallas, Texas guy grew up in Iowa.
I have friends from southern Missouri on the ride. So I went to see them Monday night. I saw a biker with a Florida State outfit and my friend saw an Auburn outfit.
Of course, there are plenty of Iowa Hawkeye gear too.
So college sports even show up in a biking event. I could have almost guessed that Texas guy was going to declare his love for the Texas Longhorns, ha. I guess I was wide right on that prediction.