Possibly the world’s biggest rolling party is underway in Iowa, as the 34th annual edition of the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa traveled from Sergeant Bluff to Ida Grove on Sunday, the ride’s toughest day.
Ridership is limited to 8,500 full-week riders and 1,500 daily riders. This year’s ride has gotten some extra attention because some guy who used to race bikes will be riding along on Thursday.
Like the Tour de France, “teams” play an important role in RAGBRAI, providing team buses or trucks to carry bikes for injured, hungover, or exhausted riders; teammates to ride along with on the road, and an infrastructure for the acquisition and transportation of large quantities of beer.
On the Des Moines Register’s weblogs, Erin Crawford relays the first legend of RAGBRAI XXXIV (they’re numbered like Super Bowls): The story of Kevin Dudak.
Kevin was driving an RV to Iowa from Denver when the bike rack fell off. The driver behind managed to stop, got the bikes off the road, and waited for the RV to turn around to get the bikes. No sign of them.
Noticing a “RAGBRAI” tag on the bikes, he had a friend Google the unknown acronym. The friend found a former rider, who called RAGBRAI’s office, who tracked down Dudak’s cell phone number. Next thing you know, he’s got his (and his father’s) lost bike back.
Allen has promised to post every night from the route.