Saturday, July 18, 2009

A Tiny Taste of RAGBRAI

This blog post, in no way, approximates a detailed report of what's happening with RAGBRAI this weekend. I am sure there are any number of other blogs, Twitter feeds, Flickr pools, etc, that can do the job. However, Roxanne and I cycled downtown and across the BK Bridge to check it out the RAGBRAI eve festivities. I was blown away with just how many people were out in the bikes between the Old Market and the Mid-America Center. Just riding the few miles among hundreds of other cyclists was quite an experience. I think the experience was enough to whet my appetite for participating in a large group ride like RAGBRAI.

Below are some photos.

Cyclists dipping their wheels in the waters of the Missouri River. I think they will also dip in the waters of the Mississippi River on the other side of Iowa. This picture is on the Omaha side. There was also an odd setup on the Bob Kerrey Bridge wherby water from the river was pumped up through a hose and deposited on the bridge.

Council Bluffs wisely established a dedicated cycling path from the trail at the casinos all the way to the Mid-America Center. The poor suckers in cars sat forever while we pedaled right on by.

At the Bob Kerrey Pedistrian Bridge with information directing visiting cyclists to valet bike parking in Omaha.

I'm not sure if there was more than one location for bike valet parking in Omaha. This lot was funded by the Omaha Downtown Improvement District at 11th and Farnam. The attendants told me that they didn't have a lot of takers, but we all agreed it was the right thing to do. Roxanne and I parked our bikes there while we ate at O Casual Dining.

Lots and lots of people on the bridge.

The Riverside Grill seemed to be a popular spot.

Hundreds, if not thousands of campers in and around the MAC grounds.

We saw Ryan and Roxy at the exposition at the MAC.

These single-speed bikes are being given away at Barely's Tip Top by 42 Below Vodka as part of their sponsorship of the WeLikeBike42 ride across the US to raise awareness for cycling, and probably to try to sell some vodka. I had some with cranberry juice and honey. It had a really unique taste. I even got to pedal one of these around the parking lot. It was fun, but I'm not sure if it was due to the novelty of the single-speed experience, or from the vodka.

Not photographed were many odd looking bikes, and all kinds of cyclists on them. I saw an elliptical-bike, on which a guy ran like you would on the pedals of an elliptical machine. I also saw a cycle operated by a hand crank, making me think, perhaps, the cyclist did not have the use of his legs. Many riders wore strange things on their heads, like wedges of cheese, balloon hats, and various stuffed animals. There were young, and old. Skinny and fat. Racers and cruisers. Despite all the different kinds of people, one thing in common they all shared was the good time they were having, and the ride doesn't even start until tomorrow.


Scott Redd said...

I forgot to mention that I saw a guy riding a huge unicycle across the BK bridge. The wheel was so large that it made me think of an old fashioned penny-farthing tall bike. There was also a young boy riding a really tall unicycle at the expo.

Also, overheard on the CB side of the bridge:

Dude 1: Here's that famous bridge.

Dude 2: What's it famous for?

Dude 1: I dunno. Costing a lot of money?

Despite the joke, and the criticism heard from time to time, I think Omaha and Council Bluffs really impressed a lot of cyclists with the bridge spanning our communities.

Kalu said...

super pics , thx for sharing them.

underarm wetness