Tuesday, July 22, 2008


RAGBRAI (Registers Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa) came to Ames, Iowa, today. There were events all over town. At ISU there was an International Food Fair, at Reiman Gardens, our local botanical center, there were vendors from various local restaurants. There were performances on Main Street and in the Hilton Coliseum parking lot, tents all over town, where locals had volunteered room for bikers to camp on their lawns.

People came from all over the world - I talked to a former Iowan who came with a team from Italy - as well as from all over the U.S. One man told me his family gathered for RAGBRAI every year, traveling from California, Minnesota, Maryland and Iowa. There were a lot of bikes in town, of course, but there were also huge RV's, Suv's and buses - all equipped to carry as many bikes as passengers.

I realized before today that many folks attach their bikes to their SUVs and drive hundreds of miles before they ever think to ride them, but this event brought home as no other ever had that biking as a sport necessitates the consumption of an outrageous amount of jet fuel, gasoline and diesel.

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