The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

From The Missouri River To The Mississippi

After dipping his front bicycle tire in the Mississippi River at Ft. Madison, IA, Larry Linder of Adams, MA, checked his odometer and announced he had ridden 444 miles in his second RAGBRAI ride.

Larry rode RAGBRAI (The Register's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa) for the first time last year going from Sioux City to Clinton, IA. This year the ride went from Council Bluffs, where they dip their back tire in the Missouri River to Ft. Madison, IA.

RAGBRAI was started in 1973 by two Des Moines Register columnists who invited some of their friends and approximately 300 rode that year. Now in 2013 ten thousand plus take part in the annual ride which is always held the last full week in July. They register 8500 per day for the week long ride and 1500 per day register to just ride certain stretches of the route.

"RAGBRAI has experienced to beginner riders," Larry said, "It is not a race, but a fun ride through many towns with great people supporting the riders with food, a friendly welcome as you enter the town and a thanks as you leave."

The ride averages 468 miles, with an average of 67 miles per day. One day of the week there is a Karras Loop (named after one of the columnists who started this ride) which riders may opt to ride, if they do they will log at least a 100 miles on that day (this year Larry did 111.77).

According to Larry conditioning is important to avoid the aches and pains at the end of the day.

He bicycles to work on an average of 2 to 3 times a week from mid April to July leading up to RAGBRAI. The route is 14 miles one way and has a couple of medium to large size hills. This year he rode 600 miles in preparation for the ride, most of it commuting to/from work but he also had a 25 mile or a 40 mile course he rode on weekends.

Larry recommends to start preparing early for the ride by taking many short rides and extend them as your conditioning improves.

He said spinning classes and stationary bikes helps with conditioning, but you need to log some miles on the bicycle to become comfortable riding in traffic and with many other cyclists.

Larry and his son, Patton, bicycled in Alaska three years ago which was a very different experience from RAGBRAI.

Before and after the week long ride Larry visited with his parents, Gilbert and Shirley Linder of Stronghurst.