Editor's Note: Laura Sievert, executive director of Arts Quincy, is participating in the Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa or RAGBRAI. The 427-mile trip will have her pedal Sunday through Saturday from Council Bluffs to Keokuk, Iowa. Laura is blogging about her adventure and the home-baked pie along the way.
After a cold and hilly ride on Sunday, which was fun despite my not one but two flat tires from a piece of metal I picked up somewhere, Monday dawned as a beautiful day. Blue skies full of puffy clouds and highs in the low 80s. That is perfect cycling weather.
Today's route ran 68 miles from Atlantic to Winterset. The miles have gone down pretty easy under pedal, despite a stiff headwind.
True to my nutrition plan for the ride, I have had pie approximately every 20 miles for the 120 miles we have already ridden. Today's pie highlights included a caramel apple slice from the Speech and Debate team in Anita – "Anita piece of pie" Iowa. The kids were boldly selling pie to us while we were standing in line for pancakes! Next was a tasty blackberry pie in an American Legion/roller skating rink (really) in Stewart. Last was a mini cherry pie from Peace Lutheran Church in Earlham. I think I'm going to give the Monday edge to that caramel apple from this morning, but all were solid entries into my best pie in Iowa award!
Today was American Legion day on the route. We passed by seven different American Legions and thanked the veterans there for their service.
I forgot to mention yesterday that the route featured the Mile of Silence. Mile of Silence is RAGBRAI's nod to the Ride of Silence, which I started organizing in Quincy seven years ago. It's a ride that's been happening for over 25 years nationally and it seeks to raise awareness of cyclists on the road. Around 800 cyclists and another 1,200 pedestrians die on American roads each year. We just ask that people slow down, give cyclists space (3 feet is the law!) and help everyone arrive home alive. And we encourage cyclists to follow all traffic regulations and wear helmets. Did you know that cyclists have the exact same rights and rules on the road as cars? True! So please help us share the road safely.
It's continued to be neat to meet people on the route. I met a Vietnam veteran at one of the stops and said thank you for his service, and he said it's still special to hear that because that wasn't the kind of reception he got when he returned from the war.
I met a couple of big groups of people from St. Louis on the road. St. Louis and the greater Chicago area are both well-represented here.
Overall, it's been a great day and I'm looking forward to live music and probably more pie in tonight's overnight town, Winterset. It's 18 miles from the park I'm sitting in right now, but I think we will ride it in with a nice tailwind!
A cyclist's blessing to you all: May the wind be always at your back.