• Posted Jul 18, 2013

We love that RAGBRAI is coming through Central Iowa, our stomping grounds, here are some things we'd check out if we were from out of town.

RAGBRAI XLI rolls into Perry on Monday night, Des Moines on Tuesday and Knoxville on Wednesday.

Central Iowa is home to one of the best trails systems in the state. We've seen an explosion of new bicycle-friendly businesses pop-up over the last few years that cater to cyclists. In fact they cater REALLY WELL to cyclists.

Here are a few things to check out while you are in town!


Home to the BRR ride, they are no stranger to bicyclists. They are a hub town on the new Raccoon River North Loop too! Check out the trail map where you can ride from Perry to Waukee via Minburn and Dallas Center

The famous Hotel Pattee is probably filled up for the night, but it is worth a walk through the lobby. We stayed there in June.

The new Raccoon River Valley Bicycle Co. is on Willis Ave, right in the heart of downtown. The Bicycle Shop occupies the space that was originally a pharmacy back in the day and was the hotel's gift shop when it was built. The rich woods and marble really make you feel like you are some place special when you walk in. Stop in an say hello to Lee.

Perry's headlining band that night is Hairball, which we've heard puts on one heck of a show. More things to do in Perry


The Longest Yard is one of BIKEIOWA's sponsors, and they are right on the bike trail. They'll be welcoming cyclists with an outside beer garden with all your cool beverages. A DJ will be playing your favorite tunes, and of course, they will have the midget wrestlers!

"Color Wars" - Gather your friends and enemies, and just let loose. Beware - we might just send a few of our own soldiers into the war. Volunteers will be available to snap your photo with your team.

Check out the other actvities happening in Dallas Center on Tuesday.



We usually are not a big fan of big overnight towns, but the State Capital is a bit different. There will be a "corridor of activity" from Valley Junction to the East Village that should make for a great time!
Our recommendations are only the tip of the iceburg. There are literally thousands of things to do in the city that day, and plenty of nightlife to getcha goin' !

If you are from out of town, and love the history of RAGBRAI - you must see the new "Riding through History" exhibit at the State Historical Museam of Iowa.

As you pass through Valley Junction, you see another Longest Yard that is owned by the same folks in Dallas Center. They get double whammyed this day!

We'll find ourselves splitting time between these two parties: Orlondos and el Bait Shop. Both places are SUPER bicycle-friendly and have been catering to cyclists for years. Cyclists flock to both places all year long as hundreds of bike rides roll in. We figure RAGBRAI will be no different. OK... maybe a 'bit' larger...

Orlondos is very near to the campgrounds, and the RAGBRAI route will pass right by it. They have been gearing up for weeks as they've built new bicycle racks, and outside high-top bars. They are keeping things simple and will be serving sausage, pepperoni & cheese pizza, special salads, 8 different beers, vodka lemonades, chilled fireball and jello shots with live music by Final Mix (high energy R&B, jazz, fusion, Hip Hop and Rock-n-Roll) from 3 to 9pm. We suspect this party will be going for 16+ hours...

El Bait Shop - They are Des Moines' Favorite Bicycle Friendly Bar and have been catering to cyclists since they opened. Now they have a chance to host an ALL-DAY and NIGHT PARTY with all their cycling friends!
They are roughly 2 miles away from the Gray's Lake and Campground area and you can get there by trail!
over 120 Draft American Beers on tap and 150+ different bottled beers get your attention?
Live music by Brother Trucker, Charles "Deep" Dickens and Ryne Doughty
They have over 100 bike lock-ups and a Bike FixStation outside.
Check out the Flyer for more details.

High Life Lounge - Connected to el Bait Shop, you'll step back in time in this 1960′s style corner tavern. Shag carpet, bacon-wrapped tator-tots and lots more.

Sullys Irish Pub is under new owners and they are 4 blocks away from Valley Junction and across the street from Rasmussen's Bike Shop.
They open at 9am and will have $2.00 Bud Lite & Miller Lite (add a Koozie for $1), $5.00 Redbull Vodkas, $1.00 off all Irish Whiskeys or BE BRAVE and GET LUCKY with a $3.00 Leprechaun Piss!
Their master griller, Q, will be on hand for a variety of made-to-order food options fresh off the grill. Find our more about their party HERE.

Mullets is across the river from downtown, and is right on the Meredith Trail. They have an awesome 2 level deck over looking the city and a great green space to hang out. Their bloody mary's rock as does everything on the menu

Fongs Chinese Pizzaria is downtown on 4th street. Great pizza and tiki drinks in this unique establishment.

Royal Mile - also on 4th street downtown. Described as “Downtown’s Living Room”, this authentic British pub offers over 150 imported beers including 26 on tap and 115 single malt Scotches. Traditional pub food is served along with additional unique offerings, such as, Cornish Pasty, Steak and Guinness Pies, Scotch Eggs, The Earl of Sandwich, and Fish and Chips. The Red Monk on the second floor offers over 80 Belgian beers.

Other Parties and Maps

Looking for a Wednesday morning set down breakfast? We Like Mullets and Royal Mile.

Check out what RAGBRAI has 'tagged' with 'Des Moines' here.


The Des Moines Metro area has some great bike shops! whether you need a repair, or just want to stop in to check them out, buy a t-shirt, etc. you'll like what they have to offer!

Rasmussen's Bike Shop is a few blocks North of Valley Junction.

ICHI BIKE is in East Village and is well worth the stop! The eclectic nature of the shop and the Cruiser Rat-Rod styles of the bikes there make the place super-rad! Pick up a bandanna and a reflective sticker. They will be having a small pub crawl at 6pm! Deschutes Brewery will be there with cold Chainbreaker White IPA. See what we've posted about Ichi Bike in the past. Very Cool Stuff!


Wednesday you'll roll into Knoxville.

We love the Peace Tree Brewery. They are located at 107 W Main Street and we know they will be packed, but it is worth the stop in!

We could keep going on and on with recommendation on what to do while you are in Central Iowa, but we're sure you'll have no problem finding your OWN FUN!

We'll try to send updates throughout the week via Twitter and Facebook.

Have some great photos? Send a link or photos to Biker@BIKEIOWA.comcom.

Ride Safe out there folks!

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