As the temperature sat just below freezing Sunday morning, a group of 22 cyclists gathered in Des Moines’ Ashworth Park to make the chilly ride to Martensdale and back.

They rode to honor Dr. Bob Breedlove, a Des Moines orthopedic surgeon and avid cyclist who was killed in 2005.

Following the morning ride, about 45 people gathered in the park for the official dedication of the Breedlove Memorial Rest Area, affectionately called “Dr. Bob’s Paradise Plaza.”

The rest area, which sits along the Bill Riley Trail, features a sign that tells Breedlove’s story and is inscribed with his favorite quote: “It’s another day in paradise.” The project was completed over a year ago using memorial funds donated by the Breedlove family to the Des Moines Park and Recreation Department.

Breedlove was struck by a truck in June 2005 while in Colorado riding in the Race Across America.

The park was a fitting place for the memorial, as Breedlove rode along the trail to Martensdale almost every day, said his wife, Gretchen Breedlove.

In the short ceremony, Gretchen Breedlove spoke to the group about her husband’s dedication to his friends and family.

“He contributed a lot to the community, to his patients, to his family, to his friends, and I think everyone who knew him loved him and admired him,” she said.

During his life, Breedlove was a strong advocate for increased trail development, said Ben Page, Des Moines’ interim parks and recreation director. The surgeon’s advocacy continues to be well-known by parks and recreation professionals throughout central Iowa, Page said.

In his address, Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie held Breedlove up as a positive example for the community. While he did not know the surgeon well, Cownie said, Breedlove’s passion for cycling and fitness are his legacy.

“He did set a path for all of us to follow. A healthy lifestyle, not only for himself, but for his family, and what a great model for us to follow,” Cownie said.

After the ceremony, a group of riders again set out along the Bill Riley Trail, headed for lunch at the YMCA Healthy Living Center in Clive. All of the proceeds from the morning ride will be donated to the Livestrong Cancer Survivor Rehabilitation Program at the center and to the Walnut Creek YMCA.

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