• Tue April 16 2013
  • Posted Apr 16, 2013

LA PORTE CITY, Iowa --- Local cycling enthusiasts are gearing up to celebrate the restoration of the Cedar Valley Nature Trail.

A 28-mile "Bridge-2-Bridge" bicycle ride is planned in conjunction with the May 4 dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new McFarlane Park recreational trail bridge over the Cedar River east of La Porte City.

Pat Morrissey said the public is encouraged to participate in the free ride and celebrate the replacement of the 700-foot trail bridge, one of two nature trail spans destroyed during record Cedar River flooding in June 2008.

"By opening the McFarlane bridge it's going to give riders who like to make that 51-mile trip from Evansdale to downtown Hiawatha (near Cedar Rapids) a way to there without having to make that big detour around it on gravel," said Morrissey, a member of the Cedar Valley Bicycle Collective, which is one of several groups sponsoring the event.

More than $3 million in federal and state grant dollars were used to replace the McFarlane Park bridge, which is open now for use. The second CVNT bridge over the Cedar River near Evansdale was rebuilt and opened in July 2011.

The Bridge-2-Bridge ride is slated to begin at 8:30 a.m. at Gateway Park in Cedar Falls, with registration to begin in the park's small shelter at 7:30 a.m. Riders can join the guided tour --- or ride on their own --- at several access points along the route, which winds along trails through Cedar Falls, Waterloo, Evansdale, Gilbertville and La Porte City.

Those stops include: 9:20 a.m., Plaid Peacock, 16 W. Third St., in downtown Waterloo; 9:55 a.m., Evansdale trail head on north side of nature trail bridge; 10:30 a.m., Gilbertville Depot; 11:15 a.m., La Porte City gazebo; 11:30 a.m., arrive at the celebration area at McFarlane Park.

Riders must wear helmets and obey the rules of the road. Each starting point will have registration/waiver, refreshments and information from the Cedar Valley Bicycle Collective, Cedar Valley Cyclists and Friends of the Gilbertville Depot. There will be mechanic service by Europa.

Food and festivities in McFarlane Park run from 11 a.m. until the 1 p.m. ribbon cutting and procession across the bridge, and will include musician Raldo Schneider.

The return route will not have refreshments or guides. But the trail will be marked with Cedar Valley Cyclists' yellow signs.

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