• Todd Erzen
  • Fri September 27 2013
  • Posted Sep 27, 2013

If you are trying to establish a tradition, the blend of bicycling and beer seems like a pretty safe call, members of the Ankeny Jaycees figured. Hence the October audition of what they hope will become the annual Jethro’s Charity Cycling Classic.

The 25-mile ride will begin at 9 a.m. Oct. 12 at Jethro’s Lakehouse, 1425 S.W. Vintage Parkway in Ankeny, complete with a breakfast buffet. Dominic Iannarelli, director of restaurants for both Jethro’s BBQ and Splash Seafood Bar and Grill, said that although he is not a cyclist himself, tapping into Iowa’s thriving bike culture is a no-brainer.

“Bicycling has become a neat cultural deal,” Iannarelli said. “Being able to work with those niches is nothing but a benefit from a business standpoint.”

Registration for the cycling event is $15 through Tuesday and $20 after. A breakfast ticket for Jethro’s comes with the purchase a long-sleeved, dry-fit T-shirt for $10.

All proceeds will be given to a still-to-be-determined charity or cause, but Jaycees chairman Ben Banowetz said one likely candidate — depending on turnout — is the Ankeny Market and Pavilion proj­ect scheduled for completion at the High Trestle trailhead in 2014.

“Ankeny loves its biking and already has a mayor’s bike ride every spring,” Banowetz said. “This fall ride could become another nice book­end for the end of the biking season.”

The bike route will head north on the High Trestle Trail to a midway pit stop at the Take Down Bar and Grill in Slater, then complete its return to Ankeny at the Wheel House Pizzeria and Pub, 106 S.W. State St., for a raffle drawing.

Prizes from Oakley, Nike and Fitness World Ankeny will be unveiled before things end up back where they started at Jeth­ro’s for music with a live band. Each stop along the way will have specials for registered riders. A swag bag full of stuff from Balanced Body Chiropractic & Wellness, Bike Iowa, Kyle’s Bikes, Bike Country and more will be part of the deal as well.

Ankeny resident and founder Scott Sumpter said he never tires of hearing stories from people who went into the garage and dusted off bikes that haven’t been peddled in years so they could hit the beckoning trail.

“The last five years have really changed the scene for riders,” said Sumpter, who plans to ride the Ankeny event. “Ankeny is still one of the fastest-growing communities out there and it is only going to get more bike-friendly.”

Wheel House owner Chandler Evans thought much the same thing when he opened his restaurant about a half-mile west of the High Trestle trailhead more than three months ago. Participation in the Jaycees event is a way for Evans to show area bicyclists a place that will make them feel right at home, complete with a staging area for bikes, big windows to help keep an eye on them, a row of phone chargers to assist bicyclists and the decorative logos of other watering holes along the High Trestle trail.

“We are definitely the most bike-friendly bar and restaurant in Ankeny,” Evans said.

And that, said the Jaycees’ Banowetz, can never be a bad thing.

“Once a biker gets to their destination, they all like to have a little fun,” he said.




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