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  • Wed May 25 2016
  • Posted May 25, 2016

The Keokuk Cultural and Entertainment District will hold its third annual Power City USA Alley Cat Bicycle Rally from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday

“The Alley Cat has a number of new features this year,” event chairman Chuck Pietscher said.

Participants will be entered to win a new bicycle as well as other prizes.

“The races are more challenging and fun,” Pietscher said.

“An Alley Cat Bicycle Rally is a form of unsanctioned street racing on bicycles,” event committee member Phillip Dunek said.

Alley Cats send riders around a city (or beyond) to a series of checkpoints. Winners combine navigation skills with raw speed to complete courses that might crisscross a community for miles.

There are no set routes. A list of checkpoints is given just minutes before the start of each race.

“Part of the strategy is deciding whether to immediately take off and figure out the route along the way or spend a few minutes to figure out your route first and then take off,” Dunek said.

Traffic, stoplights, potholes, pedestrians, and car exhaust are all part of the experience of an Alley Cat. Created decades ago by bike messengers, Alley Cats mimic the routine a bike messenger might face in a typical delivery day.

This year’s event offers three categories to accommodate riders from the serious, “I’ve done RAGBRAI,” to the “don’t we have a bike around here somewhere?” just-for-fun rider.

The City to City race is 30 plus miles and the Easy Ten, is 10-plus miles. At checkpoints along the way, riders will need to perform challenges before they can continue the race.

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