We decided to do things a little differently on “RAGBRAI
week”. There are lots of trails, bike shops and breweries in Iowa that we have never been to, so we took this week to do a little BIKEIOWA Road Trip.
We also wanted to hit some less-known trails and destinations around Iowa.
We packed up the RV, loaded up the touring bikes and Fat
bike and headed out for the week. We had identified some points of interest and
had a general direction where we were going, but nothing was set in stone.
As it stands, we stopped at 14 bike shops, 16 trails and 9
new breweries/bars. We met a lot of new people and saw lots of new sites.
we miss RAGBRAI? You bet we did, but
this trip was something different and a different kind of fun. It shows there is PLENTY to do in Iowa on your bicycle close to home.
2014 BIKEIOWA Road Trip Stops
- Raccoon River Valley Trail
- Sauk Rail Trail - Breda, Carnarvon, Carroll, Lake View, Maple River
- The Three Rivers Trail - Rolfe, Bradgate, Rutland, Humboldt, Dakota City, Thor and Eagle Grove
- Big Woods Lake Trail – Cedar Falls
- Cedar Valley Nature Trail – Cedar Falls
- George Wyth State Park – Cedar Falls
- Cedar Valley Lakes Trail – Cedar Falls
- Lone Tree Road Trail – Cedar Falls
- South Riverside Trail – Cedar Falls
- Cedar Prairie Trail – Cedar Falls
- Greenhill Trail – Cedar Falls
- Kewash Nature Trail - Washington,West Chester,Keota
- Fairfield Loop Trail – Fairfield
- The Ottumwa Levee Trail - Ottumwa
- Cinder Path Trail – Chariton
- Volksweg Trail – Lake Red Rock - Pella
Shops with (*) have BIKEIOWA swag – stop in and get some!
The Cedar Falls Visitor Center also has swag (*)
- Bike Tech – Cedar Falls (*)
- Europa Cycle –Cedar Falls (*)
- Northtowne Cycling – Cedar Rapids (*)
- Hall Bicycle Company – Cedar Rapids (*)
- Broken Spoke - Iowa City (*)
- World of Bikes - Iowa City (*)
- Geoff’s Bike & Ski - Iowa City (*)
- 30th Century Bicycle - Iowa City (*)
- AJs Bicycle Shop - Fairfield (*)
- Riverside Cyclery - Ottumwa
- Connecticut Yankee Pedaler – Chariton (*)
- Iowa Bike & Fitness – Pella (*)
- MoJo Cycling - Newton (*)
- Rasmussen Bike Shop – Altoona (*)
Breweries / Bars
- Single Speed Brewing Company – Cedar Falls
- Mulligan’s Brick Oven Grill – Cedar Falls
- Volks Haus – Waterloo
- La Calle Latin American Bistro - Cedar Falls
- Albia Brewing Company – Albia
- Brick Street Pub & Eatery – Albia
- Peace Tree Brewing Company – Knoxville
- Brewhouse No. 25 - Altoona
- Founder’s Irish Pub – Bondurant
We took a bunch of Road Trip photos. Anything from trails to breweries to store fronts to food, bikes and friends. There are almost 200 photos. click through the gallery below, or you can view the entire gallery here
This gallery starts with Day 1.
Fri & Sat - July 18 & 19th RAGBRAI spirit
OK, so we skipped RAGBRAI, but I still got a little "RAGBRAI spirit' in as I took off from Ankeny about 9pm on Friday, rode to Jefferson along the Raccoon River Valley Trail, slept for a few hours, then rode to Carroll, got on the Sauk Rail Trail and met up with some Emus and fellow Barflys in Lake View and rode to Marathon for a little BARmuda Triangle Action. We spent the night there, then the next morning I headed back to Rolfe to get a ride from Julie back to Ankeny so we could begin our road trip. Total mileage fulled loaded was 167 miles.
Tue - July 22nd - Day 1
From Ankeny, we decided our first stop would be Cedar Falls.
Cedar Falls is a progressive bicycle-friendly city with 120+
miles of trails, great maps, information kiosks and bicycle friendly-amenities,
and renowned Main Street, it is no wonder it was one of Iowa’s first
Bicycle-friendly cities. They were awarded Bronze Status in May 2009 through
the League of American Bicyclist’s Bicycle Friendly Community Program.
The last time I was in town and rode the trails was for the
Cedar Falls Trails Festival that is held in late June each year. This time was
just to get out of Central Iowa and ride some new trails, stop at the local
bike shops and breweries.
Maps – On our way into town we stopped at the Cedar Falls Visitor Center. Kim Manning, our CF tourism contact, works there. She was on
RAGBRAI, so we got some maps, guides. There
was plenty of paved trail information there, but not so much on the dirt
trails. We chatted with the lady on duty and left Kim some BIKEIOWA swag and a
I also downloaded the Cedar Valley MApp App (they have one
for Android, iPhone and Windows). Bike Tech was one of the driving forces
behind the app. One of the best features is being able to turn on layers for
paved & dirt trails, water, bike shops, camping, Dining, Lodging, Parks and
Lodging - We decided to take and RV for the trip and found
that George Wyth State Park fit our needs as it was close to downtown Cedar
Falls and the Cedar Valley Nature Trail was within sight of our camping spot.
If we were not camping, we would have stayed in the historic Black Hawk Motel
in downtown Cedar Falls.
Did you know? –
George Wyth State park is the northernmost point of the American Discovery Trail in the country.
It was a Tuesday and the park was about 1/3 full, so we got
a nice spot with no one beside us. It was $16 per night with electric service.
$11 without. It was 90+ degrees out and of course we opted for the electric
service to fire up the air conditioning.
We parked, dropped the awning, and got the bikes ready to
go. I took plenty of BIKEIOWA stickers
and coozies for the bike shops.
Our first stop was to see Guitar Ted aka Mark at Europa Cycle. Mark is responsible for Trans-Iowa, Gravel Grinder News and Twenty Nine Inches. I had not gotten a chance to shake his hand
since I did the Trans-Iowa Master Program. It was less than 4 miles by
bicycle from our campsite to the shop. We talked gravel for a bit then
one of the employee said he was riding from Cedar Falls to Des Moines in mid-August
so we started to talk about the best
riding routes. He is going to send me his planned route before he takes off. He
has a bet with his buddy that he can ride it in a pre-determined time.
Eatin’ & Drinkin’
From there we headed to Single Speed Brewing Company on Main
Street (only 3.5 miles from Europa). We saw the gutted building before it was a
brewery so this was the first time we stopped in since they’ve been open. We’ve
always liked their social media presence, their logo and bicycle-friendliness.
When we walked in, it was 3:30pm on a Tuesday, so there were
only a couple of people in the bar. It had a cool vibe and I was drawn to the
bicycle artwork that dawned the walls. I estimate 12 really cool pieces of art
throughout the place. I wanted to ask who did the artwork, but never did. Argh.
Does anyone know the story?
Beers - I had a Saison Five (a farmhouse ale) and Julie had
the Hop Squeezed Juice (some grapefruit and a few other mixin’s with their IPA
Blanco). We ordered the tasty Jalapeno
Jack Dip as an appetizer (Jalapeno and spinach cheese dip server with salty
blue-corn tortilla chips). The beer hit the spot as did the chips-n-dip. We could have stayed for a few more, but
decided to get back on the trails.
Before we left, we dropped off some more BIKEIOWA swag at
Bike Tech who “lives” two doors down from Single Speed Brewery (how do they get
any work done?!?). We knew Brent would be on RAGBRAI as they are an official
repair shop. We met the crew and they said they were enjoying a little lull
time this week after the mad-Brai rush the weeks before. Bike Tech has been a
BIKEIOWA sponsor for a couple of years now and post at least three weekly rides
and other events on the BIKEIOWA calendar.
From Bike Tech, we rode the scenic Big Woods Trail for a
loop around (go figure) Big Woods Lake which was about 4 miles total. There
were information kiosks throughout, restrooms, camping, parking and boat ramps.
After that, we rode another loop that encompassed the Cedar Valley Lakes Trail,
Lone Tree Road Trail and part of the Big Woods Trail. If we would have known
there was a turn off on the North part of the Big Woods Trail, we would have
taken it the first time.
We rode back to the campsite, had a few beers then grilled
up some steak and potatoes for supper. What a fine beginning to vacation!
Wed July 23rd - Day 2
Thu July 24th- Day 3
Fri July 25th- Day 4Read Review
Sat –July 26th – Day 5
Road Trip Complete
Well – There you have it. The 2014 BIKEIOWA Road Trip is in the books! 14 bike trails, 16 Bike Shops and 9 breweries/
bars in 5 days. Was it long enough? Heck
No! We made a good dent, but there are still plenty of places on our list that
we did not get to, but will on the next road trip!
Where do YOU BIKE IOWA?