RAGBRAI will bringbikers to Indianola,biking club to campus

by Peter KaspariStaff Writer

The Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa is descending on Indianola for an overnight for the first time in its 37 year history, and Simpson College is getting involved by forming its own RAGBRAI team to participate.

“It kind of bubbled up through a lot of campus faculty and staff and students,” Kelley Bradder, vice president for information services and chief information officer, said. “Several years ago a bike club was formed at Simpson, and there are faculty and staff that have traditionally ridden RAGBRAI in previous years. There was enough interest that with RAGBRAI going through Indianola. It seemed like a logical time to start a team.”

RAGBRAI is a week long event held every July. This year’s ride takes place July 19-25.

“About 10,000 bikers will bike 60-70 miles a day, traveling through many Iowa cities and towns,” said Bradder, who is helping to organize Team Simpson. “The tradition is, you dip your back tire in the Missouri River, and your front tire in the Mississippi.”

This year, participants will begin in Council Bluffs on Sunday and end Saturday in Burlington.

As of last week, 24 riders had signed up for Team Simpson. Sixteen of those riders will ride for the entire week, while the remaining eight will participate in two or more days.

The price to join Team Simpson for the full week is $300.

That price includes the RAGBRAI registration fee, a Simpson jersey and a host home to camp at each night. Team members will also get to stay in a Simpson residence hall during the Indianola overnight. The team will provide transportation to and from the event as well as transportation for participants’ gear throughout the week.

Bradder said anyone associated with Simpson, whether they be members of administration, faculty, staff, students, alumni or friends of the college, can join the team.

“We have a Web site that lays out the entire process of how to get involved,” Bradder said. “There’s three steps that are outlined on the Web site. You have to register through RAGBRAI and then you have to print out the RAGBRAI waiver and fill out the application. You have to send the application, the waiver and a fee to us here at the college.”

Bradder also said that the required forms could be dropped off on campus at Hillman Hall in the office of college advancement.

Freshman Lucas Murga, who is participating in his 10th RAGBRAI this year, said that the event is easy if people work together. Murga rides each year with his family.

“It’s not so much a race,” Murga said. “It’s a lot easier once you get out there. It works as a support system, and it’s a lot easier because of how many stops there are.”

Murga said RAGBRAI is an event that is fun for all who attend.

“You learn to just love to ride,” Murga said. “Between your family and friends, it’s just a good time.”

Freshman Ryan Runyan witnessed RAGBRAI pass through his hometown last year.

“All of my friends did it last year,” Runyan said. “It’s interesting that last year it was in my home, and this year it’s in the town I attend college.”

Bradder is excited for Simpson’s participation.

“It’s something we’ve talked about for several years and I’m thrilled to be a part of it and thrilled that we can do it in a year that RAGBRAI is going through Indianola for the first time,” Bradder said. “It’s a great Iowa tradition.”

Bradder also encouraged people to sign up for the race, and said that even if people cannot attend, there are still ways to show support.

“We will be selling Simpson jerseys and we’ll be having a Team Simpson day where everybody can wear their jerseys to show their Simpson spirit,” Bradder said.

The deadline to turn in all forms to Simpson is Friday, March 27 so everything can be organized prior to RAGBRAI’s deadline of April 1. For more information, Bradder said to visit the Web site at http://www.simpson.edu/alumni/events/ragbrai.html.