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Festivals, gardens and trails


Last year’s Pedal to Petals ride had a successful turnout.

Last year’s Pedal to Petals ride had a successful turnout.

As the saying goes, it’s like riding a bike. And once you learn to ride, you’ll never forget how. This weekend marks a few different opportunities to recapture those magical memories of childhood on two wheels. Here are a few to consider:

Tour the Raccoon: This two-day tour is designed for cyclists of all ages and skills. Now in its fifth year, the Tour the Raccoon can be ridden entirely on central Iowa’s smooth, paved and virtually flat trail system.

“The biggest change this year is the addition of the new ‘north loop’ of the Raccoon River Valley Trail,” said Danny Kruzic, Des Moines Cycle Club Board of Directors.

Always looking to keep riders interested, this year’s event takes cyclists to five first-time towns on Saturday: Dallas Center, Minburn, Perry, Dawson and Jamaica. Sunday will involve the traditional route including Cooper, Herndon, Yale, Panora, Linden, Redfield, Adel, Ortonville and Waukee. That’s 15 towns in two days, and although this isn’t a race, it’s still 60-plus miles of riding per day, a distance not to be taken lightly.

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“The Tour the Raccoon has lots of things that make it unique,” Kruzic said. “It’s an overnight camping ride, kind of a one-night RAGBRAI (Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa). BikeWorld transports all of our baggage to the campsite. The ride is in conjunction with the Jefferson Bell Tower Festival, giving riders lots of entertainment options including bands and beer gardens.”

As the ride grows, the “pass through” towns are doing more and more to keep riders entertained, fueled and hydrated.

CVA_06PAGE 13Pedal to Petals: Rally your friends for a leisurely bike ride through the greater Des Moines metro to visit three beautiful gardens with all proceeds going to support the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden. Now in its second year, the ride is almost entirely on bike paths with just a few streets in order to get to the homes of the destination gardens. Riders can choose between an eight-mile ride and the 33-mile ride. The shorter route includes one stop. Riders may choose to drive to the other garden destinations, but they may miss out.

“In addition to the destination gardens, we have routed the ride on paths the overlook some beautiful backyards which are not our destination gardens but can still provide ideas to participants on how to beautify their yards and gardens,” said Carl Varley, event co-chairperson. “The ride goes through beautiful park settings that include signage of historical, prairie, wetlands and woodlands points of interest.”

Whether you’re interested in the Raccoon River Valley Trail or the trails around the Des Moines metro, this weekend is about getting out on the bike and riding with friends and family. Ride on. CV

David Rowley is cinefile/journalist/gumshoe from Des Moines who is always prepared with a pen in his pocket feverishly searching for that “perfect level of ridiculous that makes the absurd desirable.”

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