WAUKEE, Iowa, September 17, 2012 – The idea that Andy and Amy Walsh had to sponsor a fun bicycle ride and a party — to help raise money to pave the Raccoon River Valley Trail’s crossings of gravel roads in Dallas County — turned out to be a great one.
In ideal early-fall weather on Sunday, Sept. 16, about 200 bicyclists turned out for the “Save the Trails” charity ride, as it was called. The events began and ended at Mickey’s Irish Pub, which the Walshes own along U.S. Highway 6 here in Waukee. The participants contributed more than $5,000, meaning that two more of the gravel road crossings can be paved, since the cost of doing them is about $2,400 apiece.
Enough money has now been raised to pave eight of the 13 gravel road crossings in that county.
Officials who manage the RRVT in Guthrie and Greene Counties are watching the effort to pave the Dallas County crossings, as they begin to consider whether something similar could be done with the trail in their own counties.
Co-sponsors of Sunday’s events with Mickey’s Irish Pub were BikeIowa.com, which helped with promotion; New Belgium Brewing Company, which donated a Fat Tire Ale cruiser bike to be raffled, and The Longest Yard bar and grill in Dallas Center.
The line-up of activities included mid-morning breakfast burritos and cocktails at Mickey’s. There was a round-trip ride on the RRVT to Dallas Center and back, totaling about 10 miles, with the registration fee being a donation of $25 per rider. The “hydration” and turn-around point in Dallas Center was at The Longest Yard. There was also a raffle of a deck of playing cards there, with each card being sold for $10 apiece, and a drawing then held for half the pot. Then back in Waukee, there was live music by the Des Moines duo ”Ira Grace and the Bible Belt Prophets.” People bought the 100 raffle tickets offered at $25 apiece for the Fat Tire fruiser. And Scott Sumpter of BikeIowa conducted an auction, selling two donated tickets for the Nebraska-at-Iowa football game to be held in Iowa City on the Friday after Thanksgiving.
All proceeds went to the RRVT’s paving fund. The Walshes said they will be sponsoring another fundraising activity for the cause later in the fall, and we’ll have details here when they become available.
You can learn more details of the events and experience some of the fun of the day by browsing the photos and captions below here.
Andy and Amy Walsh, owners of Mickey’s Irish Pub in Waukee, came up with the idea to sponsor a bicycle ride on the Raccoon River Valley Trail, to help raise money for paving of the RRVT’s crossings of gravel roads in Dallas County. Co-sponsoring the event with them were BikeIowa.com, New Belgium Brewing Company, and The Longest Yard bar and grill in Dallas Center.
Bicyclists took over most of the parking outside Mickey’s Irish Pub Sunday late-morning and afternoon in Waukee.
Here’s the view as you ride from the south into Dallas Center on the Raccoon River Valley Trail. It’s a five-mile ride from Waukee.
When the bicyclists got to Dallas Center, most took a re-fueling break in The Longest Yard bar and grill, which is to the left in this photo.
The Longest Yard was packed while the bicyclists were in town. You can’t see it in this photo, but there was a room to the east, also filled.
Here Kathleen Moench (right) of Johnston is shown handing over the winning card in a raffle presided over by BikeIowa’s Scott Sumpter (in the green vest to the left of Moench). A deck of 52 cards was sold for $10 per card, then a winning card was pulled out of a second deck scattered on the pool table. The winner was entitled to half the total amount raised, which was $520, but after Moench was handed her $260, she handed it back to Sumpter for use in paving the trail crossings.
Iowa State University graduate student Mark Kargol was riding a bicycle he built by hand. The bicycle has a frame made with titanium “lugs” and carbon tubes, leather-wrapped handlebars, leather saddle and even has a set of wheel frames made from wood, although he wasn’t using those on Sunday’s ride. The bicycle was a top placer in the North American Handmade Bicycle Show held in Sacramento, Calif., last March. Kargol is getting his master’s degree in industrial technology. Part of his academic work is on bicycles, and he is now custom-building bikes for sale under the name “Ventus Custom Cycles.” Ventus? “That’s Latin for ‘wind’ ,” he explained.
Mark Hanson, a member of the Dallas County Board of Supervisors, was one of those participating in Sunday’s ride, and he is shown here riding back into Waukee on the return-trip from Dallas Center. He explained he was wearing his Minnesota Vikings jersey and ball cap since the Vikings were playing in the afternoon. He needs to invest in a purple helmet for such occasions, obviously. The stretch of the RRVT behind Hanson runs northwest to Dallas Center, as we said, while the trail to the left runs to Adel. When the new north loop is completed on the RRVT, this location will become one of the busiest trail intersections anywhere.
Back at Mickey’s Irish Pub, BikeIowa’s Scott Sumpter auctioned off two tickets for the Nebraska-at-Iowa football game in Iowa City on Nov. 23, with funds going to the RRVT’s fund to pave the crossings of gravel roads in Dallas County. The tickets were donated by a couple who asked to remain anonymous. The tickets brought in $325.
Julie Sumpter shows off one of the new T-shirts that BikeIowa is now offering, with the names of all the trails in Iowa printed in the state’s outline. The T-shirts, in many different colors, can be purchased online by clicking here.
New Belgium Brewing Company donated this Fat Tire Ale cruiser bike, with raffle chances being sold for $25. Holding the winning raffle ticket was Doug Balvanz, of Ankeny, but his wife Mary Foley Balvanz quickly clarified that they would share ownership of this bike.
There was another classic cruiser bike on Sunday’s ride, this 1949 model Montgomery Ward Hawthorne that Larry Sinnwell has restored. “I found this 30 years ago on a farm in northwest Iowa, and I’d rode it around Iowa State University when I was a student there, and it was a total rust bucket then,” he said. “It was still a rusty mess until the last couple of years, and I finally decided to restore it. I was able to use all the original parts, except for the wheels and tires. Once I’d cleaned it all up and restored it mechanically, then I had Jeff Bock from Des Moines custom paint it.” He said the bike attracts a lot of attention any time he’s out riding it now.