WAUKEE, Iowa, June 16, 2017 -- One of the largest events of the year on the Raccoon River Valley Trail happens this Saturday, June 17, with the fourth annual "BACooN RIDE," which will have about 2,700 bicyclists riding 72 miles or so on the loop of the RRVT, with gourmet bacon treats at every stop.
An opening party is set tonight (Friday, June 16) from 5 to 11 p.m. in Waukee's Centennial Park, featuring the popular rock band "Fishheads" -- and featuring bacon treats, too. The public is invited to the party.
Saturday's ride, which is sold out, is a fundraiser for the Iowa Bicycle Coalition, the RAGBRAI "Dream Team" for underprivileged teenagers, and other Iowa charities. BACooN RIDErs have paid from $50 to $100 each to take part in the event, depending on how early they registered.
Co-sponsoring the BACooN RIDE are the Bicycle Coalition -- which is an advocacy group for safe bicycling and reasonable laws -- with RAGBRAI and with the Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival. There are several sponsors at lower levels of support, too, and you can see them all right here.
The BACooN route has been reversed from the first three years. On this fourth ride, the bicyclists will ride counter-clockwise from Waukee, starting northwest thru Dallas Center and on to Minburn and Perry; then west thru Dawson, Jamaica and Herndon; south-southeast thru Yale, Panora, Linden and Redfield, and then east thru Adel and back to Waukee.
The riders are supposed to start from Waukee between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m., and arrive back in Waukee between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.
The list of bacon treats that will be featured on the ride includes a bacon chorizo burrito, bacon donuts, bacon corn dogs, bacon cheeseburger sliders, a barbecue pork slider, pumpkin caramel bacon bars, and more. You can read more about what's planned at each of the stops right here.
So, just what is the appeal of this popular ride? And what is it about bacon that it will draw 2,700 or more to a bike ride like this, and 15,000 to 20,000 for the annual wintertime "Bacon Festival" in Des Moines?
"What I think we've built here with the BACooN RIDE," said Mark Wyatt, the Bicycle Coalition executive, "is a rolling food festival. And bacon is the 'hot' food right now with people. Plus, the event is just fun, especially when we hold it on an iconic trail like the RRVT."