When visitors to the 2017 Iowa Bike Expo worked their way to the heart of Hy-Vee Hall in downtown Des Moines Saturday, they found a line of tents and tables staffed by pro-Perry boosters of the Let’s Connect campaign, the BRR Bike Ride to Rippey and Raccoon River Valley Trail.
The local lineup included the Perry Chamber of Commerce and the Raccoon River Valley Bicycle Co., with Chamber Director Bob Wilson and Chamber President and bike shop owner Lee Coons promoting the 40th annual BRR Bike Ride to Rippey Feb. 4.
Jay Hartz of the Hotel Pattee was set up right next door, advertising the hotel’s two-day BRR block party, this year featuring live musical acts in heated tents along Willis Avenue. Wilson said arrangements for this year’s BRR Ride include closing one block of the westbound lane of Willis Avenue for the safety of bicyclists and party goers.
“We used to do that barricaded three-bars thing,” Wilson said, “and you could mingle between all of them, but we weren’t seeing that many people inside the fences anymore, so we asked the public safety people where they were seeing the crowds. They said people are out in front of the hotel and as it’s growing and getting bigger, people are leaving with open containers, and they can’t. So I said, ‘What if we barricaded Willis?’ and they said, ‘Yeah, that would be great.’ People are spilling onto Willis anyway when the ride starts and really kind of take over, so this way the whole north side will be all BRR.”
Wilson said the local Iowa National Guard unit stepped up and donated the use of their tents for the event.
Side by side with the BRR Ride were the Let’s Connect campaigners and the Raccoon River Valley Trail Association spokespersons, all pitching the potential bonanza of a connector trail from Perry to Woodward linking the High Trestle Trail with the Raccoon River Valley Trail.
High Trestle Trail devotees were also on hand, including folks from the Flat Tire Lounge in Madrid.
The free, one-day Iowa Bike Expo draws upwards of 5,000 cycling enthusiasts to the Iowa Events Center annually for the latest trends in destinations, gear, bikes and entertainments. The prospect of Perry as the soon-to-be site of trail heads for both the High Trestle Trail and the Raccoon River Valley Trail was the buzz of the event, Wilson said.
2017 BRR Ride Schedule of Events
City of Perry
- 7 a.m.-10:30 a.m. — Breakfast by Perry Lions Club (Open to Public) Hotel Pattee,, 1112 Willis Ave.
- 8 a.m. to noon — Registration and pickup of materials for pre-registered riders at Hotel Pattee, 1112 Willis Ave.
- 10 a.m. — Ride kicks off at the corner of Second Street and Willis Avenue, with Perry Volunteer Fire Department leading riders through town.
- Noon to 5 p.m. — Live music and merrymaking in heated tents along Willis Avenue
City of Rippey
- Baked potato bar — The East Greene Youth Fellowship will host the bar at the church, with proceeds to benefit their annual mission trips.
- Roast beef sundaes — The Rippey Lions Club will serve sundaes in the community room at the corner of Third and Main streets.
- Beer tent — The Rippey Fire Department will host a beer tent.
Public safety officials ask that riders depart from Rippey no later than 3 p.m. in order to ensure a safe return to Perry before sunset.
For more information or to register for the ride, contact the Perry Chamber at 515-465-4601 or email email@example.com.