A group working to keep Iowa farmland from becoming strip malls has joined forces with a team that’s bicycling across the state on this year’s RAGBRAI. Members of Team Schmoooze are promoting the mission of the organization called “One-thousand Friends of Iowa” on the weeklong trek. LaVon Griffieon, president of One-thousand Friends, says the bikers want to see Iowa’s small-town charms saved from development and big hog lots. Griffieon, who farms in Polk County, says in the eight years the team members have ridden RAGBRAI, they’ve noticed changes and seen urban sprawl heading toward Iowa. She says the quaint communities, the rural nature and the friendliness of the people are all reasons Team Schmoooze comes here for the long ride, not to ride through a subdivision, big cities or traffic congestion. Team Schmoooze has 19 members on this year’s ride from ten states. Ed Fallon, a Democrat state legislator and executive director of One-thousand Friends, is riding with the group to help in the promotion of responsible land use. Griffieon says the mission of One-thousand Friends is to educate Iowans and others “about the long-term benefits of halting urban sprawl, conserving and protecting our agricultural lands and our natural areas, and revitalizing our cities and towns.”