Bicycling enthusiasts who can’t wait 11 more months for the next RAGBRAI might consider heading to southeast Iowa for this weekend’s Bike Van Buren event. The two-day ride covers about 120 miles of the scenic, rural county. Stacey Glandon, executive director of the Villages of Van Buren, says it won’t be anywhere near as crowded as the big statewide ride.
Glandon says, "We are anticipating about 300 bicyclists to journey through our 11 historic villages of Van Buren County. We’ve got complimentary food and drink in all the different villages that are awaiting the riders. We’ve got sag wagons and our technical support vehicles are enroute." Registration for the 21st annual bike ride is from 7 to 9 AM this morning and Sunday morning.
Like the larger statewide counterpart, Bike Van Buren makes use of existing roadways. Glandon says: "We have a shared bicycle path along our state highways but the majority of the route is on the sparsely traveled county roads which will take you through two national historic districts, Bentonsport and Bonaparte. We’ll start off going through beautiful Keosauqua State Park, a nice route, and then go through our Amish and Mennonite communities."
Saturday’s 65-mile journey goes through: Milton, Cantril, Mt. Sterling, Farmington, Bonaparte and Bentonsport, concluding in Keosauqua. Sunday’s route goes through Stockport, Birmingham, Douds and Lebanon and is about 50 miles. For more information, call the Villages of Van Buren at 800-868-7822 or visit: www.villagesofvanburen.com .