When RAGBRAI rolls across Iowa next month, a group of disadvantaged and at-risk youth will be pedaling along the route, hoping to earn the donated bikes they’re riding to keep as their own.
Tim Mulcahy, one of the organizers of RAGBRAI’s Dream Team program, says it’s a mentoring program to get youth involved in cycling by building relationships through cycling and other activities. The kids go through a intensive workout schedule that starts in mid-February. They train three days a week and the bikers will have up to 1500 miles on their cycles heading into the statewide adventure that goes from the Missouri River to the Mississippi River one week every July.
Mulcahy says if the kids complete the training and the RAGBRAI ride, they get to keep the bike they ride, along with all of the gear. Ccycling is not a cheap sport, so Mulcahy says they get donations of bikes and equipment.
Mulcahy says it’s a rewarding experience to see the youth complete their training and their trip across Iowa as a lot of the kids at the start don’t understand what they’re going to accomplish and it’s a “neat feeling” to see the kids work hard and eventually dip their front tire in the Mississippi River at the end of the ride.
For more about the Dream Team program, you can find a link at www.ragbrai.com.
(Reporting by Bob Fisher, KRIB, Mason City)