A southwest Iowa town will host an international competition of sorts Saturday. Corresponding with Sunday’s start of the statewide bicycle ride, RAGBRAI, Glenwood will be this year’s home to the World Tire Changing Championships.
Mark Wyatt, executive director of the Iowa Bicycle Coalition, says anyone is welcome to enter the challenge. “We’ve got five wheels set up and we’ll let people go for time and we’ll keep track,” Wyatt says. “The five fastest times at the end of the day will get to race, head to head, to see who can change the tire the fastest.”
Changing a bicycle tire isn’t exactly an Olympic sport, but Wyatt says there’s a certain art to it, especially when you’re being timed.
“It really hasn’t changed much over the years,” Wyatt says. “It’s pretty much just dislodging the outer tire parts, changing out the inner tube, replacing that outer tire part and filling it back up.”
The week-long bike ride across Iowa will attract about 10,000 cycling enthusiasts from around the globe, so he’s expecting to see some lightning-fast tire changes at the second annual world event. “Last year, in our final round, we had one minute and three seconds, Rick Paulos of Cedar Rapids had that time,” Wyatt says. “I think we should see an under-one-minute time this year.”
The qualifying will go all day at the RAGBRAI Expo in Glenwood with the finals scheduled for 5 P.M.