Sure, there was a blizzard a few days ago, but even in the wintertime, Iowans love their bicycles and this weekend Des Moines will host the annual Iowa Bike Expo.
Organizer Mark Wyatt, executive director of the Iowa Bicycle Coalition, says the event is moving to a larger venue this year at the cavernous Iowa Events Center.
“It’s given us more room so we’ve actually increased the amount of vendors that we have by 25%, so we have 180 booth spaces that’ve been spoken for,” Wyatt says. “We’ve also added things like seminar areas and an entertainment stage and even a demo area where you can test ride bikes indoors.”
The expo is a business-to-consumer event which gathers cycling enthusiasts, bicycle shops, industry experts, guides and more. “I think it emphasizes bicycling and fun as those two things tend to go together really well,” Wyatt says. “We have everything from bikes to gear to events to destinations and everything in between. If you are looking to get into bicycling or if you are a longtime cyclist, this is a great event to come out and enjoy.”
At least 5,000 people are expected to attend the free event, which runs Saturday from 10 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. Wyatt says the expo represents just one part of the cycling-focused weekend. “We have an education conference on Friday for engineers and city planners and then the Expo where we do all things bicycle on Saturday,” Wyatt says. “That night is a ticketed event for the RAGBRAI route announcement where we finally get to learn where we’re going to be biking to over the summer.”
The series of events enables the Iowa Bicycle Coalition to encourage more people to enjoy bicycling, Wyatt says, while raising money to improve bicycling policy and infrastructure across the state.