Hello and happy RAGBRAI week! Usually at this point in the summer I am on a charter bus being shuttled to the starting Missouri River town in Western Iowa ready to participate in what is known as RAGBRAI.
What exactly is RAGBRAI you may ask? It's the Registers Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa organized by The Des Moines Register and going from west to east across the U.S. state of Iowa, that draws recreational riders from across the United States and many foreign countries. First held in 1973, RAGBRAI is the largest bike-touring event in the world. The ride attracts nearly 10000 week long riders plus the addition of many riders that only ride a day or two.
For the past 4 years I have got to be a part of this event and Iowa tradition where we start by dipping our back bicycle tire in the Missouri River, ride our bicycle across Iowa for 7 days, camp in tents each night, and experiencing the hidden beauty of Iowa culminating with dipping our front tire in the Mississippi River.
Each night there is a host town that features a carnival of events in their downtown with food, concerts, and fun. The downtowns of these small overnight host towns turn into a huge moneymaking ventures for small local businesses with thousands of riders hungry and looking for fun before they head out at the crack of dawn the next day. I've seen some great concerts over my past years participating and always dreamed of being able to play on the RAGBRAI stage at an event I am so passionate about.
I knew in the back of my mind with this new coffee adventure I needed to stick around to help out with the new 601 building along with help support and execute Michele's plan to get Grown N Gathered in the building by the deadline of two weeks from now :) ! So I ended up taking a hiatus from traveling to Iowa to participate in RAGBRAI this week but since I trained all season I decided to just put in the miles around Quincy area this week to still support the cycling community.
Even though putting in those miles around the area this week is fun I miss getting to experience the people, concerts, and festivities of the overnight towns. Every town tries to put on a better show and welcome for the riders and hire out some of the best entertainment and music they can work in their budget. This year the weeks biggest concert is on Thursday night in Ottumwa IA with RICK SPRINGFIELD! (his hit song was "Jessie's Girl") Anyway Ottumwa put out a contest wanting bands to submit a video of a song and the winner would be one of the opening acts for Rick Springfield!
On a whim since I knew I wouldn't be able to participate the full week and ride in this years event AND because Bad Wolf Media (badwolfmedia.net) graciously recorded a video of my band THE HOOK & THE HUSTLE a week prior to the contest I submitted the video he recorded which you can view here https://youtu.be/bfH-w4UB7ag.
Well wouldn't you know it...after a few weeks of submitting the video I ended up getting a call from the organizers in Ottumwa. They informed me that they chose our video and that we were the winners of that contest! So I WILL be making a trip to RAGBRAI afterall this year..for one night to open up for Rick Springfield in Ottumwa, IA with my band The Hook & The Hustle! (www.hookhustle.com)
Im excited to feature our band at this event and makes this year a little more special for me. It will be a memory that will stick with me along with all the other awesome times I have encountered on these excursions across Iowa. One of those memories I will never forget was encountering the best cup of coffee I've ever had. It was from a coffee roaster from Virginia that sat up on the side of the road everyday of RAGBRAI usually within the first 15miles of each day of the event. They would just set up their small operation in someone's yard or on the side of the road. But man I rode my little heart out those first 15 miles each day just looking for the "Fair Trade Organic Coffee"....the person working the cash register literally said that when you bought a cup.
Me: I would love to purchase a cup of coffee...
Worker: "One cup of Fair Trade Organic Coffee coming right up"
Loved it. I still remember the taste but most importantly I remember the friends I shared that cup of coffee with (see photo above). That cup really made me start researching about what "Fair trade" & "Organic" coffees were about and really added fuel to the fire of me wanting to launch an Organic Coffee Bar & Roastery in Quincy. That clean cup of coffee I had for the first time 4 years ago has stuck with me and something I continue to search out each year of RAGBRAI. I hope to create that cup or an even better cup of "Fair Trade Organic Coffee" for the community of Quincy with Electric Fountain Brewing.
So hop on your bicycle, grab a cup of Electric Fountain Brewing's organic coffee, and create a memory with friends!
Also as you commute through life in your vehicle please keep an eye out for cyclists. Illinois has a law that you must pass bicyclists slowly and allow at least 3 feet. 😃 So thank you in advance for being aware and for helping make our city more of a cycling supportive community!
When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race. -H.G. Wells