My friend, Jared Navratil, went back to his home state of Iowa to ride RAGBRAI. I got an email last night from him and here's what he said:
These shots are taken from RAGBRAI-- Register's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa. Subtly described as a family-friendly drunken circus of 20,000 pedaling nearly 500 miles from the Missouri to the Mississippi river, crossing the state by bicycle in seven days. In Iowa? Yep. It just completed its 38th year. Longest, largest, and longest running organized bicycle tour on the planet. It has its fair share of characters...
The guy on the BMX bike dug his original 1979 Mongoose out of his moms rafters, and after deciding to use it on RAGBRAI (or 'the BRAI') used Ebay to convert it to a multi-speed, bring up the seat and handlebars, and modeled his wardrobe after a 1979 Mongoose ad in a BMX magazine. Points for creativity and originality. He pedaled the whole ride, and did the century loop twice one of the days.
The too highwheel bikes or penny farthings were hard to miss. A rabbit-like cadence on the flats, pure determination on the climbs, and fearless resolve on the descents. The guy in the wool Brooks jersey rode his through the entire week, and was unmistakable when you saw his legs-over-the-handlebars-two-fisted-no-brakes-on-solid-rubber-tires method of going down steep hills (some over 6% for miles) as the craziest guy on the ride.
The two shots with lots of people and bikes were both taken at one of many roadside parties, this one happened to have its own farm pond with a huge derrick craning over the water complete with trapeze swing. Nearly 8,000 people stopped by this Iowasis to enjoy the food vendors, beer garden, dance party and watering hole, or just to spectate all of the above sillyness. The party was shut down by 2:30 pm due to a complaint registered to the sheriff of lude behavior. A few people thought it best to drop their shorts as they swung off the platform, a few ladies flashed or removed their tops, all to cheers from the huge crowd amassing on the side of the road. Check out the scissor lift in the background-- they were giving rides up its 5 stories to check out the view from above. Priceless