Bicycle lovers pedal to Des Moines for Iowa Bicycle Summit
January 21st, 2013 by Ric Hanson
Iowa bicycling enthusiasts may not be able to do much pedaling in the freezing cold right now, but they’ll be flocking by the thousands to Des Moines later this week for the Iowa Bicycle Summit. Mark Wyatt, executive director of the Iowa Bicycle Coalition, says it’s actually three big events rolled into one weekend. “We have the Iowa Bicycle Summit which is our education conference,” Wyatt says. “We train people to build trails and teach people how to install bike lanes and build better bicycling facilities into communities. The second thing we have is the Iowa Bike Expo which is our big outdoor enthusiast’s place to see new gear, new bicycles and find new destinations to vacation with your bicycle next summer.”
The third event is the Route Announcement Party for the annual RAGBRAI, a statewide ride that draws more than 10-thousand cyclists from across the world every summer. Wyatt says this statewide summit event at the Iowa Events Center continues to grow every year. “We’re actually setting a record for the Iowa Bicycle Summit at 140 people so far registered, so that’s outstanding,” Wyatt says. “The Iowa Bike Expo, last year we had great weather and had about 3,000 people attend. We have over 90 vendors that are going to be present to talk about bikes and gear and destinations.”
Iowa has some two-thousand miles of bike trails, with some of the longest continuous trail systems in the country. “Over half of Iowans, and we have 3-million Iowans, over half own a bicycle,” Wyatt says. “They may not ride them but certainly we know people have access to bicycles. It’s not too difficult to see the large increases in the amount people bicycling, especially with the introduction of a lot of trails and bike lanes and other infrastructure we have that really make it easy to go out and enjoy yourself.”
Learn more about the events on Friday and Saturday at www.bikeiowa.com.