Friday, August 19, 2016
Months ago, I was asked to be on a committee for a bicycle vent coming to our city. It is an annual ride across Iowa now in its 44th year and we were hosting a stop over on its way to the Mississippi river. It meant lots of meetings to come up with a game plan for getting food vendors to serve all the people that would temporarily doubly our population for one night and organizing where and how they would get set up.
[Added just now when I discovered I forgot to write the rest of this post.]
The morning of the event, I was up before dawn and manning barricades to let the vendors into the rider area. Despite warnings to our local townfolk that roads were going to be closed and tens of thousands of bicyclists would be around, I was amazed at how many belligerent folks tried to talk their way through the barricades to get on the road the bicyclists were riding on and was completely packed with food and gear vendors.
After six hours of that and still before noon, some others came to relieve me including a police officer which stopped the belligerent folks from starting up, I spent several hours walking along the promenade helping vendors getting in their proper spaces and set up to serve food. Then the rush was on as bicyclists began arriving in the hundreds. I stayed for awhile to ensure there were no last minute problems, had some lunch myself and then crossed the bridge to downtown where I stopped in at the club at which I am a member and saw they were swamped with hungry riders as well. They needed help so I donned an apron and ran the bar for the next six hours serving drinks to very thirsty riders.
By the time I got out of there and walked up to the church where my wife was also working to serve hungry riders, I was beat. I ate some supper there, sat across the street in the park watching riders and pointing stray ones to what ever places they were looking for and then finally went home, well after dark. It was a very tiring but fulfilling day and according to many of the reports that day and the weeks after their stay, we ended up being the favorite overnight stop of the ride this year. I hope that means they come back soon.