The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

July 1, 2013

Smaller towns preparing for RAGBRAI visits

OTTUMWA — While some of the larger towns have been chosen as overnight spots for RAGBRAI 2013, the smaller, pass-through communities on the route are providing memorable moments, too.

The Des Moines Register's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa will bring riders through southeast Iowa on Friday, July 26 and Saturday, July 27.

The Friday schedule will take riders from Oskaloosa through Cedar, Fremont, Hedrick, Martinsburg and Packwood to the night's stop in Fairfield. On Saturday, they'll go through Birmingham, Keosauqua, Bentonsport and West Point before stopping in Fort Madison for the end of the ride.

In Fremont, all the nonprofits in town are combining to work as one to make a one-of-a-kind stop. It all begins with breakfast in the community center — biscuits and whole-hog sausage gravy, fruit, Amish sweet rolls and pie with beverages will get the day started right, Mayor Edd Elder says.

There will be a DJ in town for the morning, and the fire department will have a free water bottle filling station. Other vendors and restaurants in town will have beverages and breakfast as well. The 4-H will have picture sessions and possibly even cow milking demonstrations. Elder says the committee is even planning some Burma Shave-style signs to let riders know how close they are to Fremont and some really great food.

But Elder says the star attraction of the day will be the bike racks in the middle of town. A giant quad-track Case International tractor will be set up at the west end of Main Street with a cable attached to an antique tractor. Riders can hook their bike handles over the cable and go enjoy the breakfast and activities. A second set of tractors will be ready at the east end of Main Street as well.

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