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This week I think it will be ready. OK well see you later. OK OK. It all began four years ago when columnist Donald challenge columnist John Kerry to a bike ride across Iowa. Well they got the blessings of their editor and then they open the whole thing up to all adventurous miking enthusiastic throughout the state. And there were about 500 bikers on that first trip. It is now an Iowa annual tradition. It's called The Register's annual Great bike ride across Iowa RAGBRAI for and it brings together young and old in a kind of a gigantic Viking family. But. If you think it's for the bikers alone you're wrong. Because it is for the townspeople as well. There's cookies and lemonade and rest stops in. Good old Iowa community hospitality. And that makes this an experience you can really never forget. I'm Mary Jane O'Dell and I'm in
Grinnell. And just for the night because frankly folks I couldn't hack the whole trip. But. Joining us tonight is assignment I will cover is read write for from Sydney where it all began the Muscatine where it ended seven days later. Explain your take up for me about 15. And I think you know that the writer and director of the template for what I do here. Thank you very much for the white marble topicality.
My. Kid I'm in it for the money I have a percentage of the T-shirts. Now you know we started this thing for years and I didn't know him to be a life here as it was there was an exit wound restart this half covered. Yeah. After waiting to happen and we yeah all archaeologists of the future. It was an accident. Screams away and yelling I think. We're biking together long before the first cross. Back. That's one of the way it started. We had this daydream to bike across Iowa. OK. We were going to bike across the aisle and invited a few close friends. Here we are with a few posts back in the library. That's it.
Everybody had a lot of cookies and everything great. And a friend of mine from a local newspaper talked about along with me. I was born on a farm over there. They had iced tea and cookies. John is covering the bicycle from the back of a bicycle which is not the way you cover a bicycle trip Ideally you know yeah. Be very strong for one thing but you have to go like hell between the spot you have to stop you have to stop every place so a
lot of problems but that you know we get paid to deal with those problems. I'm writing my regular ration column they say call and then next morning the papers mention I found out you know what. I am four stars. I am I am. I am. I
am I am. I am for. Writers who are. You. I am. This governor like you might. Think you were going to make this a motorcycle. I'm having more fun this year and I never had before. Never admit to your employer. I think I know what fair play. Sure sure but this year I think that we nurture $5 a you know this year I have the feeling that for the first time really that we're doing the thing right and
that the hallways before in previous years. There was this tremendous apprehension from witness after engine and it kind of tapered off last year in the second year it was awful the second year you. You could you could touch it feel it pick it up the apprehension. And this year that's that's right around I don't feel at all. I'm relaxed about the ride I'm relaxed about the organization. I think we've done the right things in getting the community notified and you know tell them what they've got coming ahead of oh they just came in the chamber off and said they were coming through. He says OK or do you want to but so they get around town look at our park. They suggested California to talk about a park down here. We went along with them because we figured that they know where they're going because we've never done this before. We're going to enforce a curfew. On the park with the bikers are going to
the park anywhere they want to get some sleep. They were just concerned about as. The town gets a little. Take about one way or the other. Jefferson is very community minded. Their. Town. For the simple reason is they're proud of their community and. We're in the process of three hundred pounds of hamburger. And for Alice to me now and again. And apart from our own.
Paul it's good advertising for there's a lot of these bicycle people you know they're going to talk about. What they saw on Jefferson and what they saw here. Naturally we're going to be compared with other communities but we just want to do better than that in the one back here where the 4-H Club kids will will be. You are going to help us today. Oh I was supervising. I live right there I don't know what the hell a muscle bone on my corner right now. Are you are you are not one of their farm Sorenson's. Horn thing. That. Right. Now it's like they have a funeral. Let's bring the baby out here. There is no way no good way to explain this excess of it. We always enjoy. There is no way to beat all odds all reason. There are five reasons it won't work for everyone. When will I do
happens if. The chemistry is exactly right. And I'm more in awe of it and each year I think about going to self-destruct and I stop thinking that oh it's nothing I know I don't then maybe we're down eventually but that's none of the in the forseeable future I used to think well get someone kill something that'll do it well that won't. And we will get so much. More. If they die on the roof they should die having fun. If somebody has a heart attack here it's better than shoveling snow. I'm. Fine thank you from the wrath of am. I. Going all the way to Jefferson. Right. How's it feel so far. Out. Here. We think. People. Reading my. Dream. Thank. You.
I was. In was. Going to write it under the impression that it would approach and. Agree any. More party. John I think all we could have probably. 20000 people on this ride if we turn in that we wanted 20000 people on this ride and we could do it overnight. All we'd have to do is. Publicize the thing outside the state which is easy to do. People have been after me for three years to write pieces for bicycling magazines and I you know I don't do it because I don't. We have plenty of people here you've got 3000 people on this ride and about 99 percent of them are Iowans. The reason you don't have more Iowans on the right is that we cut the baggage off. And the first story period I think was January
4th this year we said you know if you want bagus tickets we'll give you the first twenty five hundred people write in and two and a half weeks later the Vegas tickets were bought. We were going to go to Jefferson. If you need to take your back you know there is no yeah yeah yeah.
If you. Support if you get your money there will be no ambulance. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah yeah. Thanks to the French now. We're just out we're together
in first name. And I would sprint and turn into the pit crew and. Yeah yeah yeah. There's two more of a driver and a cook driving the truck and he had really the back. I'm sure I don't need to because the tour Lir do they're different or they're an outstanding room. I'll say that you know I just want to do it I don't know. It's an adventure. So venture for people who are like adventure in their life they're going out or they're doing something they're really doing something. Guy comes out here is 50 years older 60 years older kid remember when you were 16. My God when I was 16 I sold my mother to go on a trip like this easily.
There. Right. She said Oh well you can't so much time you know I don't know. But you know the first days are that's a good third or fourth day. It's really easy and you can tell from them. They want to look those things. Most of the love. Letters some of your friends well they don't take the shortest distance they're going when they get overdue wrangled and they go up to. Go to player or what is it really. Going to. Go down. Yeah. Going through metal and you. Come back out of home so there are many guys
but you're right. How many do you think are going to win now. I'm I'm I'm going to do for I got up yeah. But. Ready. For the. Winter break. I wouldn't say half of them are through here. So what you're hearing is that I can see it's going to have to keep with me for a long time. So the bikes in. Fictional everybody ran on the bikes and stuff because I could see you know everything. I don't know if you can think of a good is we were hitting all those hills and also we came to the top of those that long that just went along I think. There's nothing you can smoke or drink or eat or anything like that.
Good cos it's almost like you're building up to speed and you're down it's almost like. I think about the closest thing to fight without actually getting on the ground.
We have some hills around home that short hills and very steep and these hills here I find as a long incline fights. If you shift down and take your natural date you don't have much trouble. It's not short hills that's right straight up Brady down. Oh yeah new kinds of flavor you like you know we're all flaky and somebody gets on a flake you kind of like in the Mississippi and Missouri River and bison Mississippi and they're not flaky. My God. Yeah particularly 90 percent of my shape when I start. Oh that's just incredible That's all I can say that's the most incredible That's one of the incredible things about the ride. I would guess that 60 80 percent of these people have never ridden more than 20 miles a one time. Just. And they and they think somehow by magic their legs are going to get stronger they're going to ride 430 without hurting. Very strange I heard that they make it.
Like you write a letter for the bicycle. When I say that that's basically why I. Like my. Friends like myself as individuals. But I can never buy them. I like when they complain to me and I was irritated especially if. I was the one. You have to remember that out of adversity come a string character. And when I went to hell on my own invited you. Yeah I like it that way. You can't fight a bike all right if a boy if the sun shines and it doesn't rain and there's no wind I want to have
a good time and if it is a man I'm going to have a good time no matter what happens and that's what this is about. I.
Thank you. Thanks. I know your having done it more than I enjoyed doing. Matter of fact that was a good thing I knew I'd had a chance to get here. And. That's to be expected. But it's good to be here. That's first time anything like this. I've written 20 to 40 miles per. Hour so it's hard work for seven days. Let them at this point. I have. My.
Assignment Iowa Classics
Episode Number
The Great Iowa Bike Ride
Producing Organization
Iowa Public Television
Contributing Organization
Iowa Public Television (Johnston, Iowa)
Public Broadcasting Service Program NOLA
AMRA 000123
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FOUND 6-2-2011, rec 12-10-1976. DUB DATE 6-11-1987, This is a doc about RAGBRAI - The Register's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa
Assignment Iowa is a magazine featuring segments on a different aspect of Iowa culture and history each episode.
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Interviewer: Mary Jane Odell [Chin]
Producing Organization: Iowa Public Television
AAPB Contributor Holdings
Iowa Public Television
Identifier: 24F19 (Old Tape Number)
Format: U-matic
Generation: Master
Duration: 00:29:48
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Chicago: “Assignment Iowa Classics; 210; The Great Iowa Bike Ride,” 1976-12-10, Iowa Public Television, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed February 24, 2020,
MLA: “Assignment Iowa Classics; 210; The Great Iowa Bike Ride.” 1976-12-10. Iowa Public Television, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. February 24, 2020. <>.
APA: Assignment Iowa Classics; 210; The Great Iowa Bike Ride. Boston, MA: Iowa Public Television, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from