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John Bonte, Clinton Community College Chemistry instructor, is seen during a previous RAGBRAI. Bonte is looking forward to the many reoccurring and new highlights of RAGBRAI, before dipping his bike’s tires in the Mississippi River in Clinton.

Submitted photo
Herald Staff Report

A Fun After 5 event will kick off RAGBRAI XL celebrations in Clinton this week.

The event will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday at the Candlelight Inn, lower patio. The new RAGBRAI XL logo, which displays the theme, “Where the rubber meets the river,” will be unveiled by Chad Kimmel, the Clinton Community College student who composed the winning logo. Commemorative T-shirts will be available as well as hors d’oeuvres, beer and soft drinks.

This will be a chance to meet some of the past and present riders.  Tickets are $25 and are available at Clinton Convention & Visitor’s Bureau, Clinton Printing, YWCA and Clinton Community College.

For Clinton Community College instructor John Bonte, this event will begin festivities that he has participated in for 25 years.

“I started doing RAGBRAI about 25 years ago with my son,” Bonte said. “The year before our first complete ride, RAGBRAI came into Clinton. We rode out to Elvira to meet the bikes.  I wondered why people kept yelling at us. I now know they were warning other riders, ‘bike up’ to watch that they didn’t run into us in the left lane.”

Bonte and his son participated in the entire ride the next year and have been doing the ride off and on ever since.

“I’ve done it with my brother and with friends from high school, but have always ridden with the Riverbend Bike Club,” Bonte said. “For me, it has always been a physical challenge. Even with 500 miles of training, it is quite an accomplishment to ride 60 to 100 miles every day for seven days. I consider it to be my own personal fat camp.  There is nothing like finishing the ride by riding into your hometown, with people cheering you on. When you finally reach the river and dip your tires, you really feel like you have accomplished something.”

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