Get ready to see something amazing today.
Sometime this morning, maybe as early as 8 a.m., you will see a bicycle rider or two, then a couple more, traveling into Clinton via Iowa 136.
Then there will be groups of three or four, maybe more...then a steady stream of bicyclists, swelling into large waves of riders who will cruise into town heading toward the Ninth Avenue North boat ramp and the end of their seven-day Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa.
If you have not seen a portion of this ride before, you will be surprised and downright amazed at the activity today.
I can tell you that with confidence because of what I saw Friday in Anamosa.
Now, I thought I knew what to expect with RAGBRAI. I have friends and family who ride it every year. My former co-worker and friend Ted Schultz has been writing about his travels on RAGBRAI for many years, with those columns shared on the Clinton Herald’s front page.
On Friday, I seized an opportunity to head to Anamosa, the last stop before the ride headed into Clinton, which will serve as this year’s ride endpoint.
Arriving in Anamosa around 8:30 a.m., onlookers saw a few bicyclists here and there ride into town. Then as the minutes turned into hours, the small stream of riders grew until it became wide bands of them...some of them strangers, others made up of clubs who share the time together.
The downtown became packed with riders and their bikes as they sought out food and entertainment and checked out the local establishments.
It was a day of fun, punctuated by tired, yet excited, riders and their colorful jerseys as they stood and moved — oftentimes shoulder to shoulder — up and down the town’s Main Street. The strains of patriotic music as played by a full band also swirled above the noise of the crowd, creating a hometown atmosphere.
No doubt, Clinton residents will have the chance to see the same thing today as RAGBRAI riders head into and spend time in Clinton.
This is a sight to see and an experience that should not be missed.
The atmosphere is friendly and as I noticed, the riders are happy to greet and talk with onlookers. Waving as they come into town, riders are quick to say hi to those lining the streets.
They also are kind to each other. I saw one young woman wipe out on her bicycle as she rode down Main Street. Many others came to her aid, made sure she was OK, and shared a few laughs with her.
Those same riders also at times want to be pointed to where the nearest restaurant is, or want to know where something is located. Often, a rider would ask those walking nearby whether they were from town as they sought assistance.
I was sorry that I didn’t have an answer to help them.
Clinton residents will have the chance to get involved, answer those questions, wave at the riders, take in the sights and even share in what vendors have to offer to make the day special.
Today is that day.
Have fun with it!
Charlene R. Bielema has been employed with the Clinton Herald since June 1995. She has been the Herald’s editor since 2002.
Get ready to see something amazing today.
- Rand Paul gets the Scrooge award The year's not over, but it's not too early to declare the hands-down winner of this year's Scrooge award: Sen. Rand Paul. The Kentucky Republican wants to cut off people's unemployment benefits -- not to save taxpayers' money from being frittered aw
LEVINE: Creating a new lighting strategy
It's the most wonderful time of the year and this year's trek to Christmas has been a bit different than in past years. A new house will definitely do that to a person, but this year's Christmas season is different f
- White thanks community for events' success I really want to thank the Clinton Herald for such great coverage for our summer event held Aug. 3. You made our event successful with such great promotion and photos. I also want to thank you for promoting our pumpkin party. It was the greatest -- w
- Humans can't match impact of natural events on environment Let's examine a few statements reflecting a vision thought to be beyond question. "The world that we live in is beautiful but fragile." ''The 3rd rock from the sun is a fragile oasis." Here are a couple of Earth Day quotes: "Remember that Earth need
- The government's role in Christmas An exhibit including the Christmas Nativity scene opened in the Illinois State Capitol last week, prompting considerably less fanfare than did the first display when it was erected six years ago. Overtly religious depictions of the holiday on governm
- Taxpayers getting hit for county annex costs The Taj Mahal of India, the Great Pyramids of Egypt, and the Clinton County Annex Building in DeWitt have one thing in common. They are all monuments for tombs. The Taj Mahal of India is a monument for the tomb of an Indian princess, the Great Pyrami
- Community's work has been key in supporting mental health services I am totally blown away by our community's support of mental health services, bullying and suicide prevention and depression awareness. Bridgeview Community Mental Health Center is the grateful recipient of a grand total of $23,393 from the following
- Reader: Don't use park land for clinic location I agree with the views expressed by Gary Herrity and Bob Soesbe. Maybe we should have a health clinic for poor people but don't build it in the park. Clinton does have more free parking than any Eastern Iowa city that I know of. The parks were dedica
Editor stranded in ice storm experiences truest form of humanity
A foolish drive left me alone with my car stuck on a steep hill of a back road, covered in ice with temperatures falling into the low 20s. But as is the case with any horror story, heroes emerged to aid the helpless.
- How to fight inequality and enhance happiness President Barack Obama spoke about income inequality in a recent address but failed to mention one of the most significant contributors to rising inequality in America: the marriage gap. Jobs are changing, international competition has driven down wa
- More Opinion Headlines