By Mardell Mommsen and Cathy Crosser
Special to the Herald
This is such an exciting time for Clinton, Iowa! On July 20, bicyclists from all over the world will be coming to town to park their vehicles and make the journey across the state to participate in the 40th year of the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa. On July 28 over 15,000 riders will dip their tires in the Mississippi River, here in Clinton!
In February of this year, Lori Freudenberg, the Executive Director of the YWCA, asked the YWCA board members if anyone would like to chair the Clinton Hospitality Committee for RAGBRAI. We accepted the challenge, and have been co-chairs of the committee. Our committee consists almost entirely of hard-working YWCA board and staff members.
Our committee works very closely with the Clinton RAGBRAI Public Relations Committee, as well as the Executive Committee that oversees us. At one of the first joint committee meetings, we decided on our mission statement and theme. The Clinton Community College’s Graphics Design and Art students were given the challenge of designing our logo. We had several to choose from, and decided on “Where the Rubber Meets the River,” designed by Chad Kimmer. The logo was unveiled at a well-attended ‘Fun After 5 Event’ at the Candlelight Inn. We ordered black T-shirts with the logo and began selling them. Our volunteers will be wearing blue T-shirts with the logo on the front and “Ask Me” on the back. T-shirts are on sale at the Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce/CVB, at the YWCA, and at Boegel’s Men’s Wear.
Our committee is also in charge of decorations on the “day of the dipping”, July 28. We requested bicycle donations from the surrounding communities. These bicycles did not have to be in working order and contributors knew that the bicycles would be recycled and proceeds donated to the local bicycle club after the event. Twenty of the bikes that were collected were taken to McEleney Motors to be painted red, white or blue, and will be displayed along the boat ramp. The rest of the bikes are available to residents to use for decorating their yards. A mailing was sent to the residents along the route, asking them to decorate their yards in red, white and blue, and to give us a call at 242-5702 or email us at email@example.com if they would like a bike for decorating. We still have about 30 bikes available.
The YWCA is collecting towels for the RAGBRAI riders to use while in town and will have showers available. Our committee has had an outpouring of support from community members and businesses, and would like to thank McEleney Motors, Wild Rose Casino, J.T. Cullen, Chad Kimmer, Adcraft, Clinton Printing, Clinton Community College, the YWCA, Bicycle Station, Ben’s Bicycle Shop, Wide River Winery, Boegel’s Men’s Wear, and all those who donated bicycles. There are many others, too numerous to mention all of them. The other committees have had generous support from other businesses and individuals, as well.
Please cheer on the riders as they come through our town, and take advantage of the entertainment near the dip site on July 28th. If you are riding RAGBRAI, enjoy the ride! Check the website at www.clintonragbrai.com often for details about RAGBRAI.