The Daily Iowan

Local riders, bike shops gear up for RAGBRAI

With RAGBRAI stopping overnight in Iowa City for the first time in 42 years, local bike shops are prepared for an increase in business, and some bike-shop employees will take to Iowa’s roadways to experience it.

On+July+10%2C+2018+in+Iowa+City+World+of+Bikes+employee+Aaron+Weiner+will+ride+Ragbrai+with+friends.+He+looks+forward+to+being+able+to+sleep+in+his+own+bed+when+ragbrai+comes+through+Iowa+City.+%28Roman+Slabach%2FThe+Daily+Iowan%29
On July 10, 2018 in Iowa City World of Bikes employee Aaron Weiner will ride Ragbrai with friends. He looks forward to being able to sleep in his own bed when ragbrai comes through Iowa City. (Roman Slabach/The Daily Iowan)

On July 10, 2018 in Iowa City World of Bikes employee Aaron Weiner will ride Ragbrai with friends. He looks forward to being able to sleep in his own bed when ragbrai comes through Iowa City. (Roman Slabach/The Daily Iowan)

On July 10, 2018 in Iowa City World of Bikes employee Aaron Weiner will ride Ragbrai with friends. He looks forward to being able to sleep in his own bed when ragbrai comes through Iowa City. (Roman Slabach/The Daily Iowan)

Jonathan House, [email protected]

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For local bike shops, RAGBRAI’s July 27 stop in Iowa City presents a unique opportunity not only for them to do much more business than usual but also a chance for some of their employees to get out and ride.

Geoff Perrill, the owner of Geoff’s Bike & Ski, 816 S. Gilbert St., said his store already is open seven days a week and plans to have extended hours as RAGBRAI approaches. The store also offers specials on some clothing before the big event.

“We’ve seen a tremendous amount of enthusiasm and activity cycling-wise for people who are maybe going to do the whole week, or perhaps just a day or two, or even just excited that it’s coming through town,” Perrill said.

In addition preparing the bike shop, he will ride RAGBRAI for his 28th year. He says with its stopping in Iowa City this year, he looks forward to getting his kids involved in it as he was by his parents when he was in junior high. His favorite part of RAGBRAI is getting to see family and friends he otherwise doesn’t get a chance to see, he said.

“People that you’ve ridden with for decades that you might not see any other time of the year except on RAGBRAI,” he said. “Just a chance for close friends who you ride with regularly and spend some time with.”

Just down Gilbert Street from Geoff’s is World of Bikes, 723 S. Gilbert St., where assistant manager Aaron Weiner will take the week off to ride RAGBRAI. He said he has done the ride around six times in the past but has taken the last few years off.

Weiner said World of Bikes will be open a little late when RAGBRAI comes to town and will be open a little early when it leaves town the next morning. He will be joined on the ride by some friends in addition to traveling with the Jefferson County Cidery team.

This time around, he will be able to help out at work, which he says he will do a little bit while in town, but he’ll also be able to spend the night at home.

“I’m going to sleep in my own bed, which is always something you look forward to after nights in hot tents,” Weiner said.

Sergia Natario, a part-time employee at World of Bikes, will also take the week off of work in order to join Weiner’s team and ride RAGBRAI for the first time. She said she has been preparing by riding to the town of Atalissa, approximately 20 miles east of Iowa City. Despite the training and long days ahead, she said that like many others, her friends encouraged her to ride RAGBRAI.

“I haven’t really had time off work, but this year I made time because of the group of people,” Natario said. “There are a lot of good friends of mine from grade school and high school on my team who are going, so I got super excited about going.”

She’s looking forward to connecting with other members of the cycling community along the way, she said.

For Weiner, the time off work should give him an opportunity to appreciate everything that RAGBRAI has to offer, and he will enjoy getting to see a chunk of the state.

“I’ve found in the past, everything’s been a blast just because every little town you go through rolls out the red carpet,” he said.

As part of the hospitality, he said, one of the best things is the church ladies serving pie at every stop.

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