City plans inaugural 100-mile bike ride at Terry Trueblood Recreation Center

Iowa City will be holding a family bike ride around Terry Trueblood Lake for the first time in May, a part of the city’s annual bike month festivities.


Ryan Adams

The entrance to Terry Trueblood Recreation Area is seen on Tuesday, April 17, 2019. (Ryan Adams/The Daily Iowan)

Caleb McCullough, News Reporter

At a national meeting of the League of American Bicyclists in March, local bicycle advocate Bob Oppliger, a member of the organization’s Board of Directors, learned of an event that piqued his interest: 100-mile bike race around a local lake in Fergus Falls, Minnesota.

After learning about that, Oppliger spoke with Brad Barker, the Iowa City recreation superintendent, about bringing a similar event here.

“I thought about it and decided we could do it at Trueblood [Recreation Area],” Oppliger said.

The event, scheduled for May 12, is called the Trueblood 100. Teams of two or more will be able to complete one of four distance tiers taking laps around Terry Trueblood Lake at the recreation area.

While the event that inspired the ride was an individual race, the organizers of the Trueblood 100 want it to be a casual family event.

“It’s very much ‘drop in, do it at your own pace,’ ” Barker said. “We really want to encourage families to stick together.”

Four distance options will be available to teams: 100 miles, 100 kilometers, 50 miles, and 50 kilometers. Oppliger said they created those options so that any family would be able to participate.

One lap around the lake is 1.82 miles, Barker said. For the full 100-mile route, a family of four would need to complete 14 laps each. Team members are also encouraged to complete the laps at the same time.

Also at the event will be educational opportunities for bikers, Barker said. There will be a station teaching bicycle etiquette, a helmet-fitting station, and a bicycle-maintenance station.

Iowa City has designated May as Bike Month for 30 years, Oppliger said, and the Trueblood 100 is just one of many events that the city will conduct during the month.

Oppliger, an exercise scientist, said events such as the Trueblood 100 help to keep the community active and healthy.

“The best preventative health-care measure in the world would be to get people more active,” he said.

The event is being partially hosted by Iowa City Area Development Group, a company that focuses on entrepreneurship and economic development in the community.

Tom Banta, the group’s director of strategic growth, said he has spent a lot of time working to make Iowa City a bike-friendly community. Banta said his group helped to coordinate conversations among different organizations involved in the event and provided the connections necessary to make it happen.

Community events such as this, he said, are central to the group’s economic-development goals. Economic success is heavily based on creating a healthy, vibrant community where people want to live, he said.

“Whether it’s attracting and retaining business in the region or developing a workforce, you also need to have an eye toward creating communities that people want to be a part of and live in,” he said.

The ride also happens to fall on Mother’s Day. While the scheduling wasn’t necessarily intentional, Barker said, it is appropriate for the family-based environment the organizers hope the event produces.

“It’s really just kind of getting families out there and participating in something on Mother’s Day,” he said. “We like the idea of people coming out and celebrating their moms on that day and taking a few laps around the lake.”

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