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  • Thu September 19 2013
  • Posted Sep 19, 2013

MUSCATINE, Iowa — It was a bike ride with a big agenda.

And judging by how many cyclists showed up for the ride, supporters of an area trail system won't have any problem promoting that agenda.

A sea of spandex and a boatload of bike helmets could be seen sailing along the Mississippi River Trail on Sept. 14 for the second annual Musc-Lo-Des bicycle ride.

The ride — named for the three counties it passes through, Muscatine, Louisa and Des Moines — attracted more than five dozen riders who traveled trails and highways from Muscatine and Burlington.

Louisa County Conservation Board Executive Director Katie Hammond, who helped organize this year’s event along with a host of other volunteers and contributors, said the ride helped promote a wide range of issues.

“The (primary) purpose was to bring awareness of the Mississippi River Trail during this ‘year of cycling 2013’,” Hammond explained.

She also said the ride was intended to boost tourism along the trail, bring the three counties together for a combined ride, highlight trail activities in each county, promote trail connections between counties, cities and natural and cultural areas, and promote health and wellness

Oh, yeah, and to have fun.

Who knew a bike ride could accomplish so much?

Riders— 64 in all — started at Riverside Park in Muscatine and rode south on the “String of Pearls” Mississippi River levee trail before heading south along Stewart Road. Eventually they followed Louisa County Road X-61, then joined County Road 99 in Des Moines County and eventually connected with a pre-marked bike route that got them up and over U.S. Highway 34, before ending at Big Muddy’s Restaurant in Burlington.

“This is the first year for the ride from Muscatine to Burlington, but we held a shorter ride from our office to Oakville along the trail last year,” said Hammond.

Riders came from Fairfield, DeKalb, Wapello, Morning Sun, Illinois City, Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, Fort Madison, Keokuk, Oquawka and Columbus Junction. Members of the Bike Burlington, Melon City and Washington Spokebusters bike clubs also participated, with the Bike Burlington group providing its bus and trailer for shuttle service.

“We were really thrilled with the large number of bike riders who came from all the surrounding area,” Hammond said.

She said the plan is to continue holding the event on the second Saturday in September.

Proceeds from the ride will go to help the Louisa County Trails Council match a national Scenic Byways grant that will pave 14 miles of the shoulder of the MRT in Louisa County.

In addition to the Louisa County Trails Council and conservation board, other ride sponsors and planners included S&J Tube, Wapello; Bike Burlington, Burlington; Tri-Oak Foods, Oakville; Tyson Foods, Columbus Junction; Hy-Vee; Big Muddy’s, Burlington; Kingston Methodist Church, Caseys, Tri-Rivers Conservation Foundation, Wapello; and the Des Moines County Conservation Board.


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