Jefferson to Host Inaugural “Iowa Bicycle Festival” on May 26

by Chuck Offenburger

So when’s the last time you decorated up your bicycle with crepe paper streamers and rode it in a parade? And you RAGBRAI teams, what better way could there be to make sure your bus is ready for the big trip this summer than by putting it in a parade and letting the public “tour” it at the end of this month? Want to watch a graffiti artist paint a team bus, or even help him?

The first-ever “Iowa Bicycle Festival” will let you do all those things in the west central Iowa town of Jefferson on Saturday, May 26.

Operating from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on that Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, the festival is “a celebration of the bicycle and the people who ride it.” Coordinating and hosting the event are the members of the Cyclists Of Greene (COG) bike club based in Jefferson and using the county’s name.

You will be able to browse a bicycle-themed art show featuring the work of top artists from across the Midwest; see live models show off the latest styles in bicycling apparel in a fashion show; take escorted bicycle tours of Jefferson’s historic sites, interesting homes and businesses; let your kids enter a variety of bicycling games and competitions, and interact with a half-dozen of Iowa’s cycling leaders in a series of lively seminars.

The parade forms at 10 a.m., and will roll through the town beginning at 11 a.m. Organizers want to include people of all ages on bicycles and also the colorful RAGBRAI team buses. After the parade, there will be a “bike & bus display” and the bus painting on the town square, so that the public can meet cyclists and ask questions.

Several sponsors are making it possible for substantial prizes to be offered for events during the festival.

The seminars, to be held in the beautiful rotunda of the Greene County Courthouse, will include T.J. Juskiewicz talking about RAGBRAI; the bicycling & art of Brian Duffy; the Raccoon River Valley Trail with trail officials; Iowa’s other recreational trails with Andrea Chase of the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation; bicycling business & entrepreneurship with BikeIowa’s Scott Sumpter and the Iowa Bicycle Coalition’s Mark Wyatt; Greene County outdoor recreation with Conservation Director Dan Towers, and “Iowa’s Bicycle Clubs” with several club leaders.

The festival is being organized to appeal to the public as well as avid cyclists.

“There’s so much more to cycling than just riding bikes,” said John Brunow, the Jefferson bike shop owner who is chairperson of the festival. “One thing that makes this unique is that we’re going to put some focus on things like education, fashion and art in cycling.”

You can get full details at or on the festival’s Facebook page.

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