QCBC Carter LeBeau Tribute Ride 1

The Quad Cities Bicycle Club, the sixth-largest cycling club in the United States, celebrated their 50th Anniversary this past year while also celebrating the life of one of the most memorable riders who helped shaped the club.  The Quad Cities Bicycle Club is this year’s winner of the prestigious 2014 RAGBRAI Rider Cup.

It was quite a year for the club that boasts over 1,200 members from both sides of the Mississippi River from honoring the late Carter LeBeau on “Carter LeBeau Day” on RAGBRAI to hosting the “Carter LeBeau Tribute Ride” this past September.  The club also hosts four RAGBRAI Training Rides leading up to the big summer event, RAGBRAI for Rookies seminars and fundraisers for the Dream Team and other worthy causes.  The QCBC is also always willing to help out from serving as RIDE RIGHT ambassadors on the road during RAGBRAI, fixing flats and repairing bikes or volunteering to lead morning bike rides during the National Bicycle Tourism Conference.

“This is quite an honor!” exclaimed Dixon Novy, the Quad Cities Bicycle Club liaison to RAGBRAI.  “We really enjoy being involved with RAGBRAI, especially our work to help with the Dream Team.”

For the past twenty three years, the Rider Cup Award has been presented to the club or team that best promotes the RIDE RIGHT philosophy before and during RAGBRAI.  The Rider Cup will be presented to the Quad Cities Bicycle Club at the RAGBRAI Route Announcement Party on Saturday, January 24, 2015 in Des Moines.

Quad Cities Bicycle Club History

The club was founded in 1964 by four men: John Hood Sr. and his son, John Hood Jr., who hailed from Great Britain while Rene DeLanghe was from Belgium. With their European roots, the men were very familiar with the idea of using bicycles as a primary form of transportation. The third founder was an American, Fred Blessin of Davenport. Three of the four founders have since died while John Hood Jr., now lives on the East Coast according to club historian Joe Jamison.

The original club mission statement lists three types of bike riding for members, Jamison said: racing, touring and social riding. Over the years, the club has embraced other forms such as mountain biking and adventure riding, as in endurance races.

Many club members are bicycling activists and have taken part in many aspects of bike riding around the Quad-Cities. Here are a few highlights of the club’s history:

Helped to plan in 1973 and participate in what came in 1974 to be named RAGBRAI, the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa. Carter LeBeau of Davenport, a longtime club member who died in August 2013, was there for the inception of the first RAGBRAI and was one but a few cyclists to ride RAGBRAI each and every day for its first 40 years.

In the late 1980s, club member Bill Langan headed a project to increase the use of bicycle safety helmets among children. To this day, the club helps to support programs that offer the helmets at low cost such as during River Action’s Ride the River bicycling event each Father’s Day. The club also subsidizes the cost of helmets purchased at local bike shops.

Club president John Harrington has been at the helm for six years, making him the longest-serving person in that position. He raced bikes when he was in his 20s, but left the sport for 25 years.

Carter LeBeau Tribute Ride

On Saturday September 20th, 2014, the QCBC paid tribute to the late Carter LeBeau with a leisurely tribute ride lead by Kaye LeBeau and Vivian Norton. Carter was perhaps the most well-known RAGBRAIer of all time.  His signature red and blue mismatched knee-high socks were ever present as was his love and devotion to promoting cycling and Iowa.  The ride started at the Isle of Capri in Bettendorf to Credit Island and back along “Route 66”. Riders took a break at Credit Island to hear Carter stories from those who knew him best.

RAGBRAI Dream Team Fundraiser

Each year the QCBC has a line item on the Charter Service Application to raffle off a RAGBRAI jersey with all proceeds benefiting the Dream Team. They started this $5 chance in 2012 and have seen their participants almost double every year.  The members also find Dream Team members to ride with each RAGBRAI.

RAGBRAI for Rookies and Training Rides

On the first Saturday immediately following the year’s Route Announcement the QCBC holds a seminar to help prepare members and guests for RAGBRAI. Not just being limited to QCBC Members, the club gains attendance from cyclists up and down the Mississippi.  The Quad Cities Bicycle Club hosts “RAGBRAI for Rookies” to help riders prepare for the famous ride.

Veteran riders and first-timers are invited to share ideas, stories and get one-on-one coaching on whatever topic they choose. They get information such as training, luggage, logistics, safety and emergency repairs.

Photos from previous rides will be shown in a multimedia slide presentation. Refreshments will be served and there will be drawings for door prizes, including an official RAGBRAI jersey.

The QCBC also has four “RAGBRAI Training Rides” one for each month leading up to RAGBRAI each year.

Roadside Assistance

No one today epitomizes the QCBC’s helpfulness more than the man known as Bareback.  You may have seen this QCBC member alongside the road during the past twenty or so RAGBRAIs, helping some poor soul repair their bicycle.

But did you know the whole story behind the man known as Bareback?

Dean “Bareback” Mathias of Milan, Illinois is a friend of all and savior for many. You know you had people looking out for you when Bareback and his wife Deb would be a Quad Cities Bicycle Club sanctioned rides. If anyone had a flat, it would be repaired in NASCAR pit crew-like speed and efficiency. This retired teacher from the Rock Island School District would constantly be teaching regular Joes and Janes how to pass this gift of citizenship forward.

They call him Bareback because he is the one, the only, the legend, the guy you see on RAGBRAI who “rides” without a seat on his custom built bicycle. But his method of riding isn’t just limited to RAGBRAI. Bareback can be seen cycling 365 days a year, lumbering through the Quad Cities in the blizzards, extreme temperatures or torrential rains.

During RAGBRAI, Bareback would head off early in the morning and be the last one into camp at night because he spends his day helping those in need. Whether it is a chain that needs oiling, a tire with the sidewall blown out or even someone at a rest stop who lost their money and needs a cold drink, Bareback is the one who gives them a $20 bill so he doesn’t have to worry about them making it the next 20 miles to the overnight town.

Bareback packs his bike with a floor pump lying across the top of his frame, where the seat post would protrude on most bikes. He loads his handlebar and fanny packs with his required inventory for the day. Bareback straps coiled up tires around his packs, and then heads out on his mission. This rolling SAG wagon will literally stop and help everyone person he sees each and every day. He spends his nights in camp patching the tubes so he can recycle them the next day. What little money he may receive from the rescued individuals (he never charges a fee for his services) Bareback will use to purchase more supplies for the next day.

A huge thanks to the Quad Cities Bicycle Club for being part of RAGBRAI and welcoming new riders to get involved, helping those that join us and paying tribute to those who contributed during the 50 year history of the club!

Congratulations to the Quad Cities Bicycle Club on winning the 2014 Rider Cup!


2013:  Adaptive Sports Iowa
2012:  Rawhide Riders
2011:  Team Cuisine
2010:  The Whiners
2009:  Henry County High Wheelers
2008:  Air Force Cycling Team
2007:  CUBS (Chicago Urban Bicycling Society)
2006:  The Dream Team
2005:  Team Navy Cycling
2004:  Siouxland Cyclists
2003:  Marion Road Hogs
2002:  Team Achin’ Knee
2001:  North Iowa Touring Club
2000:  Huff ‘N Puffers
1999:  Riverbend Bike Club
1998:  Pottawattamie Pedalers
1997:  Team Gnarley
1996:  Siouxland Cyclists
1995:  Bicyclists of Iowa City
1994:  Huff ‘N Puffers
1993:  Team Skunk
1992:  The Killer Bees

The Rider Cup will be presented to the Quad Cities Bicycle Club at the RAGBRAI Route Announcement Party on Saturday, January 24, 2015 in Des Moines.

QCBC-logo-50-MEDQCBC Kaye & Carter Jr. at EXPOQCBC 9. 2013 0721QCBC Carter LeBeau DayQCBC 05-17-14 RAGBRAI Training RideQCBC Carter LeBeau Tribute Ride 2 QCBC Dream Team

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