RAGBRAI is not just about bikes - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

RAGBRAI is not just about bikes

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RAGBRAI officially came to a close Saturday in Guttenberg with the tradition of dipping the tires in the Mississippi River.

On Saturday, riders took off from Independence, then traveled 69 miles through hilly terrain passing through Strawberry Point, Edgewood and Garber until reaching the Mississippi River. 

Each year the event draws thousands of people to Iowa to take part in the great bicycle ride across the state, but for many of those riders it's much more than just a bike ride.

This year is Cory Weber's 15th year riding in RAGBRAI. It's an event he comes back to every year, just to meet new people.

"It's amazing how everyone just pulls together to get you to the end," Weber said.

This year is Weber's first year not riding with one of his closest friends. Last year, one of his RABGBRAI friends passed away in a farming accident. This year Weber made his way to Guttenberg with him in mind.

"He's been with us all week...Maybe even when the transmission went out on the bus, I think he might have been laughing," Weber said Saturday.

This year was rider Vanessa Fixmer-Oraiz's first year riding RAGBRAI. She rode a bamboo bike during the event to raise awareness about climate change in not only Iowa, but the Philippines.

"I think with climate change or climate disruption, whatever you want to call it, the Philippines are really seeing those impacts because they're an island nation," Fixmer-Oraiz said.

Fixmer-Oraiz also collected donations for an organization in the Philippines which helps bamboo farmers compete in national markets.

"Iowa is experiencing climate change just like everyone else and RAGBRAI is a perfect opportunity to not only see Iowa from the perspective of a bicycle, getting to see the landscape and geography, but I think it's also a great way to bring awareness," Fixmer-Oraiz said.

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