Bike Month: How cycling is improving Iowa communities

Bike Month

As many are aware, May is National Bike Month! This is a big deal to countless Iowans who love the beautiful trails that crisscross our state. Although Iowa may have a reputation of being flat, did you know it is also the World Capital of Trails?

Iowa boasts hundreds of trails all over the state, giving riders the opportunity to discover our state’s nature, rural landscapes, and welcoming communities. Whether you’re in the Des Moines area or near the rivers, you won’t have a problem finding a trail you’ll fall in love with.

If you’re new to the area or looking to explore a different trail, download the Iowa By Trail app! The app features Iowa’s 1,800 miles of trails, allowing you to travel the state by bike. The trails allow riders to understand the connection between communities, natural resources, and the economy while the app helps businesses communicate with travelers passing through. The app is the perfect opportunity for communities to showcase all they have to offer and potentially drive business to smaller towns.

Not only does Iowa have a plethora of trails to choose from, it also hosts RAGBRAI each year. RAGBRAI, an annual seven-day bicycle ride across the state is the oldest, largest, and longest bicycle touring event in the world. Riders make a stop in eight “host” communities along the route.

Between the abundance of trails and RAGBRAI, many people travel through and to towns not normally frequented. The two-wheel traffic has added to the quality of life in towns along trails.

Iowa Bicycle Coalition, a local coalition that educates Iowans and helps to establish safe and enjoyable bicycle transportation and recreation networks throughout the state, was started in response to a senate file to ban bicycles from Iowa highways.

“Yep, they wanted us off the roads,” stated Mark Wyatt, executive director for Iowa Bicycle Coalition. Although they abandoned the bill on the senate floor after some opposition, Mark’s team decided to create an advocacy organization.

“Our first effort was to create the Iowa Bike Summit,” Mark explained. “It has become a conference to educate planners and city officials on how to become more bicycle friendly.”

A recent study done by the Iowa Bicycle Coalition revealed that the economic impact of recreational cyclists’ spending generated $364.8 million, directly and indirectly impacting the state of Iowa. 

As the weather heats up, there is no better way to enjoy the outdoors than to hop on your bike and enjoy all that Iowa’s trails have to offer! Click here for upcoming bicycling events.

See you on the trails!
Restoring Iowa Jobs Team

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