Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Before RAGBRAI, Iowans Joined The League Of American Wheelmen

Bicyclists on State House steps, Des Moines, Iowa. August 14, 1886. Bicyclists rode from Des Moines to Spirit Lake, Iowa.
Courtesy of the State Historical Society of Iowa
Bicyclists on Statehouse steps Des Moines, Iowa August 14, 1886. The bicyclists rode from Des Moines to Spirit Lake.

This year, as a bit of radio consolation for those of us missing RAGBRAI, we are delighted to delve into Iowa’s early bike history with Leo Landis, state curator at the State Historical Society of Iowa.

If not for the pandemic, this would have been the week of RAGBRAI, The Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa.

This year, as a bit of radio consolation for those of us missing RAGBRAI, we are delighted to delve into Iowa’s early bike history with Leo Landis, state curator at the State Historical Society of Iowa.

In this River to Riverinterview, Landis recounts stories from the early days of bicycling here in Iowa. Specifically, Landis recalls the story of one group of Iowans who were a part of the League of American Wheelmen, who in 1886, biked from Des Moines to Spirit Lake along the raccoon river valley trail. Below is a video turned GIF from RAGBRAI 2016. This is the type of bike used on the 1886 ride.

Animated GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Ben Kieffer is the host of IPR's River to River
Rick Brewer was a producer for IPR's Talk of Iowa and River to River