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  • Posted Jan 29

Review by Jess Rundlett

The 40th Annual Bike Ride to Rippey (BRR) was held on Saturday, February 4th, 2017.
Strategic souls who held out to register as the event approached were blessed with a decent forecast. Having ridden the ride several times before, in all weather conditions, I was one of those who waited on the weather forecast.

With temperatures climbing to the low 40s, wind chills in the 20s and no precipitation it was a decent day for riding. I rode my fat bike with flat pedals (to accommodate winter boots) and because my Bar Mitts only fit flat bars. I knew having warm hands and feet would be what would make or break the day for me. Two layers of clothing, a windproof jacket, a wool neck gaiter, wool socks and a winter cycling cap completed my ensemble (which was topped with a helmet, of course). I was surprised at the number of riders wearing jeans - but to each their own in dressing for winter riding! I’ve worn Carhartt bibs on at least two BRRs and was happy to not need them this year.

Registration was located in the Hotel Pattee. Riders took off from downtown Perry at 10AM. The traditional cannon was nowhere to be found and the ride kicked off with a siren blown from a firetruck.

With strong south winds, riders cruised on a tailwind and arrived at the hot chocolate stop quite quickly. The local HyVee provided hot chocolate. New for 2017 was Craft Haulers Mobile Beer Solutions. They had a variety of microbrews available (as well as cans of domestic beer).

Shortly after leaving the hot chocolate stop, I saw three gents from the Sakari Race Team headed back towards Perry. They were fighting the headwind in a peloton and near as I can tell they won BRR.

There was a strong cross-wind when riders turned west toward Rippey. A few times, the wind caused me to drift off the pavement but my Specialized Fast Trak Fat Tires made that no problem. More of a problem were the riders who forgot that it’s poor etiquette to stop their bicycles without pulling off the road.

Rippey was a welcome sight for windblown riders. There were liquid refreshments at the Rippey Fire Department and Sparky’s One Stop. Warm and tasty food was available at least three places in town. I went for my favorite, the Baked Potato Bar at the United Methodist Church (UMC). My toppings of choice for mid-BRR nourishment include ground beef, chili, liquid cheese, bacon, steamed broccoli and sour cream. The UMC Baked Potato Bar at BRR never disappoints! As always, baked goods, some pie and an assortment of non-alcoholic beverages were also offered. For the potato haters, the UMC also has nachos and chili.

After nourishment, my group cruised to the Rippey Fire Station and enjoyed a few pints while hoping the wind direction would change. Sure enough, it did and by the time we left Rippey about 2PM we were able to slightly benefit from a southwest wind, rather than fighting a vicious south wind the entire ride back.

I heard estimates of 750-850 riders, and would judge that to be a fairly accurate count. I predict the gusty winds kept many riders home. This was evidenced by the readily available parking in Perry and the small crowd at the Rippey Fire Department Beer Garden.

Following the ride, there was a beer garden in Perry. It appeared that many riders stopped in at the Crooked Mile.

It was an enjoyable 24 miles at the “Original WINTER Bike Ride,” hosted by the Perry Chamber of Commerce. Unfortunately, the event lacked any of the extra flair that I expected with the significant 40th Anniversary milestone. I’ll be back for 2018 - depending on the forecast...

2018 BRR Ride Info

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