Scoop on the Loop
Happy New Year!
RRVTA Annual Banquet
The Raccoon River Valley Trail Association (RRVTA) Banquet will be held Saturday, February 17, 2024 at Country Lane Lodge in Adel. Cocktail hour is at 4:30 and the meal is at 5:30. Help us commemorate 35 years of the Raccoon River Valley Trail (RRVT).
Keynote speaker is Rich Voelker, PE, Transportation Business Unit Leader with Snyder Associates. Rich has over 25 years of trail design and engineering. He played a key role in the design/engineering of the North Loop of the RRVT and the RRVT to High Trestle Trail Connector Project. Many of us show up with our bikes, ride a trail, and never give a thought to its construction. With more than 25 years of trail development, Rich will highlight the challenges faced and what is required to take a trail idea from concept to completion. Joining Rich as a speaker at this year’s banquet is Luke Hoffman, the new director of the Iowa Bicycle Coalition who will offer remarks on the plans ahead for his coalition. KCCI Chief Meteorologist Jason Sydejko will once again serve as emcee for the evening. Attendees will enjoy a silent and live auction of unique items and experiences, a delicious buffet meal and an entire evening of opportunities to interact with fellow cycling enthusiasts.
Tickets are $50 per person or $500 for a table and can be purchased at the Raccoon River Valley Trail Association website: https://www.raccoonrivervalleytrail.org/event-details/raccoon-river-valley-trail-annual-banquet-2
RRVT biking apparel continue to be available for purchase at all metro Bike World locations and Kyle’s bike shop in Waukee. Jerseys are $70, Shorts $85, and Bibs $100. Wearing RRVT gear is another way to support and promote the trail.
Below are pictures of apparel with front and back views.
RRVT Observations from Greg France, a Seasoned Biker and Frequent Rider
Greg is a member of the RRVT board of directors.
Many of these observations can be found on all of our trails and actually make riding better and safer no matter where you ride! Please consider these as recommendations and not criticisms.
Announce your intention: As you approach slower riders in front of you announce you are passing them. Call out “on your left” or ringing a bell are both popular ways to alert your fellow biker or walker/runner. Even when overtaking the individual or group, be cautious because the announcement may not have been heard for a variety of reasons. The wind sometimes creates difficult hearing situations, conversations between group riders, and the use of “earbuds” (or even headphones!) prevent the announcement from registering.
Riding or walking/running with music: As mentioned above, it is nice to know what is going on around you when using the trail! We all love to listen to our favorite playlist or audio book when exercising. However, that can prevent you from hearing others around you. I have experienced a rider pulling a U-Turn on the trail just a few feet in front of me, and barely missed slamming into them. I have also come upon several folks with full size headphones! That is certainly not recommended, nor is wearing BOTH “earbuds”. Leave your left ear open so you can hear both your audio in your right ear and others passing on your left. I personally have a bone conducting headset that goes in front of my ears, leaving both ears open, yet I can hear my music and since my ears are not covered – hear everything around me. Remember, even though you feel secluded on the trail, there are many others using the trail, and you still cross many roads.
Stopping on the trail: Sometimes you just have to stop while riding. Switching water bottles, answering the phone, grabbing a power bar, or whatever requires a stop. If you do need to stop, remember there are others on the trail. I have come up on a single rider stopped in the middle of the trail checking their phone, and also a group having a great time spread out all across the trail. For safety and courtesy, move off the trail to the right. When you are ready to get going, don’t forget to check each direction to make sure you can safely get back on.
Lights – Action: In the State of Iowa, it is a legal requirement to have a headlight and a rear reflector or tail light when riding between dusk and sunrise. I use my lights all the time I ride, even mid-day, just so I can be seen more easily. If you have ridden the trail often, you may see there is a fair percentage of riders doing just that, and you do notice them from quite a distance away. You can get lights for not much money, and most now are rechargeable and last for quite some time on a charge. Remember you do cross streets, or even ride a few streets to get to the trail system, and the trail does go through many towns. If you think that is overkill, a couple of facts to consider; most bike accidents occur during daylight hours, and cars - motorcycles now have daytime running lights for good reason!
Be Seen: Going along with the lighting theme of being seen by others, clothing is a interesting science. Many studies have been performed by the performance clothing industry. You might think it is no big deal, but some very interesting discoveries and improvements resulted as a consequence of these studies. Some interesting facts:
The bright yellows, oranges and greens that stick out during daytime hours are actually dark grey or black in headlights. That is due to the different type of light generated by the sun and headlights. If you have bike or running clothing in these colors, you’ll notice silver stripes, dashes or dots in various places on the garment. These are there because they actually reflect the headlights and “Glow”.
The placement of these reflecting features is designed so that the human brain notices the pattern of movement and can identify a runner or biker without actually seeing the whole outline of that person. For example, shoes, socks or pants with reflection give the appearance of an up/down stroke when running or a circular movement when pedaling. The brain sees these patterns and instantly recognizes the action allowing the approaching vehicle time to adjust.
Rails to Trails Conservancy 2024 Calendar
Each year the Rails to Trails Conservancy publishes a calendar featuring pictures of the top trails in the country. We are honored that the RRVT is one of these trails with a picture of the Waukee Railroad Pergola serving as the photo for the month of September. The RRVT was formally inducted into the Rails to Trails Conservancy Hall of Fame in September 2021. Thus it is fitting that this is the month the RRVT is featured.