Mixing business and bicycling to combat homelessness


What the heck, it’s time to spit in the wind and mix business with pleasure (and to get our allotment of clichés out of the way for the day.)

Come July 20-26, the only part of the previous sentence I’m likely to regret is the reference to wind — especially if it happens to be blowing from the east. You see, I’ll be riding on RAGBRAI, something I’ve done for the past six years. But this year, for the first time, I am organizing Team MCSA and inviting riders to join me for a week of fun and fundraising. Along the way, I hope to raise awareness for the challenges posed statewide by homelessness. It will be a week of biking, blogging, tweeting and talking to anyone who wants learn more about both MCSA and homelessness in Iowa.

The Des Moines Register last week announced the overnight towns for RAGBRAI XLII. They are: Rock Valley, Lake Okoboji, Emmetsburg, Forest City, Mason City, Waverly, Independence and Guttenberg. At 418 miles, it will be one of the shortest and flattest routes ever for RAGBRAI.

So far, nearly 20 people have voiced at least some interest in joining me on Team MCSA. And some of them may be bringing their significant others and/or their children. If you’re reading this and would like to participate, or if you know someone who would like to participate, please contact me.

In addition to the possible teammates with whom I have been talking, we may be joined by up to eight students from East Campus, the Muscatine Community School District’s alternative school. It sounds as if they may get a physical education credit for participating. And some of them are interested in shooting a documentary about the experience.

Along with getting a team put together, there will be hundreds of other things to do. I have a host family lined up who has agreed to let Team MCSA camp in their yard in Spirit Lake on the night RAGBRAI stops at Lake Okoboji. We will need hosts in all of the other towns except for Guttenberg. If you are reading this and have family/friends in any of those communities who might be willing to host us, please have them contact me.

All of the details will be worth it because:

  • I am a native Iowan. I love Iowa. And I love RAGBRAI. It is something I grew up reading about every summer in the Register. I always wanted to do it. Now, I guess I’ll never miss it again. I used to say the Iowa State Fair was Iowa’s premier event. And I still love the butter cow and everything else the fair involves. But it doesn’t compare with RAGBRAI, which annually takes thousands of people from around the world directly down Main Street of eight different overnight towns and dozens of other communities through which the ride passes. You experience everything about Iowa that is great: Picturesque sunrises and sunsets, friendly people, food, food and more food.
  • Team MCSA will enable me to do what I would do anyway while also raising money and promoting MCSA, something for which my passion may be even greater than it is for RAGBRAI.

It’s pretty simple.

I want everyone to know about MCSA. And then I want them to give what they can to help support the work MCSA does.

RAGBRAI is something that everyone should do at least once — even if it’s just for a day or part of a day.

Combining MCSA and RAGBRAI will make for a very special week. I can’t wait.