Thursday, August 4, 2016

CoeBRAI completes 12th straight Iowa bike tour

The 44th edition of the Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI) was marked by cooler than usual temperatures, little rain and plenty of hills during a seven-day journey across southern Iowa.

The world’s oldest, largest and longest bicycle touring event began in Glenwood on July 24 and ended 418 miles later in Muscatine on July 30. Along the way, riders camped overnight in Shenandoah, Creston, Leon, Centerville, Ottumwa and Washington while climbing 3.5 miles of hills over the week.

For the 12th-straight year, Coe College was represented on the cross-state journey. Team CoeBRAI was composed of 21 cyclists this year, including 12 men and nine women. The team averaged 53 years of age and ranged from 33 to 71.

As the Coe College community grieved the July 19 cycling death of Psychology Professor Dan Lehn, CoeBRAI cyclists honored his memory with helmet stickers. A “Mile of Silence” dedicated to the memory of those who have been injured or killed while riding bicycles was observed during the first day of RAGBRAI between the towns of Malvern and Tabor.

Eight members of the team went the extra mile – 32 in fact – earning patches for completing the Karras Loop on July 27 for nearly 100 miles of cycling in a single day.

Team CoeBRAI included eight alumni with class years ranging from 1966 (RAGBRAI rookie Neal Morris of Bethesda, Maryland) to 1995 (Coe roommates and CoeBRAI veterans Amy Wiezorek Schork of St. Louis and Jennifer Bassett Wadle of Knoxville, Iowa). Thirteen of the riders had participated in CoeBRAI before. In addition to 14 Iowans, riders hailed from Florida, Texas, Oregon, Maryland, Virginia and Missouri.

Providing support again this year were Coe Sports Information Director Ryan Workman, and Lisa Zingula, the wife of Team CoeBRAI captain (and Courier editor) Lonnie Zingula. New to the support crew this year was Ashton Northern ’08 with Jean Beer helping to close out the week.

Gracious overnight hosts included Bailey Fry-Schnormeier ’08 in Creston and Erin Almelien Bradford ’03 in Washington. We also camped at a church in Shenandoah and inside a high school in Leon.

See the CoeBRAI Facebook page for recaps and photos of the experience.

RAGBRAI XLV (and CoeBRAI XIII) is scheduled for July 23-29, 2017. Online registration begins Nov. 15. To participate with Team CoeBRAI, contact Lonnie Zingula at or 319-399-8613. 

Team CoeBRAI dips tires in the Mississippi River at the conclusion of RAGBRAI.

Team CoeBRAI gathers for a team photo in Muscatine.

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