The day after Pella welcomed 20,000 RAGBRAI® riders to town, another group of riders – who are crossing all of America, not just Iowa – spent the night and found the generosity they hope to spread nationwide.
The Sea to Sea bicycle tour to end poverty began in Los Angeles, Calif., on June 21. With over 100 participating riders and 220 people involved overall, it is believed to be the largest cross-continental bicycle ride in history. Along the way, the riders hope to raise funds and awareness of poverty in America.
The ride hopes to raise $1.5 million. This is the third Sea to Sea ride, with the previous two being held in 2005 and 2008.
With the assistance of sponsoring partners, including the Christian Reformed Church, the ride includes a trailer with a full kitchen. Al DeKock, ride organizer, said the Reformed Church’s ties to Pella helped lead them to an overnight stop there. While in town, DeKock said the organization planned to hold a meeting on the square and spend time volunteering at Bibles for Missions.
The stop in Pella was a treat to the riders, who are used to camping. Central College opened its doors to the riders, allowing them to use dormitories and showers on campus. Even though they had the chance to sleep indoors, some of the riders were still observed setting up tents.
DeKock said some of them just enjoy sleeping outdoors, even after riding 70-100 miles in a day. All of those miles, through various kinds of terrain and weather, can also take its toll on a bicycle.
Danita Blowers of Geneva, N.Y., was having trouble with her bike as she pulled into Pella. She had hoped to get to Oskaloosa to have some repairs done, but, with RAGBRAI going on, all bicycle shops and mechanics were unavailable. Her next option was Iowa City.