Pella Chronicle

August 24, 2012

“Re-Cycling” RAGBRAI

Kris Hughes
The Chronicle

Pella — For the first time since the first RABRAI, Marty Doane, owner of Iowa Bike & Fitness-Trek, was able to “re-cycle” his way into RAGBRAI 2012.  

After participating in the very first RAGBRAI as a rider, Marty stepped off his bike and limited his annual RAGBRAI participation to operating a bike shop along the trail. He sold bike accessories and logo t-shirts and also offered repair services to the riders.   Each year there are twelve official bike shops that offer services to over 10,000 riders.  There are times that a repair line is busy for a solid five to six hours.

This year, Marty his volunteered time as a bike mechanic on one condition: that he was able to ride the route after his duties were finished.  

“I have always loved bikes," Doane said when asked how he got his start fixing bikes. "I have always loved bikes. I was offered a job in a bike shop around the age of 14 and I’ve been wearing a dirty apron ever since.”   

Marty got his start in the bike business forty years ago – the same year as the first RAGBRAI and the only other RAGBRAI he has ridden in – until this year.  RAGBRAI anniversaries help him keep track of the number of years he’s been working on bikes!  

Marty opened his shop in Pella in 1986, in the location that is currently Century 21 Realty.  Since then he has relocated just here doors north. His training consisted of a week at the Schwinn factory in Chicago in the 70s, hands-on, and trial and error.  He joked that usually by the time the manufacturers publish the directions for something, he has already figured out the answer.

The Doanes have made RAGBRAI a family event. When their children were young they accompanied Marty in a motor home and now his wife, Cheri, rides along.  This year he also had three employees that participated in various ways; Laurel Stelter rode all of the trip, Grant Davidson rode the first two days of the ride, and Francisco Hernandez worked retail and rode 1.5 days.