Iowa bike shops are the focus of this week’s statewide coalition tour

DES MOINES — Leaders of the Iowa Bicycle Coalition are on a road trip this week with the goal of visiting 99 Iowa bike shops, giving a nod to Iowa’s senior U.S. senator in calling this a “Full Grassley Tour.”

Coalition executive director Luke Hoffman says they’re striving to highlight and support local bike shops and their economic impact while generating interest in cycling, even as winter looms.

“The Iowa Bicycle Coalition, being the statewide nonprofit organization around bicycle advocacy and shared safe roadways,” Hoffman says, “we, to that end, want to talk to cycle groups, bike shops, bike-friendly businesses about how we can be building community together.”

As part of the tour, Hoffman says they’re meeting with cycling enthusiasts, which includes those who love riding in the cold weather with specially-equipped winter bikes. All of the visits center around local bike dealers and mechanics.

“It’s about doing local bike rides, visiting the bike shops,” he says, “and then talking to those business owners about how they can be part of our advocacy work, as well, in the legislative session.”

Hoffman says the coalition is working to promote safe and accessible bicycling in Iowa through education, events, better policy, and growing a community of supporters. He says this week-long tour is part of that vision, to make bicycling in Iowa safe, enjoyable, and accessible for all.

“We’re doing it because we want to start something new and unique and that’s Support Your Local Bike Shop,” Hoffman says. “This time of the year is a time where bike shops typically see a little bit of a dip in business just because it’s not the summer months, it’s not close to RAGBRAI. So we want to show them some love ahead of the holiday season and let people know they can support their local bike shop this time of the year.”

The annual Iowa Bike Expo is scheduled for next month at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, one of the Midwest’s largest one-day bike shows. Later that same day, January 27th, will be the RAGBRAI Route Announcement Celebration.

The Iowa Bicycle Coalition is visiting Wayne’s Ski and Cycle in Mason City Friday and will be participating in a bike rodeo at John Adams Middle School later this morning as well.