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Friday Fives: 5 reasons riding in Iowa ROCKS

by on July 24, 2009
in Friday Fives

I’ve often thought it would be nice to live in a state where the weather allowed for year-round riding, but lately I’ve been coming around to the notion that having a “winter break” is worthwhile.

Since I’ve owned a bike and ridden around a fair bit of this state, I’ve come to realize a few things that now make me glad I ride where I do.

1. We’ve got curves! Sure there are some spots in Iowa where it’s nothing but long, flat ribbons of highway. But, it doesn’t take long to find the kind of twisty curves that make riding a blast – Madison County, for one… eastern Iowa for another… the Loess Hills of western Iowa… and much in between.

2. We’ve got scenery! Whether you’re coming around a curve as Saylorville Marina comes into view, or cresting a hill on F48 with lush green rolling farmland laid out before you, Iowa is a beautiful state.

3. We’ve got four seasons! And only one of ‘em isn’t suitable for riding, usually from about late November through mid-April. But, here’s the thing: that forced winter break makes you really appreciate the riding time you DO have, so none’s wasted when the opportunity finally arrives. And, if you’ve got plans for major changes to your bike, you can make ‘em in winter so you don’t have down-time during the riding months.

4. We don’t have traffic! Someone mentioned this in the comments of one of my posts (or was it in a forum?) recently… she lives in CA and said yes, they have year-round (almost) riding but it takes TWO HOURS or more to get anyplace where there isn’t a lot of traffic, just so you can slow down and enjoy the ride. I don’t know about you, but I can find a beautiful twisty and low-traffic two-lane just ten minutes from home that’s perfect for a mind-clearing ride any time I need it. I can ride all summer without ever once using the major Interstate that runs along the north end of town, or even the freeway that cuts through the middle.

5. We’ve got road food! We still have lovely, flourishing small towns filled with local home-spun restaurants so you can spend your entire riding life fulfilling your quest to find the best pork tenderloin. And, as an added bonus, there’s usually a local roadside oddity or historic site to make the day more interesting.

My one gripe about Iowa as far as the bikes are concerned? Road repairs are getting shoddy… it’s not that they aren’t making them, it’s that there seems to be a trend to make a raised seam across the road when a repair is made. Everyone who works for the DOT – from engineers to road crews – should be forced to ride these repaired roads on a Sportster before they call it quits for the day. If Iowa wants to attract more bikers as tourists, they should mark my words and make nice, SMOOTH road repairs. (St. Donatus, are you listening?)

SO – your turn to share your view: why do you like riding in the state you live in? What do you NOT like? Do you STILL wish you lived in a year-round-riding state? Let’s hear it!