Next month will be the 40th year bicyclists will endeavour one of the chilliest rides in Perry and let alone the state.
They will ride 24 miles to Rippey, from Perry, on Feb. 6, for the 40th Bike Ride to Rippey (BRR) event.
BRR is the Perry Chamber’s largest event of the year and it draws hundreds of people from across the state.
Bob Wilson, Perry Chamber director, said registration began last week and it costs $25 in advance and $35 the day of.
"BRR is the original winter ride," Wilson said. "We’re going to 40 next year, which is awesome. We have to be the second longest ride in the state, I think, after RAGBRAI. It’s pretty cool. We were doing it before biking was thought of as cool. I’m happy to continue the tradition."
BRR keeps Perry on the map, Wilson said.
"All the hard work Jay (Hartz, owner of Hotel Pattee) has been doing on the trail, this is another reason for people to come up and put money into the economy," Wilson said. "The hotel is usually booked, restaurants are full… Rippey loves it. It’s got to be their biggest day."
So far more than 25 people have signed up, Wilson said.
The Perry Chamber director said he encourages registration. With registration the participant receives a t-shirt, free hot chocolate, a McCreary Recreation Center pass, access to the sag wagon, a chance to win $500, a BRR pin (to the first 300 pre-registrants), drawings to prizes and discounts at local merchants.
"We have always had a solid core of veteran riders that will always ride," Wilson said. "With the increase in cycling the new cyclists see this as a bucket list item. Everyone will tell you ‘You never did BRR? You have to do BRR, it’s the one thing you got to try.’ Usually when they do it once all of a sudden they become hooked on it. It’s neat to see new names and those new cyclists are paying to ride."
Wilson said a big thing that the chamber fought for years and years are the people that ride for free.
"We can’t stop them, it’s public roads," he said. "Our average registration is 42 percent of riders. That many people ride for free. This new group that’s into the scene are really supporting it. They’re going for the rides, they are registering, they are paying to ride, paying to take care of the trail, the improvements. It’s cool. That’s the way to continue to do it. We have to make some money off of it."
BRR is the chamber’s biggest fundraiser, Wilson said.
"We are friendly to everyone, we can’t close down the roads… But that’s a neat trend to see these new guys come in," Wilson said. "We go to the Iowa Bike Expo in the middle of January and tons of people come up and say ‘I’ve heard about this. My buddy said I have to do this.’ Word of mouth is our best friend for sure."
Breakfast will start at Hotel Pattee at 7:30 a.m. and the ride will start at 10 a.m. with a cannon blast.
"We literally shoot a cannon off downtown and it’s loud," Wilson said. "It’s an experience, you got to ride it. It’s fun, it’s cold."
BRR has never been canceled and will be held regardless of weather.
Those interested can register for the event at Eventbrite.com or mail a form to the Perry Chamber of Commerce 1102 Willis Ave. Perry, IA 50220.