'45 years is really pretty exceptional': Perry's Bike Ride to Rippey celebrates a milestone
The annual Bike Ride to Rippey returns Saturday, Feb. 5.
“This is our 45th annual Bike Ride to Rippey,” Perry Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Lynsi Pasutti said of the 24-mile winter ride. “Last year, we didn’t have the group start at 10 a.m.; that is returning; that’s what we’re planning for — getting back to normal.”
Last year’s ride saw changes made because of COVID-19, including not having a mass start and mailing out all of the registration packets. Pasutti said mailing out the packets ahead of the ride worked so well last year that they're continuing the practice for this year's ride.
This year’s T-shirts have arrived and Pasutti said volunteers have been working to get them folded and stuffed into packets. The first packets will be sent out next week to those who registered before Jan. 1.
Online pre-registration is open through Jan. 23 on Eventbrite to allow time for packets to be mailed. The Perry Chamber will have a booth at the Iowa Bike Expo on Jan. 29, where Pasutti said they typically pick up some additional registrations. Day-of registration will also be available at the Hotel Pattee in Perry.
Registration packets include a T-shirt, a commemorative pin for the first 300 registrants and additional discounts for area businesses. Pasutti said wristbands have been added as an extra perk of registration. The wristbands, which can be picked up separately when riders check in, will include five tear-off tabs redeemable for free drinks and discounts from the ride's sponsors: the Hotel Pattee, the Perry Hy-Vee, Thirsty Pigs, the Tin Pig Tavern and the Proletariat.
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Once participants have checked in or registered at the hotel, riders will leave Perry and head to Rippey. Pasutti said she's looking forward to seeing the traditional 10 a.m. start make its return in this year's ride.
“I’d really love to have it be considered more of a parade — for the community to come out and watch and cheer them on,” she said. “We have a really great tradition of parades — people come out for the lighted parade, Fourth of July and homecoming. It would be really great to have people come out, line the streets and cheer on the riders that are heading out of town.”
Other opportunities for the area's residents to get involved in the annual event include volunteering to help stuff packets, set up, check in participants, sell merchandise and more.
“Buy a T-shirt, come volunteer — lots of different opportunities to get involved and take pride in this long-standing tradition that’s quirky and well-known all across the state and beyond,” Pasutti said of the area's residents.
Pasutti encourages residents to register for the ride, too, as the event is the chamber’s biggest fundraiser of the year. Around 200 riders had registered for the event by Jan. 1, with participants coming from Kansas, Minnesota, Florida and across Iowa.
“It’s our biggest fundraiser of the year, so it really sets the tone for the rest of the year,” Pasutti said of the chamber's annual calendar of events.
While the BRR is a big fundraiser for the Perry Chamber, other businesses and organizations are also involved throughout the day. Plans are still being finalized for this year’s event, but activities will include a concert and pasta bar the day before at the hotel, food and drink options in Rippey and live music in the afternoon/evening at the Proletariat. Sag wagon services will also be offered, along with a hot chocolate stop.
“Lots of little bits and pieces but a huge collaborative effort,” Pasutti said. “We wouldn’t be able to do this without the support of so many other partners, the fire department for the SAG wagon, the community of Rippey and the community organizations that do their fundraisers and, of course, all of the sponsoring businesses who have activities, as well.”
All of those partners have helped the annual BRR event continue year after year.
“The fact that we’ve been going strong for 45 years is really pretty exceptional,” Pasutti said. “That’s really exciting to be in my position to help carry it forward and do what we can to help keep it relevant and fun and safe for everybody.”
“I’m just excited to keep it going and keep the tradition rolling on," she added.