Ever since I read about it in Gourmet Magazine (or possibly Fine Dining -- this was a number of years ago), I have wanted to participate in RAGBRAI. RAGBRAI is a week-long bicycle rally through the small towns of Iowa that has the reputation of being a pie-eating, beer-drinking, rolling party. "Wow!" I thought, this sounds like the event for me and Robb! Sign us up."
As this event completely conflicted with my long-term summmer job at the Glimmerglass Opera, RAGBRAI became a sort of running joke with me and Robb and my Iowa-raised Glimmerglass boss, Ellen. If work was too miserable, I could fantasize about eating pie alongside of the road on a scorching hot day in rural Iowa.
When I decided, for a variety of reasons, not to return for my ninth year of running the paint shop for the Glimmerglass Opera, Robb tried to cheer me up by reminding me that we would finally be able to ride RAGBRAI.
Robb is in the hospital at California Pacific Medical Center, and his roommate has just been told that unless he starts proving that he is working toward his recovery, he will be moved out of the spine and brain center, and into a nursing home situation. So, this roommate, who was using a walker at the time, started telling all the doctors, therapists and nurses that he planned to run the San Francisco Bay to Breakers race. (Bay to Breakers is such a wild party that it makes RAGBRAI look like a church revival meeting.) Everyone was really moved by this man's motivation. And then, one afternoon, Robb heard his roommate laughing on the phone about how he had conned everyone with his good attitude, and how hilarious it was that he had actually convinced them that he intended to run Bay to Breakers.
Oh well......recovery means different things to different people, I suppose......
In addition to thinking about gettng a wheelchair, Robb has been investigating the options available for adaptive bicycles. Actually, to be more accurate, Robb is looking at recumbent trikes. These cycles offer back support, and do the balancing for the rider.
And because they are all custom made, they're not cheap.
We haven't figured out how we might afford a bike like this, although we are hoping to test drive a few models.
Wouldn't it be wonderful to be able to actually ride an adaptive bike in the crazy, happy go lucky rolling party that is RAGBRAI????
Here is an excerpt from the above link, written by a minister who completed RAGBRAI on a hand-crank cycle (he was a paraplegic). He recounts his experiences and outlines a few of the basic rules:
Eat pie early and often.
Food is the great reward of RAGBRAI. By the time you've been biking for three or four days, your metabolism is cranked up so high that you can eat six full meals a day and still go to bed hungry. The good folks of Iowa fill this gnawing need with a limitless supply of pork burgers, watermelon, corn-on-the-cob, homemade ice cream, beer, spaghetti, and pie. Pie is the perfect biking fuel. Strawberry rhubarb is my personal favorite. Eat lots of it. Don't wait till you're hungry. You may already have missed the best pie of the day...
I turned to the old guy. "Really?" I asked.
Sure," he said.
"Well, then, could you get me a beer?" And darned if the mayor of Roland, Iowa, population 1,005, didn't get up out of his lawn chair, disappear through his screen door, and return a moment later with a cold Bud for a crippled cyclist camped out in his front yard!