creative consulting for the art of life by Jason Jenn

creative consulting for the art of life by Jason Jenn

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Oxford Part 2 : The Bike-ish Invasion

Oxford: population 800 + 15,000 international cyclists throughout the day...

On July 29th, Oxford, Iowa hosted it’s first ever ride-through visit by RAGBRAI, The Des Moines “Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa. My mother served as co-chair for the planning committee. It meant a lot of organizing work for her and she was quite excited by the event, so I planned my 5 week long trip to coincide so I could be a good son and help out. She asked me to act as a sort of Master of Ceremonies / Glorified Barker, who made announcements, cracked jokes, introduced the special entertainment acts, and welcomed bikers as they arrived into the city and announcing the various food booths and activities the participants could engage on their ride through. I was happy to oblige.

Your MC Jason blending in

Silly headgear & bike helmets are common attire for RAGBRAI riders, so I was asked to wear a wild hat that my aunt gifted me. To keep things moving along in a fun manner, I compiled a list of mostly bike themed jokes and threw in a few “just-dirty-enough-to-make-adults-laugh-but-over-kids-heads” for good measure. I even solicited jokes from various riders, who came through with some true knee-slappers.

I especially enjoyed one given about the guy who spent hours upon hours contemplating where the sun went when it set…and then it dawned on him!

I elicited a lot of groans throughout the day, especially with ones like: Why can't bikes stay up without a kick stand? Because they're two-tired. Just like these bikers must have been after 60 miles of their 75 mile ride that day!

City hall at 9:45am

Throughout the course of the day from early in the morning until about 6pm, an estimated 15,000+ bike riders from all over the world rode through the town of 800+ residents. It was fascinating to watch how the city streets transformed over the course of the day.

The morning was rather tranquil and sleepy, primarily with the hardcore biking types who liked to zip right through the various locations to make it to their destination city.
City Hall at 3:30pm

Enjoying a cold plunge through the Studebaker sprinkler

 Other bikers like to take their time and sample what the various towns along the way have to offer.  By early afternoon the town was bustling with new arrivals constantly streaming in. Oxford was the second to last stop for the day, which is often considered "the party town". So a majority of the riders  stopped to check out what the town had to offer by way of food and drink. I had to try many of the various offerings myself to confirm that the town was indeed serving up some tasty treats.

The planning committee went all out to make it a special stop along the RAGBRAI route. They even printed up themed souvenir t-shirts with the logo “Fired Up for Oxford”.  The City of Oxford Fire Department was raising money for the purchase of new fire equipment, so they were the focus of the city festivities. I encouraged riders throughout the day to cool off from the heat by visiting the 1929 Studebaker fire engine, which was converted, via modern ingenuity, into a fancy sprinkler system.
It was a highlight of many riders experience, and made for many photo ops.

My Mom between some biker fans
Several people throughout the day made comments that it was one of their favorite stops during the entire week. Additionally the town of Oxford received many accolades from ride officials who were impressed by how much effort the town put into making it a memorable day. I’m proud of my mother and the many other volunteers for the hard work they put in so that it could be a great experience for all.

Enjoy the following other pictures from that day! Click to enlarge.

Another wild helmet
Massage tents for the needy
The Clear Creek Amana Cheerleaders entertain

One example of a group of theme costumed riders

A view of the town's main street, Augusta Ave.

Midday was quite crowded!
Bikers filling up their water bottles
Once more the Studebaker Sprinkler does its job

The Polka-Dots Tuba player

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