Bicyclists take a brief break from pedaling during last year’s Wellness on Wheels ride. Many cyclists return every year for the annual bicycle ride.
by Derrick Vander Waal SIOUX CENTER, IOWA – Bicyclists might want to give riding on gravel a try. Or, they can have their choice of three paved routes, ranging from 6 to 60 miles, that received raved reviews last year.
WOW6 is slated for Saturday, June 4, as an official event of Sioux Center Summer Celebration and the community’s 125th anniversary celebration. The event, which is put on by Promise Community Health Center of Sioux Center with the help of many great business sponsors, also includes a meal, great prizes and a complimentary event T-shirt.
Bicyclists travel the Sioux County countryside during last year’s Wellness on Wheels Bicycle Ride. Four routes are being offered this year’s event on June 4, including a new 30-mile gravel surface route.
“We think the bicyclists will absolutely love our WOW event again this year,” said Derrick Vander Waal, public relations and development coordinator for Promise. “We have distances for every riding level, ranging from 6 miles to 60 miles. The bicyclists savor the opportunity to ride out on the open road with fellow riders. They enjoy sharing bicycling stories with the fellow riders who return every year and meeting the new participants. The camaraderie among the cyclists is a wonderful part of this event.”
All four rides will start again this year at Children’s Park in Sioux Center:
Bicyclists head off on their trek during last year’s WOW Bicycle Ride. WOW6 is slated for Saturday, June 4, with four routes planned for riders.
A nearly 60-mile paved route will travel through scenic southwestern Sioux County through the communities of Hawarden and Ireton. Aid stations will be located in those towns to welcome riders and rejuvenate them with Gatorade, water and snacks before heading back out on the road. The ride will depart at 7 a.m.
A nearly 30-mile paved route will travel through rural Sioux County to Ireton, where one of the welcome stations will be located, before returning to Sioux Center. The ride will depart at 8 a.m.
The new 30-mile gravel route will take riders on a large loop through rural Sioux County past some interesting features and will intersect with the Ireton welcome station. The ride will depart at 8 a.m.
A 6-mile Fun Ride will travel to Sandy Hollow Recreation Area and back on the Sioux Center Recreation Trail. A welcome station with refreshments will be located in an open shelter house halfway along the way to provide riders a place to stop on both the route there and back. The ride will depart at 9 a.m.
Nate Nykamp, an avid bicyclist and WOW committee member who spearheaded the design of the routes, thinks the new gravel surface ride will appeal to a growing segment of the cycling population. He hopes people give it a try.
“Is riding 30 miles on gravel roads harder than 30 miles on paved roads? You bet it is,” Nykamp said. “But if it’s a challenge, it’s a beautiful one. Riders will see roads and places that they never knew existed, including the abandoned village of Fairview. In addition to seeing some new country, I really enjoy riding without having to constantly worry about car traffic. It’s simply a more peaceful ride.”
Bicyclists gather at Children’s Park in Sioux Center before embarking on their ride during the 2015 WOW event.
He said the biggest question in the mind of a new gravel rider is: “What bike should I bring?”
“I’ve rode alongside riders on mountain bikes, upright hybrids, cyclocross and even road bikes,” Nykamp said. “The main thing is that it’s a bike that you’re comfortable on. Don’t forget that the ride does have support vehicles to help you out if you get in a bind.”
Nykamp said the WOW’s longer paved routes were kept the same as last year mainly because of the positive reviews from riders. The 60-mile route features “some of the most beautiful and quiet roads that Sioux County has to offer,” including riding along the Big Sioux River and the rolling hills of western Sioux County.
“The longer route has a couple of good hills to test your legs, but we’ve put aid stations in the right spots to give riders a chance to recover,” he said. “The shorter ride to Ireton is a good way for newer riders to get a feel for event riding; plus, it’s just a fun combination of roads to be on.”
The sixth annual Wellness on Wheels (WOW6) Bicycle Ride is slated for Saturday, June 4, with four routes that range in distance from 6 to 60 miles. A new 30-mile gravel route is planned for this year.
If 30 or 60 miles is too much for the leisure bicyclist, they might want to ride the 6-mile Fun Ride that travels the countryside on the Sioux Center Recreation Trail to Sandy Hollow Recreation Area, a park managed by the Sioux County Conservation Board. The route also is perfect for families with small children. If they can’t make it all the way to the park, they will be able to turn around at the welcome station that will be provided halfway.
A meal featuring Casey’s breakfast pizza will be served to all the riders when they return to Children’s Park from their morning treks. Drawings for great prizes – boys and girls youth bicycles and two bicycle computers – will be conducted. A complimentary T-shirt also will be given to riders. Participants who register by the early-bird deadline of May 19 will be guaranteed a T-shirt in their size.
The annual Wellness on Wheels Bicycle Ride brings out all kinds of bicyclists, including this three-person cycle.
WOW not only is a fun, relaxing, outdoor activity that promotes wellness, but it also serves as an annual fundraiser for Promise. The health center provides medical, prenatal, dental, vision and behavioral health care to patients – with a particular focus on serving underserved people and helping them overcome barriers that they face to health care.
“We have the mission of making health care accessible to all people – no matter their income level, ethnic background or life situation,” Vander Waal said. “We desire to care for the whole person, whether it be their physical condition or mental wellbeing. In doing so, we can help build a healthier community overall.”
The cost of the 30- and 60-mile rides is $25 per rider for those who register by the early-bird deadline of Monday, May 23. The cost will increase to $30 after that date. The cost for the 6-mile Fun Ride will be $10 per rider through May 19 and $15 after that date.
Promise Community Health Center, headquartered in Sioux Center, is the only Federally Qualified Health Center in the far northwest corner of Iowa. Promise provides medical, prenatal, dental, vision and behavioral health services. To learn more, visit www.promisechc.org.
Bicyclists can register online for the Wellness on Wheels (WOW6) at www.allsportcentral.com. Or, they can fill out and return a paper registration form. Forms are available at Promise Community Health Center, 338 First Ave. NW, Sioux Center, Iowa, and at various locations in the community. A form also can be accessed online on Promise’s homepage at www.promisechc.org or by clicking this link.
FOR MORE INFO:
Call Promise Community Health Center at 712-722-1700.
Promise Community Health Center will put on WOW6 with the help of these generous sponsors: American State Bank, Sioux Center Health, Northwest Bank, Peoples Bank, Primebank, Dordt College, First State Bank, Hull Pharmacy, Iowa State Bank, Isakson Chiropractic Health, Lewis Family Drug, Mane Attraction, Proactive Physical Therapy & Sports Rehab, Robin’s School of Dance & Fitness, Sioux Center Chiropractic Wellness Clinic and Vander Kooi Freight. The following businesses are donating prizes, materials or services to the event: Brothers Bike Shop, Casey’s General Store, Fareway, Hy-Vee, Iowa Information, McDonald’s and Walmart. RIDER FEATURED: Read this feature story on Bert Van Batavia, a 72-year-old farmer who will be riding in the WOW6 Bicycle Ride.