by Derrick Vander Waal SIOUX CENTER, IOWA – If you’re gearing up for The Des Moines Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride (RAGBRAI) starting in Orange City this year, here’s a perfect training opportunity to help you get ready.
Bicyclists have four routes ranging from 6 to 60 miles in the beautiful countryside of Sioux County, Iowa, to choose from for the seventh annual Wellness on Wheels Bicycle Ride (WOW7). This year’s event is planned for Saturday, June 3. Register by the early-bird deadline of May 24 for a discounted rate.
Riders will have their choice of three paved routes ranging from 6 to 60 miles and a 30-mile gravel route for WOW7. 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 love participating in WOW every year,” said Derrick Vander Waal, public relations officer for Promise. “We have many riders who come back year after year to take part. They enjoy riding out on the open road together and swapping bicycling stories. We also get many new riders every year for this growing event.”
All four rides will start again this year at Children’s Park in Sioux Center:
Participants in the 2016 Wellness on Wheels Bicycle Ride take a break and get refreshments at a welcome station in Hawarden, Iowa, before getting back on their bikes to complete their 60-mile trek. Three paved routes and one gravel route is planned for WOW7, which will be held on Saturday, June 3.
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 a half hour earlier this year at 6:30 a.m. and will feature a slightly different route.
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.
A 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 before returning to Sioux Center. 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.
Four routes are being offered for the seventh annual Wellness on Wheels Bicycle Ride (WOW7) on June 3.
The 60-mile route has been adjusted slightly this year, but it will still include the favorite features from past years. Nate Nykamp – an avid bicyclist, owner of Brothers Bicycle Shop in Sioux Center and WOW committee member who spearheaded the design of the routes – says bicyclists will enjoy it again.
“The route features some of the most beautiful and quiet roads that Sioux County has to offer,” he said. “High points include riding along the Big Sioux River and the lovely rolling hills of western Sioux County. Bring your climbing legs and be ready for a couple of screaming downhills.”
Riders also will enjoy the 30-mile route again.
“The shorter ride to Ireton is a good way for newer riders to get a feel for event riding,” Nykamp said. “Plus, it’s just a fun combination of roads to be on.”
He noted that gravel riding is becoming more popular all the time, so people might want to try out the 30-mile gravel route.
The seventh annual Wellness on Wheels Bicycle Ride (WOW7) will start at Children’s Park in Sioux Center. The event, which is part of Sioux Center Summer Celebration, will include a meal, prizes and T-shirt.
“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 new country, I really enjoy riding without having to constantly worry about car traffic. It’s simply a more peaceful ride.”
If 30 or 60 miles are too much for the leisure bicyclist or a family with small children, they might want to ride the 6-mile trail 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. This year, that ride will be offered for free.
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 will be conducted. A complimentary moisture-wicking T-shirt will be given to riders participating in the 30- and 60-mile rides. Participants who register by the early-bird deadline of Wednesday, May 24, will be guaranteed a T-shirt in their size.
A 6-mile trail ride will be offered for free as part of WOW7 on Saturday, June 3.
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/eye 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 Wednesday, May 24. The cost will increase to $35 after that date. The 6-mile trail ride is free.
Promise Community Health Center of Sioux Center is the only Federally Qualified Health Center serving the far northwest corner of Iowa. Promise provides medical, prenatal, dental, vision and behavioral health services. To learn more, visit www.promisechc.org and watch this video.
Promise Community Health Center will put on WOW7 with the help of these generous sponsors: American State Bank, Northwest Bank, Peoples Bank, Primebank, Dordt College, First State Bank, Iowa State Bank, Isakson Chiropractic Health, Lewis Family Drug, Mane Attraction, Proactive Physical Therapy & Sports Rehab, Robin’s School of Dance & Fitness and Sioux Center Chiropractic Wellness Clinic. The following businesses are donating prizes, materials or services to the event: Brothers Bicycle Shop, Casey’s General Store, Fareway, Hy-Vee, McDonald’s and Walmart.