Recently having spent exactly 3 years in DesMoines, Iowa, there might be a bit of confusion around our experience. So I thought I would take a moment to reflect on the whirlwind. Des Moines, Iowa is pretty freakin' cool. I might be a little bias because I was born there, but since this was my first experience living there as an adult, this thriving metropolis shined new for this California Durkee trio.
Sure there is no doubt that we experienced quite a culture shock but here are some of the highlights that have made our lives richer:
1. The Bike culture in Iowa is thriving. Coming from the highly competitive Bay Area, we were in awe at just how quickly we were embraced and surrounded by super friendly cyclists with way too many social engagements filling the calendar. For being a booming city of professionals they sure do know how to punch out when the work day is over and party. From Taco Tuesday rides with hundreds of people
pedaling 15 miles out of town to drink and eat Tacopacalypse at the Cummings Tap , to Night Cap (the late night USAC worthy cross race held at Mullets: a favorite watering hole downtown), to the World's Biggest organized Bike Ride (RAGBRAI), there is never a lack of social pedaling and drinking. This makes for one Giant inclusive cycling community.
2. So many people whose lives have been changed by the bicycle. This is such a cool thing. From people losing half their body weight to former addicts clean and giving back in a positive way, there is always an inspiring story being shared. Maybe it is how they were inspired to start riding a bike, or maybe it is just the genuine "nice"ness of the people but nobody hides their skeletons. The people like to get real, and it is contagious.
3. Aunt Wendy. On the way to the Cummings Tap there is this hole in the wall called Orlando's always swarming with cyclists. Behind the bar is my aunt Wendy. Next time you see her there, tell her I said Hello! I promise it will be worth it!
4. Singletrack in Downtown! While there may only be a couple hundred feet of climbing, there are awesome trails right in town. The energy is supportive,
collaborative, and the bike riders take great pride in caring for the urban nature. I truly enjoyed hosting the kids Moutain Bike Monday's on these trails.
5. Riding in the snow. I could have added this to #4 but it deserves it's own space as it was like discovering a whole new cycling discipline. Not only was it awesome fun, it kept my winter spirits up during some endless cold months. It also helped me keep my skills sharp too.
I have many other things that I learned on our journey to Iowa and back but these top 5 made our time in Iowa a blast. Thanks DesMoines peeps for including the Durkee's in all of your fun. Look us up on the West Coast if you want ride!