Iowa City RadTour heads out Sunday, Sept. 10 for 43 miles of culinary delight

Iowa City Rad Tour

convenes at New Pioneer Co-Op — Sunday, Sept. 10 at 9 a.m.

Iowa City RadTour 2016. — photo by Liz Caldwell

This year’s Iowa City RadTour, formerly known as the Iowa City Culinary Ride, will welcome riders Sunday, Sept. 10 for a 43-mile ride around area farms, featuring local chefs cooking even-more-local produce. RadTour promotes the local-food movement and celebrates the fun and exhilaration of bicycling with community-oriented, convivial and adventurous bicycle tours of small farms. Each featured farm hosts a chef serving local food tastings, allowing riders to relax, snack and tour farm grounds to refuel for their next leg of cycling.

The ride begins in Iowa City, at New Pioneer Co-Op, and will traverse small towns to the northeast of Iowa City. Registration and breakfast begin at 9 a.m.; the Co-Op and Wake Up Iowa Coffee will provide breakfast and coffee, and representatives from Geoff’s Bike & Ski will be on site for final lube jobs and bike checks. Riders should expect to roll out at around 10 a.m.

Because most rural farms are located on gravel roads, the route includes about 12 miles of gravel. The friendly and supportive RadTour community emphasizes that, while the ride isn’t super easy, it’s friendly and inclusive; RadTour founder and organizer Audrey Wiedemeier can usually be found bringing up the rear of the crowd with her dog in a bike trailer, riding alongside co-organizer Kris Estergaard, and it’s clear from their pace and their manner that this is by no means a race. Think of it as a leisurely yet somewhat challenging Sunday ride, shared by friends you may not know yet and punctuated by delicious food and utterly beautiful vistas.

This year’s route travels from Iowa City through Morse and Solon. The route’s first stop, 100-acre Buck Creek Hops Farm in Solon, is the largest hops farm in Iowa, where farmers produce 13 varieties of hops. Chef Brittni Leupold, of the recently re-opened and expanded Kalona Creamery, will be the featured chef at Buck Creek. After relaxing with a mid-morning snack, riders will head north to Sundog Farm, home of Local Harvest CSA, where they will be fed by ride regulars Dan Knowles and Morgan Weiss from Devotay. The last stop is Becky’s Mindful Kitchen, where owner Becky Schmooke will feed riders while they enjoy mocktails from Harvest Oil & Vinegar. Feel free to pack a flask in your bike bag if you’d like to spike your mocktail; it’s regular practice on these rides, and no one will look at you funny if you have a six pack in your trunk bag.

The after party will be at Big Grove Iowa City, where riders will snack on local small plates prepared by chef Ben Smart and enjoy a complimentary pint of beer. At the after party, RadTour staff will screenprint whatever all-cotton garment riders provide with the annual ride’s logo; t-shirts are recommended, but if it’s big enough for the design and it’s made of cotton, they will print it, so use your imagination. It’s all just part of the fun, laid-back, familial vibe of RadTour.

Tickets for RadTour Iowa City are $40-65.

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