Wheels are turning in a local shop

A local bike shop has helped hundreds of bikers this week.

Matthew Gerstandt, owner of Black Tire Bike Shop, 117 W. Main St., said the shop has been busy tuning up bikes and selling last minute essentials for locals that will ride in RAGBRAI next week.

“This is traditionally one of our busiest foot traffic weeks of the year,” Gerstandt said. “It’s a lot of last minute things like new shorts, tune-ups, jerseys, helmets, all that stuff.”

Gerstandt said there are about 300 people in Marshalltown who will ride.

“Cycling has had quite the growth this year,” Gerstandt said. “We’ve seen a lot more new, fresh faces for RAGBRAI doing longer distance rides.”

Dana Bresler, coordinator for the Iowa Valley Bicycle Club RAGBRAI group, said this year the club will include 110 riders, two charter buses and a 55-inch semi truck that will carry riders and bikes and a rental truck that will carry gear from campsite to campsite throughout the ride.

“We have people from all over the United States, from Massachusetts, Texas and even England and Australia that go with us,” Bresler said. “A third of our group is new to us.”

Bresler said everyone who participants in RAGBRAI does the same thing to prepare for it.

“They need to get in shape, ride their bike enough so they can travel 60 to 80 miles a day maximum,” Bresler said. “They have to get their bike ready.”

For last minute needs, Black Tire Bike Shop has started its summer sale and bike computers, jerseys and bags will be on the sale, Gerstandt said. The sale will run through next Monday.

Terry and Kathy Briggs, of Marshalltown, are members of the Iowa Valley Bicycle Club who will participate in the ride.

“We are excited,” Terry said. “I started doing this since I retired and we haven’t missed a year since then. It’s a very, very, enjoyable week. You see Iowa as you will not see it when you are driving a car. You meet the people, you get to see the small towns and the real beauty of Iowa.”

Tom Kurth, coordinator for the Iowa Valley Bicycle Club RAGBRAI group, said he calls himself a RAGBRAI veteran because he has done it 29 times.

“I’m addicted to it,” Kurth said. “It’s an addiction. I’m the one who went the longest in the club. It’s exciting each year.”

The Iowa Valley Bicycle Club will leave Marshalltown Saturday morning to the start in Rock Valley.

The riders will stop in Rock Valley, Okoboji, Emmetsburg, Forest City, Mason City, Waverly, Independence and Guttenburg.