The MinBRRn, a new, cold-weather bicycle ride from Waukee to Minburn, took place for the first time last Saturday and gave riders a chance to ride along the Raccoon River Valley Trail, have some drinks, hear some live music and raise money for the Raccoon River Valley Trail-High Trestle Trail connector project.
The MinBRRn is a 24-mile, round-trip bike ride from Mickey’s Irish Pub in Waukee to The Nineteen14 in Minburn, and back.
“We were trying to figure out something to do as a fundraiser for the connector trail and that’s what it came out of,” said Jeremy Mahler, the owner of the Nineteen14 and the organizer of the ride. “That and, you know, just a little stimulus for us in the middle of winter.
“The bike trail, that’s what feeds us during the summer, so when we don’t get that in the winter, it’s nice to have a little something going on. Get a little bit more recognition, get people in the mood to get on their bicycles.”
It was snowy and icy enough the night before and cold enough the morning of that the event organizers even pushed the registration time back an hour from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. at Mickey’s. Some cyclists who registered opted not to ride and instead drove themselves up to Minburn, but there were many who braved the cold and hit the trail for the ride.
Despite the below-freezing temperatures forecasted for Saturday morning, Mahler said that there were still pre-registrations coming in on Friday night.
“Those people obviously knew what they were getting into,” Mahler said. “And I’m sure that if we had a weekend like last weekend, that our numbers would have been inflated, but that’s the chance you take with a cold-weather ride and I’m sure that some of the people probably signed up because it was cold. More of a challenge or a sense of accomplishment.”
One couple that registered just the day before was Stephen and Dana Brown and Dana mentioned that they saw the cold weather as a challenge.
“We’ve been thinking about doing it, but we knew it wasn’t going to be warm and we went for it,” Dana said. “So here we are.”
The main reason that they wanted to participate in the ride was to support the trail system.
“The trail system is so incredible and I think it’s such a great benefit for not only Dallas County, but Polk County as well,” Stephen said. “It helps in all aspects from just enjoyment, for businesses, exercise. It impacts everything, all areas.”
Dana said that she is originally from Adel and has been using the trail system her whole life.
They also said that they like to support the businesses that are near or on the trail like Mickey’s and the Nineteen14 and said that they like the atmosphere at the bars and restaurants that are along the trail.
One group of people that registered and went out for the festivities, despite not getting out on the trail with their bikes consisted of Shelley Lande, Robin Volz and Shannon Rollins. They said that they had registered about three weeks before the event and didn’t know that the weather would be the way it was on the day of the event.
“We were going to go no matter matter what, we talked about it at that time, but the ice stopped us,” Lande said while at the Nineteen14.
They also wanted to be able to pick up their registration packets and support the cause.
“We like the bike trails,” Rollings said. “We’re frequent fliers when it’s nice out.”
Mickey’s was open at 9 a.m. for customers and registrations. With a registration time of 10 a.m. and no official start time for people to start riding, that gave people a lot of time to hang out at Mickey’s before heading out to the trail or driving their cars up to Minburn.
Andy Walsh, one of the owners of Mickey’s said that bike riders “notoriously start late” and it seemed that those riding in the MinBRRn were no different. Having experience with bike rides, Walsh had some pretty good guesses as to why so many people hung around at Mickey’s for a while after registration.
“Warming up, probably,” Walsh said. “Waiting for the sun to come out a little bit and get a couple Bloody Marys in them. It’s a fun ride, so it’s not like they’re in a big hurry anywhere.”
It’s pretty unusual for Walsh to open up the bar at 9 a.m. like he did for the MinBRRn on Saturday.
“I texted Jeremy, usually I’m either on an airplane going somewhere fun or it’s Saint Patty’s Day when I’m out of bed this early,” Walsh said. “Because I’m usually running the bar at night.”
Mahler said that they had 75 pre-registered riders for the event on Saturday.
“Not bad for a first-year ride on a day like today,” Mahler said.
With the amount of riders that registered for the event this year, Mahler said that it is something they plan on doing next year and into the future.
“This is definitely going to be an every-year thing for us,” Mahler said.