Knoxville — As I sit here Thursday afternoon, July 25, the first thing that comes to mind in regard to the Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI®) is that there is a core group of people who deserve a very loud, strong and ongoing applause.
I don't see how the event in Knoxville could have been planned any better. Of course, there were things that could have run more smoothly, but who is going to think of every last detail or possible situation?
There was the issue with the 81 portable johns in front of the Fox. I'm hoping to get answers about that. Even though her shop appeared to be the downtown bathroom, I can't say enough good things about the positive attitude Carol Martinez demonstrated with that.
My reaction would not have been similar. Carol, as I've known for years, is just a very nice person who cares about Knoxville and its success. I don't think she's a doormat by any means, but it's been my experience that she's a better, calmer person than I.
Notwithstanding that, I thought everything ran very well. I didn't like seeing local businesses, such as Hometown Meats, blocked by bicycle vendors. However, I understand that, much like the johns, these vendors had to go somewhere.
In regard to the riders themselves, I struck up conversations with several. I enjoyed each of these conversations.
I'm not exaggerating by any means. EVERY ONE of them who took the time to chat was as pleasant as can be. Not only were they friendly and polite, but all of them said Iowans (including Knoxville residents) were the nicest people they could remember encountering.
Part of the reason I'm giving RAGBRAI organizers such kudos is because I did not hear a single complaint about the event's structure. In fact, it was just the opposite. As I noted on our Facebook page, one woman said Knoxville was the most organized town of the ride up to this point.