SIOUX CITY, Iowa — Many of Frank Brinkerhoff’s best memories, involved a bicycle.
“He loved cycling. He had a passion for it. If he wasn’t on his bike, he was in the driveway fixing up bikes,” says Linda Brinkerhoff.
RAGBRAI riders from near and far knew Frank, and even if they only knew him a short while, they say they almost felt like they’d known him forever.
“I just felt like I had a home in Sioux City, Iowa of all places, and I came back this year just to be here for the RAGBRAI last year, just to honor Frank,” says Kenneth McDonald, a RAGBRAI rider from Glenwood Springs, Colorado.
But tragedy struck on July 23rd of 2014 Frank died in his tent while on RAGBRAI.
“When you go on RAGBRAI year after year, you always hear about things like that happening but you never,ever think it’s going to be someone that you know, let alone your family,” says Brikerhoff’s step-daughter Richelle Burr.
“He was able to go doing what he loved,” adds Dick Billings, the President of Siouxland Cyclists.
“One time we were talking and he said ‘I just hope I die in my tent on RAGBRAI,’ so, you know, that was his wish,” remembers Frank’s widow Linda.
Friends and family say it was both exciting and sad to hear RAGBRAI would kick-off in Sioux City.
Frank wasn’t there at the announcement party in January so that was bitter-sweet when that was announced,” says Billings.
“The last time it was in Sioux City, Frank of course was on all the committees and he would drag us along to go to all the Ride Right things,” adds Burr.
So as the Siouxland Cyclists prepare to take off from Sioux City Sunday morning, they say they’ll be riding in memory of Frank. And while his family says this time is hard, being so close to something Frank loved is a comfort.
“Seeing all the bikes and all the people. Everybody’s happy and doing all these things and Frank should be there and he’s not. Right now Frank would be packing and going out for a last ride maybe but, none of that’s happening at my house,” Linda says.
While family and friends say they know Frank will be there will them spiritually, he will also be there with them physically. His family and teammates plans to scatter some of his ashes while on RAGBRAI this year.
(courtesy KCAU, Sioux City)