Rural Man Prepares for Gravel Loop Riders Ahead of RAGBRAI

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POMEROY, Iowa — RAGBRAI isn’t just a big deal for dozens of Iowa towns, it also gives rural Iowa a chance to showcase what small-town living is all about.

Spend a day on the Rosenboom family farm outside Pomeroy, you’ll quickly appreciate the little things.

“We’ve got peacocks and chickens roaming all over,” John Rsenboom said.

One thing you wont see is a lot of traffic.

“No, not when you live on gravel roads,” Rosenboom said laughing.

That will all change on July 20th when thousands of bicyclist cruise by Rosenboom’s acreage.

“I was spraying beans a few weeks ago and saw the pre-riders came by and they stopped and talked to my dad for a little bit,” Rosenboom said.

Each year RAGBRAI give riders a chance to go off pavement, choosing an optional gravel loop.  This year’s selection is a portion of 170th St., which connects the towns of Pomeroy and Manson – right in front of Rosenboom’s farm.

“They’re figuring maybe 3,000-5,000 people coming through, so it will be kind of interesting.  You’ll never see this many bicyclists go by our house again, that’s for sure,” Rosenbom said.

To mark the occasion, Rosenboom’s wife picked up a paintbrush.

“Katie, my wife, decided to put the American flag on the garage and kind of celebrate the 4th of July and just have something for people to see.  We’re a 5th generation to farm this land.  We’re the 4th generation to live in the house here and I’m the second generation with a day job to support my habit to farm, I guess,” Rosenboom said.

For as long as his family has been farming, the Rosenbooms have been collecting vintage tractors.

“We’re all family farmers and we support our families and try and preserve the history of agriculture through collecting and restoring these pieces of equipment,” he said.

Ironically, the only John Deere inside the tractor shed is a bicycle from the 1970’s.  When riders cruise by for what will likely be the first and last time in front of Rosenboom’s farm, his family will make sure riders never forget it.

“We thought it’d be kind of fun to park that along the road to give a little taste of rural Iowa,” Rosenboom said.

Gravel loop riders are urged to use thick road tires, and make sure to bring spare tubes and an air pump.

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