Friday, July 17, 2015

Flamingos!! Get a Mudball in Mt. Vernon to Help Monarch Butterflies Flourish!!

RAGBRAI isn't just about riding your bike.  Watch this video to see how we RAGBRAI riders will have the opportunity to disperse these mudballs around the state to help grow the milkweed that can feed Monarch butterflies. 

These mudballs contain milkweed seed and fertilizer so that when they are thrown into gulleys and natural settings, they will germinate and begin to grow milkweed throughout the state.  Monarch butterflies will be drawn to these new food sources and hopefully return to Iowa in great numbers.


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

BREAKING NEWS!!!! Locations Announced for Beekman's Home Made Ice Cream Stops on RAGBRAI

This just in of immense importance from Amanda "Audrey HepBird" McFadden:

Beekman's Ice Cream
These are the approximate locations of Beekman's Home Made Ice Cream throughout the week of RAGBRAI.

Day 1- On C63 – after Quimby before M21
Day 2- On P41, just before Hwy 7 after river
Day 3- On D41 after Buckeye
Day 4- On C67 after New Hartford
Day 5- On E24 after Vinton, before W26
Day 6- On Hwy 1, west of Solon
Day 7- After Wilton on F58, before Durant

Which one will YOU visit?  Respond on the comments below.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Mike Knapp's Music Players Have Gotten More Sophisiticated . . .

 I was looking for music recommendations for RAGBRAI when I found an interesting article from 2013 where a reporter interviewed Big Bird about his music and ended up with a whole geneological tree of his music players.

This video shows some of an interview with Laird Big Bird, but CLICK HERE if you want to read the whole interview.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Salsa Ride Replaces Jonesy Ride on June 20

Please note that the "Salsa Ride" is replacing the Joensey ride for next Saturday, June 20th.

Here are the details:

8 am  Ride Starts:  Meet at the Evansdale trail head.  Ride starts shortly after 8 am, so please be prompt.  Ride follows the paved bike trail to Gilbertville, LaPorte and on to McFalane Park bridge and back (approximately 35 miles round trip).

10 am: LaPorte City/jFestival of Trails celebration with breakfast option.  Go to for more info on the events taking place there.

10:30 am Return to Evansdale trail head.

Noon -  1 pm: For those interested in Salsa, live music and/or art in the park, we can reconvene at The Hill in Cedar Falls and have lunch at the College Hill Arts Festival:

1 - 3 pm:  Enjoy salsa music  provided by Iowa's best and only salsa band - La Orquesta de Jazz y Salsa Alto Miaz!  Free salsa dance lessons by Salsa Bird (aka Heather Flory).

RSVP to Heather, as she  will be the leader for Saturday's ride and events, at

Have fun everyone.  I'll be stuck in a training on Administration of Medication in a Child Care Setting from 8:30 to 2:30 that day.

Bid Bird.

Sunday, July 27, 2014


I am always amazed by the variety of people who ride RAGBRAI.  I found a Register posting about Who is Riding RAGBRAI in 2014. 

Here are some of the specifics:
62% are Men and 38% are Women
Majority of riders are between 50-59 years old

Riders' Ages
Under 19       4.5%
20 - 29          7.6%
30 - 39         10.3%
40 - 49         14.8%
50 - 59         25.3%
60 - 69         14.3%
70 - 79           2.9%
Over 80          0.2%      

It would interesting to know the professions of the RAGBRAI riders.  Maybe next year.

Did you have a good ride in 2014?


Friday, July 11, 2014

It's All about Your Bottom, Flamingos

You might think that all those training miles that you are logging are about building your legs.  Not true.

Yes, you are building muscles that will help push you across the Iowan landscape but those are not the important part of your body that is being developed. 

The important part is your butt.

Coach David Ertl wrote about the importance of building your butt on the RAGBRAI blog (6/24/14)   I will highlight some of the main points here but you will get the most out of this if you actually read his post, RAGBRAI Training: Let's Get to the Bottom of the Issue.

While you may have legs of steel, you aren't going to make it to the finish line if your butt can't stay in the seat. (I must admit that there is a RAGBRAI-er who rides the whole route without a seat, but I wouldn't recommend it.)  You need to prepare for the 40 - 100 miles per day sitting in your saddle. 

Here are a few problems that might emerge if you don't train your butt properly:

  • Your butt will hurt - You will feel "soreness under your seat bones."
  • Your legs chaff - Rubbing between your seat and legs can cause some real discomfort.
  • You develop saddle sores - Sincere problems are caused by saddle sores. They can be serious enough to end your RAGBRAI ride.
How to Avoid The Problems:

  • Wear cycling shorts - These are padded and created without thickened seams the can rub. They are made of material that absorbs perspiration and cushions your derriere from chaffing and saddle sores.
  • Do not wear underwear under your shorts - Lycra shorts are designed to be worn by themselves. You can get baggy shorts if you are too shy to wear these.
  • Bring at least 2 pairs of shorts - There is a lot of sweat in those shorts so they need to be washed.  You don't want to wear wet shorts.  Give them a day to dry.
  • Ride a lot in preparation.
  • Begin with shorter rides and build up to distance.
  • Ride year around and your toughened butt remains tough.
Avoid Chaffing:
Begin each day by applying a thin layer of chamois cream on your groin.  There are a number of commercial names; Chamois Butt'r, Eurostyle butter, Ride EZ Chamois Cream, and DZNUTS are some good ones to use. 

Keep It Clean:
Keep your groin area as clean and dry as possible. Saddle sore is caused by infections that are caused by bacteria in your skin. Bacteria love dirty and damp. Remember to wash your shorts every day.  Even if you don't have access to a washing machine, you can hand wash them with hand soap if you don't have any laundry soap. 

Take care of yourself.  REMEMBER: Even with all of your preparation and the steps you take to prevent problems, it is OK for you to finish your daily ride by yelling 
"My Butt Hurts!!!!"   Let's just hope that it isn't any worse than that.


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Big Bird Tells Us How to Pack for RAGBRAI

Laird Big Bird has provided some ideas about how to pack for RAGBRAI.
Just a little over 1 week left.

What to Bring
See attachment for a list of things recommended to bring on RAGBRAI.  Use this for your packing check list and you won't be sorry.

Camping/Overnight Needs

You will need to bring:
  • a tent (make sure all the stakes are there)
  • sleeping bag or bedding/pillow
  • air mattress/pump or camp cot
  • flash light
  • camp chair (if support vehicles have enough room to carry along)
I will be bringing shade awnings for when we have to camp, and the flamingoloo in case we're not close to a KYBO.  We will also have standing air pumps along to keep your bike tires up.  We will have coolers along for chilling beverages or keeping yogurt, fruit, etc. chilled during the week.

Packing Tips
For those of you new to RAGBRAI here are a couple of packing tips that might prove useful.
  • Pack each day's set of clothing in a zip lock bag.  This helps keep everything safe and dry.  It also makespacking a little easier especially mid-week when the sleep deprivation and fatigue starts to set in and your brain functioning moves into slow motion.
  • Line your duffel bag with a plastic trash bag.  This offers additional protection against your clothing getting wet in case we encounter rain during the week.
  • Remember to pack sandals or shower shoes that can be worn in the showers at the public schools, etc., 
  • Shower gels are easier and less messy to carry then bar soaps
  • Camping towels (like large shammies) work fine and take up less space.
  • Camping toilet paper rolls are a great investment.  They are easy to carry for back up when you find yourself in a KYBO with no TP, or for emergency dashes into the corn fields.
  • Breathe rights are great to help control snoring (Leigh) during the night.
Packing List
Due to popular demand, Laird Big Bird shared a suggested list of items that are recommended for your RAGBRAI trip. You may have other items that you want to take, but please keep in mind that space is at a premium.  Try to limit your gear (excluding tent/sleeping bag/mattress pad/cot, etc.) to a medium size duffel and a carry on.
On the Bike:
___   Bike (computer, trunk bag, etc.)
___   Helmet
___   RAGBRAI rider's tag/packet
___   Spare tubes (2)
___   Tire iron/tire changing kit
___   Sunscreen
___   Chap stick
___   Handiwipes travel pack
___   Hand disinfectant
___   Credit card/cash (don’t count on working ATM’s in rural Iowa)
___   iPod/MP3 player/ear buds/bike sound system
___   Cell phone
___   iPod/Cell phone charger
___   Sun glasses

___   More money
___   Sunburn cream or spray/mole skin, band aids
___   Camera if phone doesn’t have one.
___   Roll of camping TP or mini-Kleenex packs (for dashes into the corn fields)
___   Pink feather boas/flamingo adornments and accessories

___   Sun visor or ball cap
___   Cycling jerseys (2)
___   Cycling shorts (2)  (keep separate from Al’s)
___   Socks (7 pairs – wear 1 pair after ride/on ride next day).  Adjust if you wear sandals at night and/or sandals to ride in.
___   Bike shoes or sandals, or shoes with hard sole.
___   Shorts for evening wear (if you can find travel shorts with liners you can eliminate undies)
___   Undies (you be the judge of number needed)
___   T-shirts (one for each night/ each day you ride if don’t have jersey)
___   Hoodie, sweat shirt or windbreaker in case temps dip
___   Pair of long pants in case temps dip (optional)
___   Sweat band or bandana

In Camp/Overnight:
___   Sleeping bag/bed roll/cot/bedding (whatever you plan to sleep on)
___   Tent (in case we have to camp or housing breaksdown)
___   Shower shoes or flips
___   Toiletry kit
___   Pocket flashlight
___   Pocket knife
___   Ink pen, post card stamps, mailing labels

___   Muscle rub (i.e., Perform or Biofreeze)
___   Towel

See you in 15 days.

Mike "Big Bird" Knapp

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Let's Join the BACooN RIDE: the RIDE for the CURED!!!!

It's Only 72 miles but full of BACON!!!!

Saturday, June 28 from 7 AM to 7 PM

You will be biking 72 miles while crunching on bacon treats along the way. The Bacoon Ride will go through 14 cities.  It will begin in Waukee and end in Waukee so you won't need to worry about where to park your car.

Here's the Route:
  • Waukee
  • Ortonville
  • Adel (6)
  • Redfield (10)
  • Linden (6)
  • Panora (6)
  • Yale (6)
  • Herndon (5)
  • Jamaica (2)
  • Dawson (5)
  • Perry (6)
  • Minburn (7)
  • Dallas Center (6)
  • Waukee (6)

It will cost $45 for early bird registrations but this is what you get for your money:
  • Numerous BACON stops featuring BACON snacks and samples throughout the day
    (BACON donuts, BACON cheeseburger sliders, BACON tacos! – Details to come!)
  • BACON-themed lunch
  • A commemorative PassPORK (punch card for your BACON treats!)
  • Awesome drink specials at numerous BACON party stops (including BACON themed drinks)
  • Custom BACooN RIDE Steel Pint (used for drink specials through the day)
  • Commemorative BACooN RIDE t-shirt
  • Ride support with mechanics in towns


Monday, February 03, 2014

Flamingo Update - 3/3/14

Hail Flamingos

RAGBRAI Registration.
Ute Brandenburg and daughter Charlotte are returning for the week's ride.  Pat Morrissey and new team member Mike Bachman will be on for four days.  Welcome Mike.  They join Mica Lorenz, Bev Shaffer, Leigh Zeitz, Al Hays, Frank Magsamen, Krisite Austin, Bill, Moria and Katherine Brown as registered RAGBRAI'ers on Team Flamingo.

Those talking about going but not registered yet include Jodi Plopan, Chris Distelrath, Juanita Williams (and her friend and Team Flamingo member Julie from Seattle), Roger and Cindy Hahn, and Deb Shoopman.

How about the rest of you?  Sound off if you're thinking about going for the week or for just days but have made up your mind yet. 

Housing Update
We have leads on housing in Waverly, and Emmetsburg. We have partial housing for the team confirmed for Mason City, so we'll need to keep looking there.  We have confirmed housing commitment for the whole team in Independence.   We are still looking for leads in Rock Valley, Okoboji, and Forest City.

I thought about getting out on a training ride today, but thought better of it as I wouldn't be home in time to watch the Super Bowl.

Big Bird

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Here is a graphic of the route for those of you who are Right-minded.

It is quite northernly.  Mason City (28,000) is the only town/city that has over 10,000 people. Looks like week full of fun.

This Iowa map is from the  interactive maps that have been created so far.  It only cites the main cities because the intervening routes and towns have not been identified yet.

Now if only the snow and cold would leave so that we can hit the roads again. 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Update Notes from Laird Big Bird

2014 RAGBRAI Route Party
Unless you're comatose in an ICU unit somewhere you probably know the 2014 RAGBRAI Route was announced last night.  Kudos to the 14 Flamingos who braved the cold and blizzard warnings to make it to our local announcement party.  

Special shout out to Bonnie Alger who skyped in from Abu Dhabi, to Katherine Brown who skyped in from Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam (formerly Saigon), and to Jodi Plopan and Chris Distelrath who phoned in from the Michigan contingent.

RAGBRAI Registration - March 26th Fee deadline for Team Flamingo
Ok, so now you know the route, and and easy one it is this year.  Now there's no excuse not to get registered.  Go to website, pull down the registration link from the menu bar, click on the returning rider link, enter your name and password and fill out the online registration form once you are at the Flamingo team roster.  Register online and send your registration fees to me by Wednesday, March 26th if you plan to ride with Team Flamingo this year.  Hurry up, Z-Bird has already paid so you are WAY behind.

We have leads on housing in Mason City, Independence and Waverly.  Looking for contacts in Rock Valley, Okoboji, Emmetsburg,and Forest City.  Start working your connections for housing leads.

Training Calendar
Working on the training calendar now.  NOTE:  You can subscribe to the Team Flamingo calendar by clicking on the calendar button in the lower right corner of the calendar to the right -------->
It will automatically add it to your Google calendar so that you can access it from your phone, tablet or computer.  Nifty, eh?

RAGBRAI XLII Route is Announced

YES!!!!  It's going to be a northern route this year.  They are even riding through Waverly.  That means that we can sleep in our own beds if we want to do that.

Our ride will happen on July 20-26 this year. Overnight stops announced Saturday night include, from west to east:  (This will be updated when the specifics are released)
    So this year's route goes like this:
    • Saturday:  Rock Valley   
    • Sunday: Okoboji -- 69 mile day 
    • Monday: Emmetsburg -- 41 mile day 
    • Tuesday: Forest City -- 73 mile day plus Century Loop
    • Wednesday:  Mason City -- 36 mile day
    • Thursday:  Waverly  -- 63 mile day
    • Friday: Independence -- 68 mile day
    • Saturday: Guttenberg  68 mile day
      This will be a total of 418 miles with 11,316 feet of climb.

      RAGBRAI 2014: Small towns, big ride (Des Moines Registrar)

      Saturday, December 14, 2013

      Fwd: RAGBRAI update

      Welcome Al Hays!  The latest Flamingo to commit and register for next summer's RAGBRAI!

      Guess the Route
      Anybody going to enter the "guess the route" contest?  What would your picks for overnights and distances be this year?

      Bike Tech Auction Item
      For those of you thinking about attending Grin and Grow's February auction dinner fundraiser -- one of this year's auction items is a package that includes a $500 gift certificate from Bike Tech.  Just a heads up. If you want to be put on the invitation list let me know.

      New Bike Shop in Waterloo
      Team member Pat Morrissey's son-in-law is opening a bike shop this coming summer.  It will be in downtown Waterloo in the Kisner Building adjacent to the Plaid Peacock (across street from the River Loop Market and the new Sports Complex).

      Summer training ride to B&B
      Who would be interested in biking to Fredericksburg (48 miles on Saturday, 48 miles back on Sunday) and  renting out the B & B for the night again.  Probably to happen in June or July.  If there's enough interest I'll start negotiating with them.  If you're interested let me know which weekends will not work for you.



      Leigh E. Zeitz, Ph.D. 
      Associate Professor
      Coordinator - Instructional Technology Division
      Department of Curriculum and Instruction, College of Education
      University of Northern Iowa
      1227 W. 27th St
      Cedar Falls, Iowa 50614-0606

      Skpe: leighzeitz
      Twitter: @zeitz

      Wednesday, December 11, 2013

      Fwd: RAGBRAI update

      Ho! Ho! Ho! Team Flamingo!

      RAGBRAI registration

      Z-Bird has raised the bar for the team this year.  Going from the last member to get his registration fees to me for last year's RAGBRAI, he's the first one to be registered and submitted his registration fees to me for this year!  Way to go Z-Bird!

      Those also registered for the coming summer are Frank Magsamen, Stephanie Whitmer and all the way from the Peoples Republic of China for her third attempt to complete an entire RAGBRAI -- Katherine Brown --- who is pondering the significance of RAGBRAI "42" in the cosmology of life.

      Another Flamingo in the News

      Jodi is attempting to shift blame for her pattern of late arrivals to the overnight towns by blaming the media.  Watch this clip and you'll see Jodi betting on a chicken pooping.  Ok - I'll buy this excuse for one night's late arrival Jodi, but how many times can a chicken cross the road to poop on your numbers?

      Route Announcement Party - Saturday, January 25
      Looking for a host for this year's route announcement party.  Step up if you're willing to host the team.

      Also those of you out of state or country wanting to attend electronically -- let me know, and we can work on skyping you in to be a talking head on a laptop screen.

      Nuff for tonight - got a busy weekend of Santa gigs starting tomorrow so better get my beauty sleep.

      Mike "Big Bird" (aka Santa) Knapp

      Leigh E. Zeitz, Ph.D. 
      Associate Professor
      Coordinator - Instructional Technology Division
      Department of Curriculum and Instruction, College of Education
      University of Northern Iowa
      1227 W. 27th St
      Cedar Falls, Iowa 50614-0606

      Skpe: leighzeitz
      Twitter: @zeitz

      Friday, August 30, 2013

      RAGBRAI: 8 Days of Pride

      We are happy to report that the video, RAGBRAI: 8 Days of Pride, is now online. This is the video that is playing continually at the RAGBRAI exhibit in the State Historical Museum of Iowa.

      You will see that Big Bird, Salsa Bird and a number of other members in our flock are intereviewed.

      Enjoy and please respond in the comments section.

      What do you think? Z-Bird