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As RAGBRAI rolls through Iowa on its 50th anniversary, pick up these books for stories from the Register's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa, learn a little more about the history of the towns and food that make the ride so special, and read tales from about bike lovers around the world.

Scroll through the list below and click the titles to put the books on hold in our catalog today. Book descriptions are excerpted from the catalog or the publisher.


"RAGBRAI: America's Favorite Bicycle Ride" by Greg Borzo

Launched as a lark in 1973, RAGBRAI has developed into the world's largest, longest and oldest bicycle touring event. Thousands of cyclists from all fifty states and dozens of countries ride across Iowa for a week-long festival. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of hospitable Iowans welcome, feed and shelter this rolling carnival, showcasing their communities. Greg Bozo has gathered hundreds of stories that reveal the essence of this unique event. He has also gathered a lavish collection of photographs and cartoons, vintage and contemporary, most never published before, that illustrate RAGBRAI's kaleidoscopic character.

"Rumble Yell: Discovering America's Biggest Bike Ride" by Brian David Bruns

The rollicking, true story of two men rekindling an old friendship after twenty years. Foolishly, they choose to reconnect over a hometown tradition that just happens to be the world's biggest bike ride, RAGBRAI. Five hundred miles of biking during the hottest week of the year – humidity 100%, bugs 1000% – seemed like the ideal way to 'get to know you' again. Their plans are waylaid by a last-minute addition: an outrageous, mysterious sailor named Cheek. His presence is not only intrusive, but utterly disastrous.

"The World at 10 MPH: A Masterful Prenup Leads to a 3-year 33,523-mile Bicycle Adventure" by Ward and Jacky Budweg

When Ward and Jacky Budweg decided to get married, Jacky put together a prenuptial agreement on a bar napkin – and included a unique stipulation. For better or worse, Ward agreed to a 3-year bike trip around the world. As the two embarked on a journey spanning 1,106 days and 6 continents, they had unforgettable moments, such as almost being blown off a mountain, getting chased by baboons, getting kicked out of hotels by Chinese police, dancing to accordion music at a Lithuanian farmhouse, and playing cricket in Slovenia.

"Bicycle Diaries" by David Byrne

Since the early 1980s, renowned musician and visual artist David Byrne has been riding a bike as his principal means of transportation in New York City. Two decades ago, he discovered folding bikes and started taking them with him when traveling around the world. Byrne's choice was initially made out of convenience rather than political motivation, but the more cities he saw from his bicycle, the more he became hooked on this mode of transport and the sense of liberation, exhilaration, and connection it provided. This point of view, from his bike seat, became his panoramic window on urban life, a magical way of opening one's eyes to the inner workings and rhythms of a city's geography and population. Bicycle Diaries chronicles Byrne's observations and insights – what he is seeing, whom he is meeting, what he is thinking about – as he pedals through and engages with some of the world's major cities.

"Eat, Sleep, Ride: How I Braved Bears, Badlands, and Big Breakfasts in My Quest to Cycle" by Paul Howard

Running from Banff in Canada to the Mexican border, the Tour Divide is more than 2,700 miles—500 miles longer than the Tour de France. Its route along the Continental Divide goes through the heart of the Rocky Mountains and involves more than 200,000 feet of ascent—the equivalent of climbing Mount Everest seven times.The other problem is that Howard has never owned a mountain bike – and how will training on the South Downs in southern England prepare him for sleeping rough in the Rockies?

"RAGBRAI: Everyone Pronounces it Wrong" by John Karras

The book, by one of RAGBRAI's founders, Des Moines Register reporter John Karras, deals with the first 25 years of the famous bike ride. It describes the genesis of an event that has drawn hundreds of thousands of people to Iowa from all over the world and attempts to explain the ride's continued charm and appeal. RAGBRAI is different from all other bicycle tours. The others, and there are dozens of cross-state rides held in the United States, attract mostly serious, dedicated cyclists who clench their teeth and ride hard all day. RAGBRAI has its share of these cyclists, but it's more inclusive. It is a huge, week-long celebration with dancing in the streets and evening entertainments. It is a love affair between bicycle riders and the people of Iowa.

"Culinary History of Iowa: Sweet Corn, Pork Tenderloins, Maid Rites and More" by Darcy Dougherty Maulsby

Iowa's delectable cuisine is quintessentially Midwestern, grounded in its rich farming heritage and spiced with diverse ethnic influences. Classics like fresh sweet corn and breaded pork tenderloins are found on menus and in home kitchens across the state. At the world-famous Iowa State Fair, a dizzying array of food on a stick commands a nationwide cult following. From Maid-Rites to the moveable feast known as RAGBRAI, discover the remarkable stories behind Iowa originals.

"It's All About the Bike: The Pursuit of Happiness on Two Wheels" by Rob Penn

The story of a journey to design and build a dream bike. En route, Robert explores the culture, science and history of the bicycle. From Stoke in his native UK, where an artisan hand builds his frame, to California, home of the mountain bike, where Robert tracks down the perfect wheels, via Portland, Milan, and back to the UK to Coventry (birthplace of the modern bicycle), this is the narrative of our love affair with cycling. A cheerful and charming tour guide, Penn tells how the bicycle has changed the course of human history, from the invention of the "people's nag" to the bike's role in the emancipation of women, and from the engineering marvel of the tangent-spoked wheel to the enduring allure of the Tour de France.

"Iowa Bike Towns" by Eugene H. Schlaman

Place name origins, historical facts, and stories associated with some of the towns along the routes of Iowa's annual bicycle ride, RAGBRAI.

"Hell on Two Wheels: An Astonishing Story of Suffering, Triumph, and the Most Extreme Endurance Race in the World" by Amy Snyder

Profiles the Race Across America, the extreme bike race. Traces the stories of participants before, during, and after the controversial 2009 competition. Offers first-hand insight into the challenges that have resulted in numerous defeats, injuries, and deaths.