Annual bike race attracts 1,500 riders



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Cyclist ride in a line during the Ride Across Indiana event put on by the Bloomington Bicycle Club. The club rode on U.S. Route 40 to make their way across the state. Courtesy of Klaus Rothe and Courtesy of Klaus Rothe Buy Photos

On Saturday, more than 1,500 cyclists rode across the state of Indiana.

The Ride Across Indiana is the biggest event put on by the Bloomington Bicycle Club, an organization dedicated to uniting cyclists in Bloomington.

“It’s the icon ride of Indiana,” Jimmy Schweb, a representative of the club, said. “It’s a ride to brag about the next week at the office water cooler, if you know what I mean. People can’t believe that you can do 160 miles in one day.”

That disbelief is enhanced by the fact the ride takes place in July, the hottest month of the year, on the hot pavement of U.S. Route 40. This year, riders were faced with heat and humidity but were also gifted with significant cloud coverage.

“One year, I rode through every single kind of weather except snow during this ride,” Schweb said. “That means hail, sleet, sun and rain. You just never know with Indiana.”

Though the ride is organized by a Bloomington organization, the riders do not actually pass through Bloomington on their way from St. Mary of the Wood’s College, on the west side of Indiana, to Earlham College, on the east side of the state.

It costs $60 for riders to register for the event, which pays for their shirt and the snacks provided along the route.

The leftover funds are then donated by the organization to various nonprofits in the Bloomington area.

Schweb said they typically are able to fund $20,000 in grants, which they distribute throughout the year to groups making a difference in the cycling community.

Though many different types of riders participate in RAIN, Schweb said the event isn’t for the faint of heart and recommends that only experienced cyclists sign up.

“It’s definitely not a ride just to do in the moment; it requires training,” Schweb said.

Schweb also emphasized that RAIN is not a race, but a timed bike ride.

Bikers are encouraged to view it as a ride where they are working together with other riders, instead of competing against them.

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