Cyclists seeing sights in Ringsted, Bancroft

The annual bicyclist ride across Iowa, RAGBRAI, will be making its way through the area towns of Ringsted and Bancroft on Tuesday.

This will the third time both towns have been on the RAGBRAI trail, with previous pass-throughs in 1996 and 2005 for Ringsted, and 1982 and 1996 for Bancroft.

“Danish food and local entertainment,” Barb Christensen said of what the focus will be for riders through Ringsted. “Glenn Henriksen and Galaxy will be performing in the park and HeartSong will be at the United Lutheran Church.”

The churches in town will have several classic Danish foods, while the fire station will have pancakes.

“We’re planning for several thousand people for food venues,” she said. “We’re hoping it won’t rain.”

There will also be a tractor line-up at the State Co-Op, and look for people dressed in native Danish gear.

“It’s a small town hosting a large ride,” Christensen said.

In Bancroft, the most noted figure there is the original Mr. Pork Chop, Paul Bernhard. Bernhard became Mr. Pork Chop during Bancroft’s first ride-through in 1982, and became a regular fixture on the RAGBRAI trail. Bernhard has since retired, and his son Matt has taken over the telltale Mr. Pork Chop pink bus. A meet and greet site for photos, along with the pork chop bus, is set up along with several other food sites, music, games and beer gardens.

“Bancroft is the perfect halfway spot, and the riders will be ready to let loose,” Matt Bernhard said when this year’s RAGBRAI route was announced.

The RAGBRAI tour begins Sunday in Rock Valley, with overnight stops in Okoboji, Emmetsburg, Forest City, Mason City, Waverly, Independence, and concluding on July 26 in Guttenberg.