A Trailside Den Meeting on the Raccoon River Valley Trail

This past weekend I had the opportunity to lead a den meeting for a local group of Webelos.

Gathering at the Waukee trailhead for the Raccoon River Valley Trail we began the meeting discussing where we like to ride our bikes.  Most of the boys listed their neighborhood or a route to school.  I was impressed to learn how most had ridden some longer distances.  One of them had recently ridden 10 miles.  

Using the Iron Giant for demonstration we reviewed bike maintenance requirements for earning the Handyman badge:

  • Adjusting a chain
  • Fixing a flat tire
  • Adjusting the seat and handlebars
  • Inflating the tires
  • Lubricating the chain

Before heading out on our group ride we discusses staying safe on a bike.  In order to achieve their Readyman badge the Boy Scouts of America requires Scouts to be familiar with the following:

  • Always wear a helmet
  • Obey all traffic and local laws
  • Drive with traffic
  • Watch out for terrain hazards
  • Watch out for cars
  • Don’t carry passengers
  • Never hitch a ride
  • Be extra careful at intersections
  • Use hand signals
  • Drive a safe bike
  • Drive “defensively”



Setting off on the Raccoon River Valley Trail we headed towards Dallas Center, with the trailside memorial as our destination.  Once we arrived, the Scouts learned about the work that went into developing the rest stop and also some of the trail’s history.  They were surprised to learn it was once a railroad and how years ago train accident took place not too far down the trail.  

It’s encouraging to see how the Boy Scouts of America are doing their part to grow and educate a young cycling community.  I really enjoyed sharing this learning experience with these young men and especially seeing their enthusiasm for biking.  

A big thank you to the Des Moines Bicycle Collective for the bike safety pamphlets and magnets the boys got to take home.  

Happy Riding!