Biking and conservation converged for the second annual RAVE Ride on the Great Western Trail. Hosted by Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, Bike Month and both Polk and Warren County Conservation departments, this group ride provided cyclists with an opportunity to participate in a Random Act of Volunteering for Earth.
Having not participated in last year's ride, I was super excited. With my sister joining me I knew it was going to be a fun time!
The ride began at the Great Western Trailhead in Des Moines. We were given large blue bags to place collected litter in. Although I was wishing I had thought to put a pannier on the Iron Giant's rear rack, holding onto the bag didn't prove challenging as I pedaled down the trail.
We leisurely made our way toward Cumming stopping to pick up beer cans, water bottles, gel pack wrappers, inner tubes and even an old glove. Outside of Willow Creek Golf Course I found a golf ball. That however, made it's way into my handlebar bag.
At the rest area near Orillia we were greeted by folks from Polk County Conservation and Saving our Avian Resources (SOAR). We stopped to throw seed bombs into the nearby prairie area and to admire a rescued Great Horned Owl. It was beautiful and reminded me of Woodsy Owl's slogan "Give a Hoot! Don't Pollute!
Arriving at the Cumming Tap we were welcomes by folks from the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation. For our trash collecting efforts we were given a ticket for a free drink and a bag filled with awesome swag. Sam Auen from Tacopocalypse was there personally hand crafting free tacos. We sat out on the patio and savored our tasty freebies while watching the cycling crowd accumulate.
Cool temperatures, easy cycling, great conversations, tasty treats, and lending Mother Nature a helping hand all resulted in a fantastic evening out on the bike trail. The Great Western Trail from Des Moines to Cumming is now trash free. Let's keep it that way!