The Brewery Loop
This route was scouted by: Dan McKay, Another Dam Bike Club
Length: 30 miles (optional 8-mile loop into Pella)
Surface: Paved Roads and Trails
Parking and Restrooms: Peace Tree Brewery, 107 W. Main St.
To prepare for RAGBRAI, members of Knoxville’s Another Dam Bike Club regularly ride this 35-miler to Lake Red Rock, Iowa’s largest body of water. If you own binoculars, check out the year-round population of bald eagles nesting at the lake.
Head east out of town on Main Street, then take T15 and follow the road to the dam. (For an 8-mile add-on, follow the trail into Pella.) The return trip to Knoxville includes an inviting canopy of trees shading the hard-surface Volksweg Trail. Along Hwy 92, cyclists use a welcome paved shoulder. After the ride, refuel at Knoxville’s Peace Tree Brewery with a barley pop or root beer. Local restaurants and Peace Tree have a sweet small-town deal: Order food off any of eight restaurant menus, each of which delivers promptly to the brewery. Two favorites: Swamp Fox Blue Cheese burger and waffle fries with a Rye Porter. Or Deng’s Garden Szechwan Chicken with rice, dumplings and a Blonde Fatale.
Dan McKay, who has completed 36 RAGBRAIs, thinks a great bike ride always includes a piece of apple pie. Dan, a life-long Knoxville native and a founder of Another Dam Bike Club, knows the local roads like the back of his hand. He’s president of McKay Insurance Agency in Knoxville, a group that writes insurance for RAGBRAI and many bike rides and races across the U.S. Dan is also vice president of Peace Tree Brewing in downtown Knoxville.