Three Tickets to Paradise
This route was scouted by: Forrest Ridgway, Bike World and Dr. Bob support team
Length: 30 miles (Van Meter cutoff), 44 miles (Raccoon River Valley Trail cutoff), 65 miles (complete loop)
Surface: Paved Roads and Trails
Parking and Restrooms: 60th and Ashworth Rd, West Des Moines
To the late Des Moines surgeon and UltraCycling Hall of Fame inductee Dr. Bob Breedlove, any day on the bike in central Iowa was “another day in paradise.” Find your own bliss on the routes “out west” in Dallas County where Dr. Bob and friends trained for transcontinental bike rides. Each loop is as beautiful a hill ride as you’ll find. Choose a distance that meets your schedule. A favorite is the section with Panther Creek on P58. Bonus points to the loops that connect to the Raccoon River Valley Trail, a popular rail-to-trail conversion.
Side trips: The Bob Feller Museum is less than two miles off the route in Van Meter. It’s worth the trip to check in on the remarkable Cleveland Indian Hall-of-Famer who pitched his first Major League game before graduating from high school right down the road. Nearby, the tenderloin sandwiches at Fat Randy’s Bar & Grill frequently rate in the Top 5 in state competition.
In Adel, classic brick streets ring the 1902 Dallas County Courthouse, on the National Register of Historic Places. Brick and clay industries are still part of the local story, as is the Sweet Corn Festival the second weekend in August.
Forrest Ridgway, owner of Bike World in West Des Moines, Urbandale, and Ames, has been riding these Out West loops for nearly 40 years. “These routes are the mainstay for rides and riders heading west from the metro area. The roads offer scenic views of some of central Iowa’s beautiful timberland as the ride weaves across the Racoon River multiple times. The Out West loops also offer some great hill training for the cyclist looking for a fun workout that is an alternative to the great trail systems of central Iowa.”