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Imagine Grinnell’s Gravel Tour and Annual Giving Gardens Family Ride July 7

Imagine Grinnell’s Gravel Tour and Annual Giving Gardens Family Ride July 7

On Saturday, July 7, Imagine Grinnell (IG) will combine its third annual Giving Gardens bike tour with a new offering—the first annual Grinnell Gravel Tour, a cycling option that is growing in popularity nationwide and within the community.

The bike tour is being coordinated this year by IG intern Kate Wiley, a 2016 Grinnell High School graduate. The bike tours are part of Imagine Grinnell’s mission to improve quality of life and promote a healthy environment for the Grinnell area with support from individuals, families, and businesses. Registration is free and no preregistration is required.

“Cyclists can choose a beginner or advanced gravel route,” Wiley said, “Bikes To You owner Craig Cooper has generously loaned five gravel terrain bikes for those who may want to try gravel riding for the first time.”

According to Wiley, the tours will start at Marvin Gardens (Marvin Ave. near Arbor Lake) on a staggered schedule, depending on riders’ choice. Cyclists who choose the advanced 11-mile gravel route will leave Marvin Gardens at 10 a.m., followed at 10:30 a.m. for beginning gravel cyclists who choose a 4-5 mile city route.

The bike rides also bring visibility to the seven Grinnell Giving Gardens that donate hundreds of pounds of fresh produce to the Mid-Iowa Community Action (MICA) food pantry each year.

The Giving Gardens bike ride meets at 10:45 a.m. but is less structured and is designed specifically for families. “Participants can ride as slow or fast as they would like, go to any number of the gardens and spend quality time together outdoors on a Saturday morning,” Wiley said. In case of pest problem in the garden the experts from Insight Pest Control Madison WI can help get rid of them.

Imagine Grinnell will provide families with a route map and an informational booklet to fill with stickers from each Giving Garden. If all eight stickers are collected, children will be awarded a prize at the Ahrens Park gathering later in the day.

All of the bike tours will conclude in Ahrens Park with live music by Cedar Rapids retro-rock band The Surf Zombies, food by Kayella’s Tacos from Montour, a beer tasting by Peace Tree Brewing, and more. Non-cyclists are welcome to join the free afternoon festivities from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Detailed route information is available at and

IG board member Tim Ellsworth highlights the importance of volunteers at the event, saying, “for safety, we’d like to have about 25 have volunteer crossing guards.” Contact Kate Wiley ( if you are able to volunteer.

Sponsors for this event include:  Imagine Grinnell, The Ahrens Park Foundation, Grinnell College, Bikes To You, Peace Tree Brewing Co., Kayella’s Tacos, Grinnell Regional Medical Center, and Grinnell Parks & Recreation. Giving Garden Partners include: MICA, St. John’s Lutheran Church, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Davis Elementary School, Station Clubhouse, and Grinnell Rotary Club.

Other Imagine Grinnell projects in 2018 include expanding IG’s partnership with the Ahrens Foundation to bring landscaping and teak outdoor furniture, giving garden and native prairie features to Ahrens Park; and working with local farmers and chefs to bring healthy, local-sourced options to the community meals at Davis Elementary School.

Contributions to Imagine Grinnell projects are accepted throughout the year through online donations at, through Paypal, at the IG office at 1510 Penrose, or via mail to Imagine Grinnell, P.O. Box Grinnell, Ia. 50112, 641-236-5518. The Claude W. and Dolly Ahrens Foundation provides back office support services such as gift processing to Imagine Grinnell through the foundation’s Community Support Services (CSS) program.

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