News>AF cyclists ride the world's longest bicycle tour
Capt. Rob Lounsbury and Maj. Jamie Cornett load bicycles and equipment into a trailer before driving to participate in the 40th Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, July 22-28. RAGBRAI is the oldest, largest and longest bicycle touring event in the world. The truck will carry equipment for the whole trip. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Stephenie Wade)
A group of four cyclists from Scott Air Force Base, Ill., prepare to participate in the 40th Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, July 22-28. RAGBRAI has been a tradition for U.S. Air Force members for 13 years. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Stephenie Wade)
by Staff Sgt. Stephenie Wade
375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
7/27/2012 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. (AFNS) -- A group of four cyclists from Scott Air Force Base left July 20, to participate in the 40th Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, July 22 to 28. RAGBRAI is the oldest, largest and longest bicycle touring event in the world and has been a tradition for U.S. Air Force members for 13 years now.
The group from Scott AFB consists of four cyclist and two support members who will carry equipment. The six members will meet up with the rest of the Air Force Cycling Team before the race. Although the Air Force does not officially sponsor the AFCT, it provides support transportation. The cyclists pay for most of the trip including registration fees, camping fees, jerseys, transportation to Iowa and food. Each year the route is different.
According to Capt. Rob Lounsbury, the base's AFCT lead, the Air Force has more than 40 riders participating in this year's annual event.
Lounsbury is a licensed category 4 road cyclist who has participated in three RAGBRAI events since 2008, and this will be his fourth year. He has more than 20 years of service and has been riding since 1995, beginning exclusively as a mountain biker and picking up road riding in 2007.
"We (Air Force participants) act as ambassadors for the Air Force," he said. "While riding, we hope to serve as positive role models to the public by telling our stories and assisting riders in any way possible during the adventure across Iowa, for example, as first responders and assisting with mechanical issues."
As military participants they will be the face of the Air Force for more than 10,000 RAGBRAI riders and spectators.
"This is not a race, rather, an adventure," said Maj. Jamie Cornett, first time RAGBRAI participant. "We will ride our bicycles for seven days, averaging 67 miles per day and leaving as many people possible with a positive impression of the Air Force. We will also be passing out free Air Force swag."
Even though the Air Force members participating are fit, they still take time to indulge along the way.
"The best part is the new people you will meet and the pie," said Lounsbury. "If you lose weight during this ride you are doing something wrong. Everywhere you go people are usually eating pie and good food. Because the route is different each year, many people look forward to watching us ride through their town in this once in a lifetime event,"
7/31/2012 12:23:36 PM ET Writers need to conduct research and be cautious before claiming something is the longest, oldest etc. RAGBRAI is 471 miles long according to its Web info. The Oklahome Freewheel tour is 485 miles long. Dave Duncan, a member of the Air Forcee Center for Engineering and the Environment, not only completed the June Freewheel tour but also rode his bike from San Antonio to Oklahoma to ride in the event amassing an impressive nearly 1000-mile ride total
Mike Briggs, Lackland AFB TX
7/31/2012 8:14:51 AM ET Who fact checked this Capt Lounsbury? This Rider has over 100 Riders Plus about 40 support Crew members. It is a much bigger deal than this story let on.