Fairfield Ledger
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Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 1, 2014

Forty RAGBRAIs for Fairfield resident Terry Klein

By STACI ANN WILSON WRIGHT | Jul 18, 2013
Photo by: STACI ANN WILSON WRIGHT Next week, Terry Klein will participate in RAGBRAI for the 40th time. He has biked across Iowa every year since 1974. He missed the first RAGBRAI in 1973 because he did not have vacation time built up. He said he plans to continue riding as long as he is able.

When Terry Klein leaves Council Bluffs on his bike next Sunday, it will mark the start of his 40th trip across Iowa on two wheels.

While he wasn’t able to participate in the very first RAGBRAI because he didn’t have any vacation time, Klein has biked in every other RAGBRAI since 1974.

“This will be 40,” he said, good-naturedly adding, “If I make it.”

For Klein, RAGBRAI is about reuniting with old friends and making new ones. Klein was among nine friends who first formed a bike club during RAGBRAI IV.

“The club actually started out as a friendship group and the way it’s grown is a friendship thing,” he said. “You bring a friend in, your friend brings a friend in. That’s how it goes.”

Thirty-six years later, the club is the second oldest bike team participating in RAGBRAI. The charter group of just nine bicyclists has burgeoned; Klein estimates he’ll host between 60 and 80 riders when RAGBRAI rolls into Fairfield July 26.

“I think it’s great RAGBRAI is coming through Fairfield,” he said. “The town gets to show itself off, and I get to host my bike club.“

As a founding father of the club, Klein has carefully kept a family tree for the team, recording every rookie who rides and who brought them into the club.

“Over the years, we’ve had about 400 different faces ride with us,” he said.

Fellowship aside, Klein said he appreciates the opportunity to see the Iowa countryside and small Iowa towns RAGBRAI affords him.

“You wouldn’t see a lot of these small towns otherwise, especially with the interstate system we have now. Everyone is going from point A to point B as fast as he can,” he said. “In the meantime, a lot of these towns are starting to dry up.”

When asked if he has a favorite RAGBRAI memory, Klein laughed and said the years and towns have run together in his mind.

“It’s a blur. You can’t really sort it out. When I’m riding, by afternoon, I won’t remember what town I went through in the morning and that has nothing to do with age,” he said, chuckling.

Age hasn’t hindered him in any way so far, Klein said. While he “tries to get in a few rides on the weekends,” he doesn’t formally train for the event and he doesn’t participate in other rides during the year.

“I don’t train much. I always tell everybody by the end of the second day of RAGBRAI, I’ve doubled my training,” Klein said.

When asked how long he plans to continue riding in RAGBRAI, Klein said he plans to participate “indefinitely.”

“As long as I can, I’ll continue,” he said. “This will be 40 so heck, 50’s not far away.”

 

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