Bicyclists will race through downtown FD for second Rock N’ Rail 1850

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Alijah Beatty, 18, of Washington, takes a practice run on her bicycle prior to the pro category race during the inaugural Rock N’ Rail 1850 exhibition bike race in downtown Fort Dodge.

Bicyclists from around the country will be racing through historic downtown Fort Dodge on Saturday for the second annual Rock N’ Rail 1850.

“Expect to see speed, expect to see color and teams working together to help their team members win the race,” Meg Beshey, the race organizer, said in a written statement. “It’s a new experience for downtown Fort Dodge and is already being looked upon as a site for designated categories, as well as being added to the Iowa Memorial Cup Series (Iowa City, Des Moines and Ames currently are the cities involved) in 2019.”

The races, which are sanctioned by USA Cycling and sponsored by Ames Velo, will begin at 11 a.m. with the junior division, which is ages 9 to 18. The women’s 12/3 and 4/5 categories, men and women masters, kiddie race by Strider Bikes, International for little riders ages 3-5 and 6-8 will follow.

The little riders must register at the race with a bike and helmet. Each will receive a number and medal.

The men’s category 4/5 and men’s pro category 1/2/3 will cap off the day.

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Bicyclists from around the country will be racing through historic downtown Fort Dodge on Saturday for the second annual Rock N’ Rail 1850. The first event, shown here, was held in October 2017.

The race official is Larry Howe of USA Cycling. The judges are Lisa R. Jordan-Burnham, of Altoona, and Bruce Pesch, of Des Moines.

Dave Mable, of Des Moines, will be the announcer.

The races are free for public viewing. Visitors are asked to sit in lawn chairs on sidewalks on either side of the race course.

“Bring noise-makers, cow bells and whistles,” Beshey said. “Bikers love when people make noise, so we are really encouraging that.”

Free sunscreen will be available to the public through an Iowa Cancer Consortium grant.

“As a melanoma patient this was a neat thing to provide to the public at this event for everyone to use and create sun awareness,” Beshey said.

An adventure zone will be offered for kids to enjoy along Seventh Street.

“This is a simple obstacle course that young kids can try their bikes out on before the kiddie race,” Beshey said. “Strider Bikes International strives to encourage bike safety, proper stance with bikes and learning how to have fun on a bike.”

Beshey said MC’s Bouncy House will be there. There is a $2 charge for the bouncy house.

Rock N’ Rail 1850 was created from conversations with other bike racers that like to compete statewide and nationally, according to Beshey.

The Rock is a nod to Fort Dodge’s gypsum mines, the Rail is, well, the railroad, and 1850 is the year the Fort Dodge military post was founded.

Beshey said the course was developed by local bike enthusiasts, Travis Jass and Jason Quinn, members of the Ames Velo racing team in Ames.

The course will start on Central Avenue near 10th Street and loop back around.

“It’s basically a long rectangle,” Beshey said.

The race zone area will be closed off to traffic from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Only those with an event car pass will be allowed inside the race zone areas.

All intersections involved along the course will have volunteers guiding the crowd across the street as needed as well as to detour traffic. Volunteers from the Dodger Cyclists and other local volunteers, The Lawn Chair Army, will be at intersections to control traffic and guide spectators across streets.

During the races, when a red flag is raised it means a bike rider is coming down the course and to stay up on the sidewalks until all the racers pass by. They will be making multiple laps on the course route,so it is imperative that the crowd respects the volunteers who monitor the passing areas so that each race can be held for everyone’s enjoyment and protection.

Anywhere from 125 to 200 riders are anticipated to register, Beshey said.

“Our goal is to not only put on this bike race, but to help promote our downtown” Beshey said. “We have a beautiful downtown and the course was designed by bikers. The bikers are excited to come here. They want to be here. They want to race and have a good time.”

Bike participants in the races can register online with USA Cycling before Thursday or they can register on site at the registration table.

Cost is $20 online or $25 the day of the race.

Winners in the categories will be able to win cash prizes, a trophy made by local artist, Tony Ron for first, second and third place winners. Juniors can win a trophy, cash, and prizes from The Candy Store/Trophies Unlimited in downtown Fort Dodge. First place winners will receive a custom designed jersey made by Veloce Speedwear of Florida.

The race is being sponsored by the city of Fort Dodge, Self Supported Municipal Independent District, Main Street Fort Dodge, The Bike Shop, Fort Dodge Oral Surgery, Fort Dodge Convention and Visitors Bureau, Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Dodger Cyclists, Guthrie Realty and Associates, ShinyTop Brewing, Northwest Bank, Shimkat Motor Co., and RoJohn Home Improvement.

For further information visit Rock N’ Rail 1850’s Facebook page at

Streets to be closed

The following downtown streets will be blocked off from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday

Central Avenue from 10th Street to Fourth Street

Fourth Street from Central Avenue to First Avenue North, adjoining north intersections closed

10th Street at First Avenue North

All of 10th Street from First Avenue North to Central Avenue

South 10th Street at Central Avenue

South Ninth Street at Central Avenue

South Eighth Street at Central Avenue

South Seventh Street at Central Avenue

South Sixth Street at Central Avenue

Alleyway by Daniel Tire

South Fifth Street at Central Avenue

South Fourth Street at Central Avenue

Rock N’ Rail 1850

Where: Downtown Fort Dodge

When: Saturday

Time: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Cost to attend: Free (bouncy house costs $2)

z The public may sit on sidewalks on either side of race course in lawn chairs. Nothing on the street. Cross only where volunteers are located.

Bike participants in the races can register online with USA Cycling before July 12 at or they can register on site at the registration table. Cost is $20 online or $25 the day of the race.