Proving Des Moines is NOT boring

It’s Bike Month. Get off your (couch) and ride!

Put your mettle to the pedal and ride! May is Bike Month. The bike enthusiasts at The Des Moines Bicycle Collective are up to their panniers in activities for you to choose from. This story could have more links than a bike chain, with all of the bike clubs, org’s and websites in the area.

Go to for a full scoop of The Collective, which organizes bicycle events for Central Iowa. I talked to Carl “don’t call ‘em BIKE trails” Voss, Collective board chair and spokes-person for this article. He’s an enthusiastic voice of everything bikes in Central Iowa. But then, bicyclists are generally in good shape, with enthusiastic energy to burn.

Bike Month Iowa Five years old, The Collective promotes bicycling as a means of active transportation, wellness and recreation in Central Iowa. Their motto is “Changing Greater Des Moines two wheels at a time.”

The Collective recently moved to the East Village, with close proximity to the trail system. It’s 3,500 square feet features a storefront with bikes for sale and a back room for bike repairs that will eventually boast 13 repair stations. This is akin to a “maker space” arrangement you may have seen in other cities. Brad Overholser is the shop manager.

They accept donor bikes and sell some bikes to make the rent, but the idea is to make bikes available to those who can’t afford them. You can purchase a membership or volunteer time.

“Re-cycling” is the name of the game: “There’s a lot of life left in some bikes people get rid of,” says Voss. Repair beats tossing: “A bike is one of the few things you own that you can actually repair.” They recycle everything possible off bikes, either for use on other bikes; as recycled materials, or for use in the shop. “We’re trying to NOT have the biggest dumpster in town!”

Seen the racks of bikes in downtown Des Moines? That’s Des Moines B-Cycle, a Collective bike share program, “because mom always said it’s nice to share.” Designed for trips of from one to three miles, Voss says it’s not renting; you can use a Des Moines B-cycle as many times as you’d like for free if your ride is under 60 minutes.

Collective members also operate the Free Valet Bike Parking program you may have seen or used at 80/35, Ingersoll Live and the Downtown Farmer’s Market.

Go to for recommended loops and tours in the area, like the popular Tuesday night on the Great Western Trail from Orlando’s on Park Avenue to the Cumming Tap. It’s a 16-mile loop — people might be loopy on the second half of the loop!

If you prefer walking – check out Des Moines Walking and Biking Tours.

Photographer Chris Maharry has started a project with the Collective of the faces of the Des Moines bicycle community. To nominate someone, send contact information and a few details about your nominee to

(I am not a one-trick pony; I do write about stuff other than bicycles. Then again, it didn’t hurt the careers of Karras or Kaul.)


Des Moines Bicycle Collective

506 East Sixth St.

Shop Hours:

Tuesday: 10am – 6pm

Wednesday: 10am – 8pm

Thursday: 10am – 6pm

Friday: 10am – 5pm

Open shop: 5pm – 8pm

Saturday: 10am – 3pm