The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

July 23, 2013

Couple biking RAGBRAI for a good cause

WEM board member may bike in a Speedo as part of benefit

WATERVILLE — Tom Little takes his position on the Waterville-Elysian-Morristown School Board very seriously.

So seriously, in fact, that he drove all the way home from Iowa — where he and his wife are biking across the state with thousands of others in the Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa — to make the Monday night board meeting. He'll be out of town for the August meeting, Little explained, so he couldn't abandon his fellow board members twice.

“That's a significant part of it, and also I have some work stuff,” said Little, who has served on the School Board for about 10 years. “I just didn't want to miss this month's meeting and next month's.”

Little's five-hour drive home came after biking 55 miles on the first day of RAGBRAI — a seven-day ride in its 41st year, making it the oldest and longest multi-day bicycle tour in the U.S.

Little's wife, Crista Bohlmann, on the other hand, was very much “in it” Monday, as the kids say. She was in the midst of her first “century,” which in the biking world means riding 100 miles in one day. That's quite a feat, Little said, especially considering the terrain, and also the fact that the couple don't have a lot of hard-core bike rides on their resumes.

“Everybody thinks Iowa is flat, but it's far from flat in parts of the state,” said Little, who owns a screen-printing shop called One Little Shirt Shop.

The couple, who are members of the regional cover band The Blue Ringers, are a part of a 12-person team riding in RAGBRAI for a charity organization called ChildVoice. The nonprofit aims to restore the voices of children who have been silenced by war, Little said.

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