9-year-old cyclist plans to cross Iowa for charity

Alex Dailey, 9, is in training to cycle across Iowa this month with his father, Tim Dailey.

Nine-year-old Alex Dailey is gearing up to ride for seven days across the U.S. state of Iowa to raise money for three local charities.

The Cayman Prep and High School student will travel to Iowa this month with his bright red racing bike in tow for the Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa (known as RAGBRAI), sponsored by the Des Moines Register newspaper since 1973. He will be joined by his father, Tim Dailey, and another rider from Cayman, yoga teacher Sarah Burton, as well as thousands of other cyclists from all over the world.

The ride averages 468 miles – the exact route changes annually – and begins along Iowa’s western border on the Missouri River and ends along its eastern border on the Mississippi River.

Alex said he is a bit scared by the thought of riding so many miles, but is excited about participating in the ride, where cyclists cover an average of 67 miles a day.

“[My dad] told me about it and then I thought it might be a good idea … because it’s something to do in the summer and I’m not going to be bored,” Alex said.

Family friends in Indiana who do the ride annually, convinced Mr. Dailey to give it a shot. Mr. Dailey, noting his son’s love for cycling, floated the idea to Alex a few months ago. Since then, the two have been going out on lots of long rides at the weekends.

Mr. Dailey said Alex will be able to take breaks along the Iowa ride and sit out certain legs of the route if needed – their friends will have a support vehicle following along. But he thinks his son can “do the distance,” noting that Alex did the PAWS on Wheels ride this month, completing the full 21-mile loop, and the excitement of the Iowa ride is sure to keep him interested.

“In between each of these towns, farmers will set up roadside stands … apparently, one year a farmer put a slip and slide in his field and everyone just got off their bike and went to the slip and slide,” Mr. Dailey said.

Alex said he is excited to ride with such a large crowd and to potentially be the youngest rider among them. He also said it’s fun to be helping local charities.

He and his father have decided to ride for three local charities, raising money for Cayman HospiceCare, the Cayman Islands Cancer Society and One Dog at a Time.

“Our goal is $3,000,” Alex said.

Mr. Dailey said Alex and his twin sister Sarah have been taught that “there’s more than just getting things for yourself” and that they can turn activities they love doing into opportunities to give back to others.

“I am hoping that not only will we raise money for the charities, but also that Alex will learn a valuable lesson that even personal activities can be used to raise money to support others in need,” Mr. Dailey wrote on a GoFundMe page set up to raise money for the charities.

For more information on Alex’s fundraising efforts, visit “RAGBRAI Ride for Cayman Causes” at www.gofundme.com, call Tim Dailey at 916-8005 or email him at [email protected]