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Pedaler’s Jamboree brings biking, music to Iowa trails

Seven years ago, Iowa City native Mike Denehy launched Pedaler’s Jamboree, a 60-mile bike ride in Missouri, from Columbia to Boonville, interspersed with concerts.

Pedaler’s Jamboree grew from 400 riders in 2008 to 2,500 this year. This weekend Denehy’s bringing the event to his home state with an 89 mile ride along the Raccoon River Valley Trail.

“I spent many years doing RAGBRAI with friends, trying to recruit RAGBRAI riders to come down,” Denehy said. “It occurred to me that maybe it would be a fun idea to bring the ride to them and try something on Iowa trails.

It’s a casual two days of riding, with stops every half hour or so to catch bands in each new town. Saturday night culminates in Jefferson, with a music festival and camping. On Sunday riders will wake up and make the return to Waukee, stopping for music along the way, culminating in two after parties.

Denehy mixed in bands from the Missouri Pedlar’s Jamboree like Molly Gene, Acoustic Anonymous, Decadent and Flood Brothers with familiar Iowa acts like The High Crest, Mr. Baber’s Neighbors, Mighty Shady and others.

Saturday night’s festival features the formerly Iowa-based Euforquestra, along with instrumental innovator That 1 Guy, gypsy punk band Dirtfood and Flood Brothers.

“I did a lot of research and worked with a lot of people in the Des Moines music scene,” Denehy said of his selections. “I wanted to explore a large variety of acts and spent a lot of time listening to find the right mix.”

Saturday night’s festival in Jefferson is open to music fans who didn’t make the ride, with the purchase of a $20 ticket.

“I’ve heard such great stories about the Raccoon River Valley Trail and it seems like the heart of cycling is in the Des Moines area right now,” Denehy said. “This just seemed like a perfect fit.

Here’s the music schedule:


Dallas Center: Ira Grace & the Bible Belt Prophets (8 a.m.), The High Crest (9:30 a.m.)

Minburn: Jean Marie Salem Project (9 a.m.), Chad Elliott (10:30 a.m.)

Perry: Ryne Doughty (10 a.m.), Hillary Scott (noon)

Dawson: Mr. Baber’s Neighbors (11:30 a.m.), Acousic Anonymous (1 p.m.)

Cooper: Molly Gene One Whoaman Band (2 p.m.), Decadent Nation (3:30 p.m.)

Jefferson: Dirtfoot (7 p.m.), That 1 Guy (8:15 p.m.), Euforquestra (9:45 p.m.), Flood Brothers (11:15 p.m.)


Cooper The High Crest (8 a.m.)

Yale: The Soul Searchers (9 a.m.)

Panora: Violet and the Undercurrents (10 a.m.), Dan Tedesco (11:45 a.m.)

Linden: Mighty Shady (11:30 a.m.), The Tarakis (1 p.m.)

Redfield The Candy Makers (1 p.m.), SP3 (2:30 p.m.)

Adel: Jeff Banks Band (3 p.m.)

Waukee: After party with Dustin Baird (3 p.m.) at Mickey’s Irish Pub and Saint’s Pub, 87 N.E. Carefree Lane, Waukee.

Pedaler’s Jamboree Iowa

When: Saturday and Sunday, check-in and registration 7-9 a.m. Saturday.

Where: Starts and ends in Waukee, check-in Saturday at Mickey’s Irish Pub, 50 SE Laurel, Waukee or Memorial Park, 602 Ninth St., Dallas Center.

Cost: $60 for the ride or $20 for a non-rider ticket to Saturday’s Jefferson Music Festival