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RAGBRAI Houseman

Ashley Houseman, Clive, is on her second RAGBRAI accompanied by her father, Mark. Ashley, 20, who has Spina Bifida rides an arm powered trike and is part of the Adaptive Sports team. 

MASON CITY | The RAGBRAI riders with Adaptive Sports Iowa began arriving at 10 a.m. Wednesday for an overnight stay at Good Shepherd Health Center.

The riders, numbering about 60, who have physical disabilities, rode hand cycles, tandems and upright bicycles adapted especially for them. They stayed overnight in the climate-controlled facility and used the showers.

"It's been going good," said Ashley Houseman, 20, of Clive, of the bike ride. "Today was the best day yet."

Ashley, who has spina bifida, was riding with her father, Mark Houseman. Her mother, Lura, rode in a support vehicle.

Lura Houseman said Mason City was the most welcoming town they had encountered so far, "hands down."

"You have things going on everywhere," Mark Houseman said.

After making stops in Ventura and Clear Lake, the Housemans arrived in Mason City at about noon and ate lunch in Central Park.

Watching his daughter ride across the state on a bicycle "is just incredible," Mark Houseman said. "It brings tears to your eyes."

People along the route cheered her along the way, Ashley said.

"They keep me going when I want to quit."

Other Adaptive Sports Iowa riders, Michael Hatfield, 33, of Des Moines and Nicholas Bassett, 22, of Boone, were on their third RAGBRAI.

"It's fun to be just another one of the bikers," said Bassett, who has severe scoliosis. "When you're on the road you meet so many people from all walks of life. We get a lot of praise when we're out on the bikes."

Hatfield, who has post-polio, said this year's ride has been fairly easy with relatively flat land to cover.

They were looking forward to the Bret Michaels concert Wednesday night.

Mike Boone, director of Adaptive Sports Iowa, said the organization provides opportunities for people with disabilities to participate in a range of sporting activities.

Their clients come from a 10-state area.

This is the fourth RAGBRAI that ASI has participated in, said Boone. 

"We want to make RAGBRAI accessible."

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