Iowa City’s WOB rises to challenges of COVID-19, historic bicycling interest

wob cover

IOWA CITY — Here and there, silver linings exist during the COVID-19 crisis — and one of those is a burst in bicycling interest across the United States so strong it’s made worldwide news. For Iowa City’s World of Bikes, this phenomenon has meant historic sales levels, more workers who are asked to work less, and getting creative about keeping up with the never-ending demand while staying safe. WOB, for instance, created an outdoor sales kiosk and even now only lets customers inside under limited, controlled circumstances with new disinfection…

Read More

“Justice for Breonna Taylor” inspires events throughout Iowa, Illinois

120193872 161392078950721 2650868972475430049 n 1

Events are coming together quickly throughout Iowa and Illinois to honor the late Breonna Taylor, the Louisville victim of a police raid shooting earlier this year. Racial justice events are happening tonight in Decatur and Elgin, Ill; tomorrow (Saturday) in Belleville, Ill., and Davenport, Iowa; and next week in West Branch, Davenport and Cedar Rapids in Iowa. The events are organized by many of the social justice groups that have become more familiar since June, Advocates for Social Justice in Cedar Rapids and We FIGHT in Davenport. Online events about racial justice are growing almost daily, and you’ll find several highlighted in the…

Read More

Iowa City, Quad Cities, Capital City, Cedar Rapids amp up Pride plans

103415198 2408577232700560 1288283513656732601 o

Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, Iowa City and the Quad Cities have all expanded their Pride Month offerings, with more virtual fun, chances to join in from your home or yard, and special guests. Capital City Pride in Des Moines decided just a few weeks ago to cancel this year’s event, which had initially been delayed from June to July. Quickly, the group has come up with a new slate of events that includes parades and special guests the Iowa Phoenix women’s football team. Iowa City, Cedar Rapids and the Quad…

Read More

Personality Profile: U of Iowa’s Jenni Fitzgerald is ‘selfless’ teamwork embodied

u of i coaches

You may know Jenni Fitzgerald as the “special assistant” to legendary University of Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder, one of the familiar faces with Bluder on the coaching bench for decades. But did you know Fitzgerald was also one of Iowa’s first-ever 5-on-5 girls’ basketball stars? Or that she remains one of the state’s most heralded high school athletes? Or, that she knows as much about heartbreaking loss as she does about thrilling wins? In honor of Women’s History Month, here’s a collection of fascinating facts about a sports pioneer…

Read More

Cedar Rapids Roller Girls aim to support Tanager Place’s LGBTQ Center with Feb. 28 ball

81438146 3111463698887725 5450504701978083328 n

The team will donate a portion of its proceeds from its 2nd Annual Black & Blue Ball Feb. 28 to the center, which serves about 400 teens a year and aims to serve even more. CEDAR RAPIDS — Two years ago, the Cedar Rapids Roller Girls cancelled an entire season because they were so direly in need of rebuilding their team and organization. What a difference it made: today, the Roller Girls are back up to full-squad strength and have 25 regular participants. And, they’re hosting their second annual Black…

Read More

LGBTQ sports leagues thrive in Des Moines, Iowa City

dirty divas team

Two LGBTQ-identified sports leagues are increasing their presence in central and eastern Iowa, each in their own ways. In central Iowa, the Pride Sports League is seeking to grow this year beyond its outreach of about 900 recreational players in about a half-dozen sports annually, says board chair Tyler Pettit. The League is seeking to reach more deeply into Ames and the Cedar Valley area. The Iowa City-based Lambda Softball Association (LSA) aims to expand into eastern Iowa communities such as Fairfield, Washington, Cedar Rapids and the Quad Cities for…

Read More

Roller derby carves spaces for inclusive strength

ox roller derby 2

Why did women and gender-fluid people start up to 2,000 roller derby leagues worldwide? We needed it.  I’m writing today about roller derby as a cultural phenomenon, a feminist and “inclusive” place to find like-minded people, showcase our strength, and be aggressive. I have had personal struggles and triumphs over body image, a lack of self-confidence, and an angry fire inside of me due to years of oppression. I have been roller skating since I was 8, but never realized that roller derby existed until I saw the movie “Whip…

Read More

Support United Action for Youth tomorrow — from home or on your bike

Ride 4 Youth 2018 e1569698361228

United Action for Youth is working to spread word: you can still show your support during Sunday’s Ride 4 Youth without going out in the rain! “Virtual riders” are welcome and encouraged for the 7th Annual Ride 4 Youth, says Mickey Hampton, development director for the youth nonprofit. “You can support the event tomorrow from the comfort of your own home,” she said. “And, you can register the actual day of the event.” United Action for Youth (UAY) holds its biking fundraiser every year, and the event is supposed to…

Read More

Love for derby and heritage merge for Heitz with Team Indigenous

67107193 10106977666961419 3126041532067479552 n

Theresa Heitz comes across as soft-spoken, humble, and preferring to be behind the scenes .But when it comes to roller derby and her indigenous heritage, Heitz speaks with strength. “Even before Standing Rock and NoDAPL, there was Idle No More,” Heitz says, recalling the Native American-led demonstrations against the DAPL pipeline in North Dakota and western Iowa, and the environmental awareness movement founded in 2012 and led by Native American women. “Native Americans throughout the United States have always faced oppression here. We technically weren’t even considered citizens until 1930.”…

Read More

Axe-throwing, inspired by Canada, takes off in Iowa

axe throwing james e1566261922689

One to three pounds of wood and sharpened metal. Lift it slowly behind your head, take a step forward, and thwak. The axe is buried in the wooden target, and cheers sound from behind you. Welcome to axe throwing, a new recreational sport steadily growing in popularity since about 2013. That’s when a young entrepreneur kicked off a franchise in Philadelphia after enjoying the sport in Canada, reports NBC News. “It’s more fun and engaging than darts or bowling,” says Nick Collins, owner of Hatchet Jack’s in Iowa City, which…

Read More