Evansdale Bridge following 2008 flooding, view to the NE.
McFarlane Bridge following 2008 flooding, view to the NW. Photograph by FEMA/DHS.
About Cedar Valley Nature Trail Bridges
The Bridges Ride
History of the Cedar Valley Nature Trail Bridges
The Cedar Valley Nature Trail bridges over the Cedar River in Evansdale and McFarlane Park and they are the reason for the creation of The Bridges Ride. The original bridges at these sites were destroyed in the Great Flood of June 2008 after standing there for almost a century. They were originally built in 1912, when the Waterloo, Cedar Falls & Northern (WCF&N) Interurban Railroad extended south from Waterloo. Following the flood, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) approved payment for replacing the Evansdale bridge, which was reconstructed in 2010 and 2011 with its grand opening on July 31, 2011. FEMA rejected covering the bridge at McFarlane Park because it was deemed to be fully derelict prior to the flood. Eventually, Congressman Bruce Braley was able to secure federal funding, which when combined with grants and other fundraising, allowed the second bridge to be replaced in 2013. The grand opening for the McFarlane Bridge took place on May 4th of that year.
The Bridges Ride, formerly known as Bridge-2-Bridge Ride
In an effort to celebrate the opening of the two new bridges and the reopening of the Cedar Valley Nature Trail, the Cedar Valley Bicycle Collective, Cedar Valley Trails Partnership, Cedar Valley Cyclists, Cedar Fall Tourism and Black Hawk County Conservation organized the first annual Bridge-2-Bridge Ride on August 17, 2013.
The first Bridge-2-Bridge Ride began at Gateway Park in Cedar Falls, Iowa, and followed the trail network to Evansdale where it joined the Cedar Valley Nature Trail, crossing the new Evansdale Bridge and proceeding to McFarlane Park. The annual Bridge-2-Bridge Ride followed this same path until 2016, when trail closures and the barricaded Wolf Creek Bridge in La Porte City, Iowa, forced several detours along the route. During the Wolf Creek Bridge closure from 2016 to 2019, the ride continued, gaining support and attendance from local communities.
Wolf Creek Bridge was completed on September 2, 2020, and a modified Bridge-2-Bridge Ride was held in late September of that year, beginning at Exchange Park in Waterloo, Iowa. The following year, the ride was not held due to concern over COVID community transmission. The Bridge-2-Bridge Ride committee was re-established in 2022 and wishing to celebrate all four bridges on the Cedar Valley Nature Trail, renamed the event “The Bridges Ride.”
On June 1st, 2024, the 11th Bridges Ride will be held to celebrate and commemorate the four bridges on the Cedar Valley Nature Trail: the Evansdale Bridge, the McFarlane Bridge, the Wolf Creek Bridge and one more north of Gilbertville Depot named E-4. The bicycling and trail community within the Cedar Valley invites you to participate in a free, public bike ride in support of all the organizations and people who put time, effort and money into making the Cedar Valley Nature Trail enjoyable for everyone in our community.
Make sure to support the sponsors and partners of The Bridges Ride. This event wouldn’t be possible without their contributions.
The Bridges Ride Event
Informal start at 9:00am at Pfeiffer Spring Park in Cedar Falls or Cedar Valley Nature Trail parking lot in Evansdale.
Music, food and plenty of beverages will all be available at the Gilbertville Depot! More details will be available as we get closer to the event.
Make sure to register for the Bridges Ride online and to check in for the prize drawing that will be held at the Gilbertville Depot. Helmets are also required, and a limited number will be available for free at check in. There will be snacks and drinks provided at various locations along the route and valuable door prizes donated by our generous sponsors from around the community.