As Lt. Col Daniel Simonsen, Louisiana Tech’s Air Force ROTC commander, drove back to Ruston from Iowa, he saw a sign relaying the message that he was only 79 miles from Monroe. As he passed the sign, he thought to himself, ‘I could bike that.’

Simonsen rode 525 miles in the Des Moines Register Annual Great Bike Ride across Iowa, or RAGBRAI, in July.

From left to right, Wing Commander with Royal Air Force Mark Barmby, MSgt. Alex Wilkins with Air Force Reserve, Barksdale AFB, MSgt. Curtis Scrugham with Barksdale and Lt. Col. Dan Simonsen dip their tires in the Mississippi River at the end of the bike ride.

‘The tradition is to drop your rear tire in the Missouri River and your front tire in the Mississippi River,’ Simonsen said.

The Air Force, which had 120 of the 8,500 riders who competed in the week-long event, used the bike ride as a recruiting ground. Simonsen, who was in the Barksdale Air Force Base group, said he was pleased at how many people recognized Tech’s name.

‘A lot of people knew where Tech was,’ he said. ‘They’d say,