CLEAR LAKE, Iowa - Friday night marks the official start to the 14th annual "Bicycles, Blues & BBQ" event in Clear Lake. The festivities kick off at 5 p.m. at City Park downtown, and will feature barbecue food and blues artists, while the main cycling events will begin Saturday morning at 7:30.
Tyler Curtis is an avid cyclist and is busy training for this weekend's competitions.
"I've been thinking about this since this ended last year. I finally have a chance to play with the big boys and the pro men's field, so it's been at the forefront of my mind for awhile."
And it's also helped him form some friendships.
"It's always been my favorite sport, and it's something I've done with friends. It's helped me gain a lot of friends from all over the state, all over the country and all over the world."
With many cyclists expected to be on the road this weekend, as well as during the summer months, it's important for drivers to be on the look out for bikes.
Just recently, a report from ADT Security Systems found that 5 Iowa cities rank within the top 10 most dangerous cities for cyclists in the country. Webster City is ranked #3, Waterloo #7, Sioux City #8, Johnston #9, and Des Moines ranked 10th, mostly due to fatality accidents.
Tim Putnam is the festival director and one of the co-founders of "Bicycles, Blues & BBQ", and will be operating one of two pace cars in this weekend's events.
Even with new laws in place regarding distracted driving, he's still noticing many drivers not paying attention to cyclists on the road.
"You still see people actually really paying more attention to their cell phone than what's going on around them. It's really about safety and everybody using the roads that we all have a right to use."
As for Curtis, he says anything can be dangerous, and biking has it's own dangers, but it isn't stopping him.
"I race most weekends in the summer and most weekends in the fall. I'll be going to college next year to race in college. I just got home from racing in Wisconsin for 11 days, so I do a lot of racing all around the country, not all around the world yet. But I've had the opportunities, just never taken it yet."