RAGBRAI coming through Jesup on July 28!
By Cheryl Parker

The 48th annual bike ride across Iowa, RAGBRAI, will take place from July 25-31 this year. The 2021 route starts in Le Mars, with overnight stops in Sac City, Fort Dodge, Iowa Falls, Waterloo, Anamosa, and DeWitt, before ending in Clinton. The route is 426 miles long with 11,481 feet of climb making it the sixteenth flattest in the ride’s history.

Waterloo serves as the overnight host city on Wednesday, July 28. On Thursday morning, bikers leave Waterloo traveling east on D22 – also known as Dubuque Road – and will go through Jesup. The route turns south on V65 (Benson Shady Grove Road), then east on D47 (282nd Street), then south for a short distance on V71 (Dugan Road) before continuing east through Rowley – where it is also known as 290th Street - and continuing east to the intersection of W35. From there it goes south to Walker.

The organizers encourage bikers to follow the application procedures on their website and come along only if accepted as a registered rider. “It is crucial that we keep our number of riders at the level suggested by the Iowa State Patrol and the Iowa Department of Transportation for the safety of all riders.”

Executive Director of Experience Waterloo, Tavis Hall, said the event will drive people to restaurants, bars, nightlife, hotels and retail stores — all businesses heavily impacted by the pandemic. He said he expects a couple of million dollars in tourism revenue from RAGBRAI. Cedar Valley employer VGM Group will sponsor the overnight stop in Waterloo. The company planned to sponsor the event last year before the cancellation. Experience Waterloo will work with RAGBRAI organizers to ensure riders are safe during COVID-19, Hall said. He is communicating with the Black Hawk County Health Department to create standards for riders who visit.

RAGBRAI attracts participants from all 50 states and many foreign countries. It has covered thousands of miles through the years, and hundreds of thousands of riders have hopped in the saddle to pedal part of those miles. It started in 1973 as a six-day ride across the state of Iowa by two Des Moines Register columnists who invited a few friends along. RAGBRAI is planned and coordinated by The Des Moines Register, and riders who participate in RAGBRAI understand that they do so at their own risk.

For more information check their website or their Facebook page.
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