More than two dozen committees have begun planning activities for cyclists who’ll be in Council Bluffs to start RAGBRAI — the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa — on July 18th. The ride has overnight stops scheduled in Red Oak, Greenfield, Indianola, Chariton, Ottumwa and Mount Pleasant before ending in Burlington July 25th. Kathy Fiscus of the Council Bluffs Convention and Visitors Bureau says they’re even planning events in the days ahead of RAGBRAI.

"We expect 15,000 riders plus local folks who want to show up for the various different entertainment venues that we’ll have," Fiscus says, "so we’ll have lots and lots of people." Fiscus estimates tourists drawn to Council Bluffs because of RAGBRAI will spend over five-and-a-half million dollars in her city.

"The riders seem to come in at least a day early, if not two, and we want to be a warm and welcoming community and have them not only enjoy the activities in and around RAGBRAI, but to go to some of our other destination attractions as well," Fiscus says. This summer’s ride will mark RAGBRAI’s 37th year. The ride always begins in a Missouri River city and concludes in a city along the Mississippi River, so riders make their way from west to east across the state.