Eight cities across the state are beginning preparations to host more than 10,000 visitors as part of the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI). Over the weekend, organizers revealed the overnight stops for the 41st RAGBRAI to be held July 21 to 27.
RAGBRAI Director Director T.J. Juskiewicz said the ride will start in Council Bluffs and end in Fort Madison with overnight stops in Harlan, Perry, Des Moines, Knoxville, Oskaloosa and Fairfield. “We tried to mix it up with a few towns we haven’t been to in a while,” Juskiewicz said. “I think we have a pretty good route and it’ll be a lot of fun for people.”
Many riders are excited to hear the 2013 route is the shortest of all 41 RAGBRAIs at just over 406 total miles. Last year’s route covered 471 miles in extreme heat. “After the year they went through last year with 105-degree temperatures, we deserve this type of route,” Juskiewicz said.
The ride won’t be easy all the way. The stretch from Harlan to Perry is the hilliest, with 4,239 feet of total climb, and also the longest at 83 miles. Juskiewicz estimates the ride brings an average of $3 million in spending to each town that hosts an overnight stop, with more for bigger cities that can meet hotel demand.
This year will mark the first time since 1997 that RAGBRAI stops in Des Moines, Iowa’s capital city. RAGBRAI officials plan to reveal more details about this year’s route – including the roughly 40 “pass through” towns – in mid-March.