Council Bluffs is preparing for 25-thousand visitors as RAGBRAI begins this weekend. The Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa brings in bicyclists from around the world and they’ll start the west-to-east trek in Council Bluffs this year. Kathy Fiscus, with the Council Bluffs Convention and Visitors Bureau, says 20 committees have been working on RAGBRAI preparations for several months, with public safety as the top priority.

Fiscus says, “That means examining the route to make sure the streets are in good shape, to consider where directional signage should go so that semi-truck traffic and RVs and campers and bicycles don’t tangle up and create a mishap.” Fiscus says it’s an honor for Council Bluffs to be the first host city for this year’s big cycling event.

“It’s a way to show, not only Iowans, but the world, our beautiful city,” she says. “This year, the tire dip is at the Tom Hanafan River’s Edge Park and the exit route this year will go through Council Bluffs, so the riders will see our beautiful Bayliss Park, our historic 100 block of Broadway, for example.”

Council Bluffs hosted RAGBRAI in 2009 and was designated then as City of the Year. Fiscus says 15,000 bicyclists are expected to leave Council Bluffs Sunday morning for the start of the week-long RAGBRAI. Riders will also pass through Harlan, Perry, Des Moines, Knoxville, Oskaloosa and Fairfield along the route.

RAGBRAI ends on July 27th in Fort Madison.