The annual bike ride across the state begins Saturday with an expo in Le Mars and then riders take off Sunday.
The Iowa State Patrol is asking those not on the ride to be prepared. Trooper Karey Yaneff says you should use patience, and perhaps look at an alternative route to your destination if it conflicts with the RAGBRAI route. She says this is a one-day thing as the bikers move across the area and you should make sure you know the bike ride route and plan ahead if you have somewhere to go.
Yaneff says the Iowa State Patrol will be stationed at various points along the route to help with traffic control for the bicyclists. She says they will also be at the overnight communities assisting local law enforcement officials with possible intoxicated individuals.
“We want everybody to have a good time, but be responsible, especially with their alcohol intake — because there will be law enforcement in the area to make sure things are running smoothly and safely for everyone,” Trooper Yaneff says. Yaneff says they will also be on the lookout for underage minors consuming alcoholic beverages during RAGBRAI events.
Organizers are wrapping up their final preparations as the bike ride returns following the pandemic pause. Some 15,000 people have officially registered. Sac City organizer, Dale Wegner, says they’re still looking for volunteers in the town of around 2,000 residents.
“We’re asking some of the school kids to come up from the other towns to help us do some of the things that need to be done. The community is really trying to pull together as much as possible to make this an enjoyable experience for everybody,” Wegner says.
Fort Dodge is another overnight stop where organizer Cam Nelson says they are looking forward to the riders.
“We just want to showcase the community and how great Fort Dodge is,” Nelson says. So with all those people coming in, the economic impact is amazing, and that kind of speaks for itself. Supporting local businesses, getting people in businesses here in town.”
Riders won’t be required to be vaccinated or pre-screened before participating. The ride will end up in Clinton on July 31st.
(By Dennis Morrice, KLEM, Le Mars/Kate Payne, Iowa Public Radio)