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HiBRAI returns for 19th year with Eastern Iowa bike ride
The Hiawatha Parks and Rec-led ride goes from Hiawatha to Riverside and back
While RAGBRAI has come and gone, bicycle enthusiasts looking for another ride don’t have to look farther than Hiawatha.
The 19th HiBRAI (Hiawatha Bike Ride Around Iowa) takes place the weekend of Aug. 20 and 21. Riders will start at Hiawatha City Hall and follow mostly trails all the way down to Riverside.
“It’s an intermediate ride,” Hiawatha Parks and Recreation Director Kelly Willadsen said. “Both days equal 110 miles so it is a bit of a challenge but there is no speed that has to be taken. It’s a fun ride for people to have a fun weekend out and about. If you haven’t done a huge ride, this is a great one to start with.”
If you go
What: HiBRAI (Hiawatha Bike Ride Around Iowa)
Where: Starting in Hiawatha to Riverside — 55 miles, or 110 round trip
When: Aug. 20 and 21
The charity ride benefits the Friends of Hiawatha Parks and Recreation, a nonprofit organization that supports local children’s programs and park updates.
Willadsen said the ride typically raises around $8,000 to $10,000 per year.
“The funds raised have gone to new drinking fountains, park amenities. Last year, we purchased our outdoor movie system. We’ve purchased playground equipment before,” she said. “It allows the dollars to stay in the Hiawatha community and in the parks and rec atmosphere.”
Day One of the ride ends with an overnight stay at Riverside Casino & Golf Resort, where riders receive a special rate of $129.95 king or double, usually priced at $249.95. The registration fee for the ride is $60 and registration can be found online at the Friends of Hiawatha Parks and Recreation website.
The event began when members of the Hiawatha Parks and Rec department took its RAGBRAI proposal to Des Moines — by bike.
“That was the first ride,” Willadsen said. “Over the years, it’s been to Des Moines, Tama and Riverside.”
But in recent years, the route has stayed the same due to the route being around 90 percent trail.
“After each event, we send out a survey and people really enjoy going down to Riverside,” Willadsen said. “It’s super great for the safety of our riders. We don’t have to worry about cars.”
On average, the ride sees about 120 participants each year. So far, between 50 and 60 people have signed up, so Willadsen said there’s room for more to participate and book hotel rooms.
“Right now, it’s a bit lower and last year was too, coming back from COVID,” she said. “It’s an enjoyable, relaxing ride. It allows riders to have more fun and not be a congested ride. Plus, people don’t have to stay either. They can ride a day and set up their own pickup and drop-off from there if they would like.”
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