116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Almost 50 years ago, two Des Moines Register writers decided to pedal their bikes from one side of Iowa all the way to the other.
They never thought their six-day bike ride would become RAGBRAI — The Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa — or “the oldest, largest and longest recreational bicycle touring event in the world,” according to the ride’s website.
The 49th RAGBRAI started Saturday in Sergeant Bluff and will end this Saturday in Lansing.
Dreaming of someday pedaling your own bicycle across The Hawkeye State? Consider these fun facts.
1. Bicyclists ride for 468 miles on average.
That’s like riding your bike from downtown Cedar Rapids all the way to downtown Iowa City almost 17 times. This year, the route is 462 miles, according to The Register.
2. It always begins at the Missouri River and ends at the mighty Mississippi.
This year the overnight stops in between, called host communities, are in Ida Grove, Pocahontas, Emmetsburg, Mason City, Charles City and West Union. There are usually big parties in host communities for visiting bicyclists.
3. More than 15,000 bicyclists are signed up for the full ride this year.
Organizers have to limit the number of weeklong participants, but many more riders have ridden at once before. In 2013, about 36,000 riders biked from Perry to Des Moines.
4. The route has passed through 80% of Iowa’s incorporated towns.
Want to see every corner of the state? Bicyclists have ridden through more than 780 Iowa towns and slept in more than 125, and the RAGBRAI route has gone through all 99 of Iowa’s counties.
5. This year features a ‘Century Day,’ with riders doing 100 miles in one day.
One of the ride’s founders, John Karras, died last year. In his honor, the RAGBRAI route this year includes a 105-mile day, on Wednesday, for the first time in almost 40 years.