DES MOINES — Iowa midsummer bike festival, RAGBRAI, ridden by tens of thousands of people each year will feature the state’s two largest universities this year.
Iowa City, home to University of Iowa, and Ames, home to Iowa State University, will anchor what RAGBRAI Director T.J. Juskiewicz called the fourth easiest route in the 46-year history.
“It sounds like we have a little bit of a rivalry ride, huh?” Juskiewicz said as he completed unveiling the overnight towns during the route announcement party here on Saturday night.
The route begins in Onawa in western Iowa on July 22 and ends in Davenport on July 28. Denison, Jefferson, Ames, Newton, Sigourney, and Iowa City will serve as the overnight towns in the middle of the ride.
The rest of the route will be released at a later date.
The route is pegged at 428.1 total miles with 12,576 feet of climb. This makes it the seventh shortest and fourth flattest in the rides history.
RAGBRAI, which is the acronym for the Register’s Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, was started on a whim with little expectation by two Des Moines Register journalists in the early 1970s. Several hundred people showed up sparking the tradition.
The ride has grown into what organizers say is the oldest, largest, longest bike ride in the world.
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For Iowa City, it marks the first time in 42 years RAGBRAI will make an overnight visit. Some 20 people came as part of the official delegation with many others who came on their own.
“It’s always nice to ride into your hometown as a conqueror,” said Ray Bennett, who attended the announcement party and works in Iowa City.
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