CORONAVIRUS

RAGBRAI called off for 2020 due to coronavirus

Event rescheduled for 2021 with same route and towns

RAGBRAI participants head to Manchester on Highway 939 near Winthrop on July 30, 2010. This year's ride has been postpon
RAGBRAI participants head to Manchester on Highway 939 near Winthrop on July 30, 2010. This year’s ride has been postponed because of the coronavirus. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

Iowa’s iconic midsummer bicycle ride known as RAGBRAI has been called off for 2020, the latest blow to normalcy from the coronavirus.

Ride organizers say the 48th installment of the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa has been “postponed” for a year after “deep consideration and collaboration” with leaders of the eight overnight towns, government agencies, the public health department and official business partners of RAGBRAI.

“The safety of our riders has always been the most important focus for our RAGBRAI team, and we feel the decision to postpone to 2021 is the right one,” Dieter Drake, RAGBRAI ride director, said in a news release. “We strongly feel that this is in everyone’s best interest.”

The statement said RAGBRAI takes months of planning and preparation. Based on the disruptions from COVID-19, “we didn’t feel it was responsible to move forward and put the safety of our riders, crew, communities, or residents of Iowa at risk.”

The ride will be pushed back from July 19-25, 2020, to July 25-31, 2021. The ride dates back to 1973 and traditionally is held annually the last full week of July.

The towns and route will remain the same in 2021, according to RAGBRAI. Overnight towns were announced in January. The towns are Le Mars, Storm Lake, Fort Dodge, Iowa Falls, Waterloo, Anamosa, Maquoketa and Clinton.

The route clocks in at 420.3 miles with 12,306 feet of climb. That makes it the sixth-shortest yet the 29th-hardest in terms of feet of climb.

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This year was planned to be the first edition of Iowa’s Ride, which was announced by longtime RAGBRAI director T.J. Juskiewicz at the same time he and his staff quit unexpectedly in October.

Juskiewicz did not immediately respond to a phone message Monday seeking the status of his ride. As of April 8, according to the event’s website, with the ride still three months away, it still was early to make a decision.

“Once a decision is made, we will inform everyone,” according to the website.

Iowa’s Ride is scheduled for July 12-18.

Options for riders

RAGBRAI participants who have registered and paid for 2020 have three options:

1. Transfer their 2020 registration to the 2021 ride. Any rider who chooses this option is not subject to the lottery and will receive their wristband and bike band in 2021. In addition, they will receive a $15 merchandise voucher good through Dec. 31, 2020.

2. Request a full refund of their 2020 registration.

3. Donate their registration to Iowa Bicycle Coalition. The nonprofit advocates for enhanced bicycle laws and safety in the state.

All riders will be required to fill out a request form by June 1, 2020, to be eligible for the full refund. Riders who do not fill out a form by June 1 will automatically be transferred to the 2021 ride.

Registered riders can access the form and more information at: ragbrai.com/registration.

A detailed FAQ is available at ragbrai.com/about/faqs.

Comments: (319) 398-8310; brian.morelli@thegazette.com

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