by Nikki Javurek, PeopleForBikes government relations manager
It looks like PeopleForBikes is headed to the Hawkeye State this year! In July, the first-ever PeopleForBikes Day will be held at RAGBRAI, and we couldn?t be more excited.
Known for being the oldest, largest, and longest bicycle tour of its kind, RAGBRAI (the Register’s Annual Bicycle Race Across Iowa) engages bicyclists of all kinds for a week-long ride that is as much about the camaraderie as it is about the cycling. Heading into its 42nd year, RAGBRAI sees an average annual turnout of more than 10,000 riders. PeopleForBikes is honored to be a part of this historical ride.
Last Saturday, at the annual RAGBRAI Route Announcement Party in Des Moines, Iowa, RAGBRAI Director T.J. Juskiewicz announced that Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014, the fourth day of the ride, will be PeopleForBikes Day. A main goal for RAGBRAI on this day will be to grow the PeopleForBikes movement for more and better biking by asking riders to make sure that they are PeopleForBikes members. For every new member signed up at RAGBRAI, PeopleForBikes will donate $1 to the Iowa Bicycle Coalition, a great bike advocacy ally in Iowa.
I was lucky enough to attend the RAGBRAI Route Announcement Party, which had more than 1,000 attendees and included great entertainment by a band that’s a RAGBRAI favorite, the Spazmatics, a silent auction that benefitted the Iowa Bicycle Coalition, and an amazing amount of enthusiasm from individuals and teams that participate in RAGBRAI each year. From kilts to matching team jerseys to hilarious hats, the party attendees were dressed to the nines and excited to see what the route would be for this year’s ride.
The host towns for this year’s RAGBRAI include some big ones and some not so big ones. (Image: RAGBRAI)
One of the best things about RAGBRAI is that the route changes each year, so that different towns throughout Iowa get to host the overnight and, in turn, reap the tourism benefits that come with thousands of people descending upon a small town. This year, the overnight stop with the smallest population is Guttenberg, the final town on the ride, with a population of only 1,919. The largest town will be Mason City, Iowa, the overnight stop on PeopleForBikes Day, which has a population of 28,079. (See the full route here) The impact of more than 10,000 people spending money in these small towns is impressive and highlights one of the many economic benefits of bicycling.
If you?re interested in being part of this historic, beautiful, and super fun ride, check out www.ragbrai.com and be sure to register by April 1, 2014. We would love to see you there and hope you?ll join us for the first-ever PeopleForBikes Day!