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Bike riders seeking answers during info session with RAGBRAI and Iowa's Ride leaders

With two statewide bike races next summer, the leaders of both are sharing their plans and latest updates

Posted: Dec 2, 2019 12:43 AM

MASON CITY, Iowa - While the weather outside may not be ideal for riding a bike right now, summer will be here before we know it.

And now, we have two cycling events across Iowa to look forward to: the Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa - also known as RAGBRAI - and the new Iowa's Ride.

On Sunday, representatives from both sides met with the public at Fat Hill Brewing to answer questions, ranging from logistics like lodging, vendors and the route, to how to engage more younger riders to join and what charities each ride supports.

Randy Cram is one member of the North Iowa Touring Club. Not only has he been a part of several RAGBRAI's throughout the years, but also grew up across the street from RAGBRAI co-founder John Karras in Des Moines.

"It's such a great tradition and event for Iowa that promotes what Iowa's all about. Just great honest people, and it's wonderful."

He was one of many cyclists that came from across the state to hear the latest info. Even though there will be two cross-state routes next summer, he feels both can work in tandem.

"I'm excited that they moved the week and Iowa's Ride is going the opposite direction. For an avid cyclist who wants to ride across the state one direction and turn around and go back the other direction, they'll have that opportunity, so that's pretty cool."

"There's always room for change and for opportunities for more growth in cycling in Iowa. More power to all of them."

RAGBRAI recently announced that Dieter Drake will take over as the new director. While he's new to the long-running bike ride, he's had experience organizing similar events over 15 years. Now in his new position, he's excited about getting started.

"It has so much momentum beyond me or anybody else that's involved with the event. It's going to last a whole lot longer than my tenure with the event. I'm happy to be a steward of the event and shepherd it into a new decade."

Also in attendance was the 16-year director of RAGBRAI, and now the director of Iowa's Ride, TJ Juskiewicz. For the new ride, he's wanting to bring the week-long ride that will run from East to West across the Hawkeye State to a smaller scale, such as a 5,000 rider cap, and a focus on smaller towns along the route.

"The towns that we picked, they like that sized ride. We're looking at 5,000, no more than that, so it's a nice cap. Small ride, small communities, and keeping it local. We're looking forward to it."

While RAGBRAI will be announcing their route at the end of January, Iowa's Ride has announced their inaugural route will run from Dubuque to Rock Rapids, and will be held July 12th-18th, the week before RAGBRAI.

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