The Iowa State and Ames communities are preparing to host tens of thousands of cyclists July 25 for an overnight stop on the 50th anniversary of the Des Moines Register's Annual Bike Ride Across Iowa, known as RAGBRAI ("RAG-bry").
The ride is still a month away, and local organizers continue to work with RAGBRAI officials on some of the finishing touches, but here's an overview of what you can expect when RAGBRAI rolls into town.
You're invited to attend one of two town halls meetings at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. June 22 (Ames City Hall council chambers, 515 Clark Ave.). Local RAGBRAI organizers will provide details and answer questions about the Ames overnight stop.
Cyclists will pedal the 83-mile route from Carroll to Ames on Tuesday, July 25. Luther is the last pass-through town of the day, and riders will approach Ames from the south on County Road R-38. Local organizers expect the majority of cyclists will arrive between 11 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. The route through Ames (see map below) will follow South Dakota Avenue north and head east on Mortensen Road. As cyclists approach campus, they will head north on Beach Avenue and access Jack Trice Stadium through the Reiman Gardens service entrance.
Similar to 2018 -- the last time RAGBRAI made an overnight stop in Ames -- Jack Trice Stadium will be part of the route. From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., cyclists have the opportunity to ride along the stadium concourse and exit across the East Gateway Pedestrian Bridge. Different from past RAGBRAI visits, the 2023 route won't take cyclists through central campus.
Cyclists will leave Ames Wednesday morning, July 26, via the same route they entered, heading for Des Moines. Organizers expect most cyclists will leave Ames between 6 and 10 a.m.
Drivers, expect delays, detours
Employees who commute to Ames from the southwest likely will not be able to use 510th Avenue or U.S. Highway 210 in Story County July 25-26. Instead, motorists are advised to use U.S. Highway 69.
Discover Ames, which is leading the local RAGBRAI effort, needs hundreds of volunteers to host cyclists in their homes or backyards, assist with campground registration and monitoring, and provide support for the entertainment district along Main Street, along with other needs.
You can find more information and sign up this volunteer website. University employees interested in volunteering during work hours will need to take leave and arrange with their supervisor. Ames residents who can host cyclists overnight in their home or yard should register on a separate housing volunteer website.
Campground locations, showers
Cyclists not staying with a host family or at a hotel have the option to camp at a designated campground. Local organizers are still waiting for final approval from RAGBRAI officials, but have identified Brookside Park as the main campground, and Ames Middle School and North River Valley Park (East 13th Street) as secondary sites. Several campus locations also could be available for camping cyclists or support vehicles including:
- Grass lots south of the stadium and near the College of Veterinary Medicine
- Grassy areas east and south of the Towers residence halls
- Narrow field between Lied Recreation Center competition fields and College Creek
- RV lot east of Jack Trice Stadium
- Lots at the Iowa State Center
- Frederiksen Court overflow lot on Haber Road
Recreation services will offer access to State Gym and Lied Recreation showers and rec facilities for $10. Both locations will be open to cyclists from 2 to 6 p.m. Tuesday.
Downtown: Entertainment district
Cyclists and local residents can enjoy live music on two stages and food trucks from 2 to 11 p.m. along Main Street on July 25. Hairball will headline the concert series and several local acts are scheduled to perform. The full schedule is online.