For those college students staying in Ames over the summer looking for something to do, let me ask you this; have you ever heard of RAGBRAI? If you are from Iowa you have probably heard of RAGBRAI, but if you are from out of state there is a good chance that you have not. RAGBRAI, short for “Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa,” is an annual recreational bike ride that takes place in the summer.
Riders who participate start from the western border of the state and ride all the way across to the eastern border. The RAGBRAI tradition was started in 1973 by John Karras, a writer/copy editor for the Des Moines Register, and Don Kaul, the author of The Des Moines Register’s “Over the Coffee” Column. These two men had planned to ride across Iowa, observe what happens during an Iowa summer and then write about their experience for the Des Moines Register. They laid out the route that would take them from Sioux City, Iowa on Aug. 26 to Davenport, Iowa on Aug. 31.
The first official RAGBRAI had about 300 people join Karras and Kaul, with only about 114 actually completing the whole route. Since then this annual bike ride has only grown. This year’s RAGBRAI route (overnight towns) is as follows: Onawa- July 21, Denison- July 22, Jefferson- July 23, Ames- July 24, Newton- July 25, Sigourney- July 26, Iowa City- July 27 and Davenport- July 28 RAGBRAI riders will pass through many other towns on their way to the overnight towns. This year is special because both Ames and Iowa City are overnight stops. To participate in RAGBRAI you can sign up to ride the whole week as a rider, supporter or a daily rider. Due to such a high involvement over the years, RAGBRAI allows 8,500 people to participate in riding for the whole week.
This year registration for the whole week-pass closed April 1. However, if you are still interested in participating you may do so by registering for a day-pass until June 1. If you are a college student staying in Ames for the summer and are looking for things to do, grab some friends and register to participate in one of Iowa’s greatest summer traditions!