Ames hosts town halls ahead of 50th RAGBRAI


Jackie Norman/Iowa State Daily

RAGBRAI riders entered Cyclone loop after entering Ames on July 24, 2018. The loop allows riders to circle the inside of Jack Trice Stadium to finish the morning leg of the ride. 

Discover Ames and city staff spoke and answered questions from residents at two town halls on Thursday, discussing ways to get involved, road closures and events planned.

The Des Moines Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, RAGBRAI, is an annual bike marathon spanning eight days. This year the route begins in Sioux City and ending in Davenport. Ames has long been a part of RAGBRAI tradition, serving as one of the overnight towns in the first ever RAGBRAI in 1973, then named The Great Six-Day Bicycle Ride.

Discover Ames President and CEO Kevin Bourke spoke at the meeting, highlighting the different events planned for Tuesday, July 25. The first of which would be a welcome rally in and around Jack Trice Stadium.

“We’ll have a football atmosphere, outside of having no fans. But we will have a look and feel of a game day,” Bourke said. “We’ll have the cheer squad and the spirit squad as well as Cy within the stadium. A lot of opportunities for photos.”

Bourke also described a collection of vendors and information booths at the end of the bridge over University Boulevard.

Downtown Ames will host a festival July 25 from 2 p.m. to 11 p.m. Besides food and merchandise vendors, there will be two stages of live entertainment, one at the intersection of Main Street and Douglas Avenue and another on Burnett Avenue next to First National Bank facing Main Street.

Lineups for both stages can be found on the Discover Ames website.

Ways To Get Involved

One way for residents to get involved with RAGBRAI preparations is to volunteer to host riders, which Bourke said requests are flexible.

“We’ve got requests of upwards of 300 requests for people looking for housing,” Bourke said. “They may be looking for a backyard to set up tents, [or] a bedroom or a basement.”

Ames residents can host a rider through the Discover Ames website. The page allows users to filter depending on the needs of the riders. Discover Ames is also looking for volunteers to help set up and run the festivities.

Road Closures

Assistant City Manager Brian Phillips also spoke at the town hall meeting about the different traffic measures they had in place for residents living along the RAGBRAI route or the street closures.

“There will be some disruption to the folks who live in that area, but there are detours we will set up during a time when those routes are active, ” Phillips said. “We’re working on putting out a video that’s geared towards Ames residents that will indicate what’s closed, what’s open, what are the best ways to get around, and what the timing is.”

Phillips said that the last time RAGBRAI came through Ames, in 2018, this kind of video was a successful way of getting the information to residents. According to Phillips the video will come out some time in the next few weeks and will be posted on City of Ames social media accounts.

On Monday, July 24, Main Street will be closed after 4 p.m.

On Tuesday, July 25, there will be some controlled closures from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., closures on parts but not all of the road, for Mortensen Road, Beach Avenue and South Dakota Avenue. Around downtown Ames there’s three full street closures on Main Street, South 4th Street and 6th Street.

On Wednesday, July 26, there will only be the controlled closures on Mortensen Road, South Dakota Avenue and Beach Avenue.