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Excitement levels high for RAGBRAI’s ‘biggest year ever’

Mikinna Kerns/Iowa State Daily
RAGBRAI Bikers arrive in Ames July 24, 2018, at the corner or Mortensen Road and South Dakota Ave. the first biker arrived alone around 8:15 but was followed by a steady stream of bikers thought out the rest of the day.

RAGBRAI is making its way through Ames, and the culmination of nearly a year of preparation is about to pay off.

All the cities and towns along the route have been trying to make this year’s RAGBRAI the best it can be. With this being the 50th anniversary of RAGBRAI, everyone involved is in for a year to remember.

With it being a special RAGBRAI, the planning going into the event has been more intense than ever. All those involved want to get it right and make sure everyone has a great time.

“It’s kind of a year-round deal, especially this year,” said Scott Sumpter, founder of BikeIowa.

The RAGBRAI planning also has to focus on one big goal. Not only are all the vendors and event planners looking for the riders to have a fun time, but they also want to make sure the ride is as safe as possible.

Unlike other years, mother nature doesn’t look like it will take a break to give the riders a comfortable ride. 

“It looks like it’s gonna be pretty darn warm,” Sumpter said. “That kinda changes, [like] the fun factor a little bit.”

Even unideal weather won’t stop the event from being a blast. With stops along the way and overnight towns like Ames putting together a great venue, riders should have all the support they need to make RAGBRAI safe.

Sumpter said that there are stretches of around 20 miles where there are no towns. With the heat beating down, it is important for stops along the way to make sure riders are safe.

On the way to some of the smaller towns, there will be vendors set up to provide riders with shade, drinks and a good time. Not only that, but once riders get to some of the smaller stops, there is more excitement waiting for them.

A lot of the smaller stops along the way have been prepping for RAGBRAI ever since they got the announcement earlier in the year. With all hands on deck, the communities across Iowa have banded together to make the 50th anniversary a perfect ride for everyone involved.

“For the people of Iowa, the communities of Iowa, [with] the way we come together and just treat folks, it’s bar none a super cool experience,” Sumpter said. “I’ve been to four other state rides, and they’re not even close to what RAGBRAI brings.”

With all the communities of Iowa working together, there is no doubt that this RAGBRAI will be the biggest ever—not only the biggest when it comes to the number of riders but also the biggest when it comes to the hype surrounding it.

“It’s gonna be, obviously, the biggest year ever this year,” Sumpter said.

With it being a bigger year in celebration of the 50th, the route is also going through some of the biggest towns and cities in Iowa. Sumpter said that has some positives and negatives.

On the one hand, the bigger cities will be able to accommodate a large number of people on the route. Riders can dissipate into the various parts of towns like Ames, Des Moines and Coralville.

On the other hand, there will be a lot of first-time riders this year. It will be good to draw a good crowd in, but Sumpter said there will be a learning process.

Regardless if everything goes smoothly, RAGBRAI will be a great time for everyone involved.

“It’s gonna be a good one,” Sumpter said. “I actually can’t wait for it to come.”

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