Iowa cities remember hosting RAGBRAI riders

DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) — In July 2021, a swarm of cyclists rolled through DeWitt, one of the final stops on the annual Iowa Bike Tour.

The city welcomed them with open arms, space to set up tents and a main stage under the water tower to celebrate their journey.

“It was absolutely amazing,” said Angela Rheingans, executive director of the DeWitt Chamber & Development Company. “I think it was a great team building exercise for our community. DeWitt is a truly vibrant city that already has many community and civic organizations. But planning RABRAI was a whole new beast.”

Whether you were a DeWitt church, school, or business, you’ve probably been involved in entertaining the cyclists. The support was mutual.

“Our dealers were incredibly positive,” said Rheingans. “They felt that RAGBRAI riders and the support staff that come with those riders are very supportive of their businesses.”

Business owners told Rheingans that they saw a friendly face from RAGBRAI again. Riders returned for weekend trips throughout the rest of the summer and into the fall.

“You know, part of the ride is so unique because you’re talking about small towns in Central America,” said Dave Herrell, President of Visit Quad Cities. “This is sort of a cultural opportunity to showcase the state.”

DeWitt has some advice for hosting communities this year.

Start planning early, activate your volunteers and just embrace the idea that you will be welcoming thousands of visitors to your community,” said Rheingans. “It’s a great opportunity.”

That advice will be especially valuable this year as the RAGBRAI winds across northern Iowa and visits the town of Pocahontas for the first time ever.

The countdown on the official website states that RAGBRAI is only 175 days away. Visit the website to learn more about Route 2022 and how to prepare.

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