A yearly week-long bicycle ride through Iowa sponsored by The Des Moines Register will follow much of the Lincoln Highway in 2008. The 36th annual RAGBRAI®, the “Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa,” will take place July 20-26, 2008. It is the longest, largest, and oldest touring bicycle ride in the world.
RAGBRAI was started in 1973 as a 6-day ride (not a race) across Iowa by two Register columnists; it’s still planned and coordinated by the newspaper and is now hosted by the Register’s front-page cartoonist, Brian Duffy.
RAGBRAI always begins near Iowa’s western border and ends along the eastern border at the Mississippi River. The route changes yearly but total mileage averages 472 miles (it’s 471 this year) while the daily mileage averages 68 miles. It is rarely flat; this year includes 22,500 feet of climb.
This year will launch from Missouri Valley but not pick up the LH till Jefferson, hit it from Ogden through Boone, again some of it in Ames, Nevada, Colo, and State Center, cross it at points in Le Grand and Tama, then pick it up in Chelsea through Belle Plaine, and meet is through Lisbon/Mt. Vernon, and finally cross it at Mechanicsville. The bike route will be nearby or parallel the LH for much of the time, though not always along it. Fora map you can zoom in on, visit Brian Duffy’s blog.
A week-long rider fee is $125, daily wristbands are $25, and include wristbands, route marking signage, baggage transportation, camping accommodations, discounts, sag wagon services, emergency medical services, traffic control, souvenir patch, daily route maps, and entries into drawing for a free bike for riders and other prizes for support vehicle drivers.