NORWALK, Iowa -- July 23 is a day many may circle on their calendar in the central Iowa/metro area. It's the day RAGBRAI passes close to Des Moines, going from Winterset to Indianola.
This will be a day when many take the day off to pedal.
“The entire week is 427 miles. This day when we go from Winterset to Indianola, it’s only 39 miles,”said T.J. Juskiewicz, RAGBRAI director. “It's going to be a day we could have a record number of people on RAGBRAI.”
Juskiewicz also said that RAGBRAI will help small towns like Cumming, where the owner of the Cumming Tap said he has seen business drop, due to lots of rain and a flooded bike trail.
“Just like it affects farmers and obviously in a big way, but even things like restaurants like the Cumming Tap, where bikes typically come up on the flooded trail, that’s going to have a tremendous impact,” said Juskiewicz.
The RAGBRAI pre-ride takes around 50 people, such as law enforcement and people who work the main event, and gives them an up close look at the ride. They also want to make sure the route is doable.
“One of the best weeks of the year,” said Juskiewicz. “I get to come out with a bunch of friends. Our entire staff rides it. We want to be able to do it. When someone says, 'hey do you know how hard that hill was in Cumming?' I want to look him in the eye and say, 'yeah, I rode it in June.'”
On July 23, the ride will pass by Des Moines. This has the towns along the way preparing for huge crowds.
“I think that Cumming, Norwalk and Indianola all are planning on everybody being in our town all day, so we’re all preparing for the whole crowd to be here,” said Jaki Livingston, chair of the RAGBRAI Norwalk Committee.