IOWA -- The competitor to RAGBRAI -- Iowa's Ride -- announced a big change Friday. The organizers said they are moving the date of the inaugural ride.
Iowa's Ride was scheduled for the same week as RAGBRAI, but they announced they are moving to the week before. Iowa's Ride will now take place between July 12 and July 18 in 2020. RAGBRAI is scheduled for July 19 to July 25.
Organizers said they made that decision after speaking with riders and say they don't want to divide long-standing cycling teams.
"The most overwhelming concern that keeps coming up is the date of the event and how it is dividing long-standing cycling teams. We have even heard from teams trying to decide who gets the team bus for the week. This was never our intent, and this is not good for anyone who just wants to ride their bike," Iowa's Ride said on Facebook.
Iowa’s Ride was started by former RAGBRAI Director T.J. Juskiewicz and RAGBRAI staff after they all quit due to how the Des Moines Register and Gannett handled the controversial story they did on Carson King.
Juskiewcz said it was a difficult decision but their team believes it will give riders the option to do both if they want.
"It’s a unique opportunity but they’ve never had that in the past, that’s something that they might consider," he said.
Iowa's Ride is shaking up the route a bit, too. It will start in eastern Iowa at the Mississippi River and head west. That is opposite of the RAGBRAI route.
Anne Lawrie, RAGBRAI's senior marketing manager, said they are "thrilled" about the changes.
"For us and the state it’s just good to have one ride and no competing rides during one week," she said. "I hope people feel good about this, we feel good about it."
Some in the cycling community, however, the change might not entirely solve the problem.
"The number of people that can take two weeks to ride their bike nearly 1,000 miles in July is somewhat limited," said Joe Newendorp, a manager at Bike World.
He said it might be difficult for businesses to participate in both to the scale they normally do, due to logistics and allocating resources.
"We’ll really have to see how many people are on each ride. We’d love to support as much as we can but we will definitely be spread thin," Newendorp said.
He said he hopes they will be able to partake in both.
Iowa's Ride said they will refund entry fees for anyone who no longer wishes to do the ride because of the changes.