Cedar Falls, Eldora Preparing To Welcome RAGBRAI In July
About 10,000 bicyclists will be invading Cedar Falls and Eldora this summer when the Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI) makes overnight stops in the two cities.
The bicyclists will pedal into Cedar Falls on Wednesday, July 22, 2015. The stop will be RAGBRAI's first in the city since 2007 and the fourth overall. Specific details on RAGBRAI's upcoming Cedar Falls visit haven't been released, but participants camped overnight on the University of Northern Iowa campus during previous visits to the city.
Overnight stops for RAGBRAI XLIII (43) were announced in Des Moines Saturday evening (January 24). The week-long event begins in Sioux City on July 19 and ends in Davenport on July 25, with overnight stops in Storm Lake, Fort Dodge, Eldora, Cedar Falls, Hiawatha and Coralville (Iowa River Landing).
According to organizers, this summer marks the first time since the first RAGBRAI in 1973 that the annual cycling event will launch from Sioux City and end in Davenport.
RAGBRAI officials say this year's 462.2-mile route from the Missouri River (Sioux City) to the Mississippi River (Davenport) will be the 19th-shortest in the event's 43-year history. The 15,948-foot climb makes it the 13th flattest route in history. The full route, including pass-through towns and specific roads, is expected to be released in March.
Bicyclists will spend Tuesday night in Eldora, the smallest overnight city on the RAGBRAI route. With a population of 2,732, the city is home to Pine Lake State Park and bills itself as the garden spot of Hardin County. RAGBRAI passed through Eldora in 2004 and previously served as an overnight host in 1986 and 1998.
When bicyclists leave Eldora on Wednesday, they'll pedal 56 miles to the overnight stop in Cedar Falls (pop. 39,260). It's one of five overnight cities on the year's route with a population of more than 20,000. Cedar Falls previously served as an overnight stop in 1989, 1998 and 2007.
During their visit to the Cedar Valley, bicyclists are being encouraged to explore the nearly 106 miles of trails in Cedar Falls and neighboring Waterloo.
Thursday's journey to Hiawatha is 69.6 miles. The northern suburb of Cedar Rapids is hosting RAGBRAI for the third time after serving as an overnight stop in 2004 and a pass-through community in 1994.
This year, RAGBRAI will introduce an optional 15-mile gravel loop on the 68-mile route between Storm Lake and Fort Dodge on July 20. The traditional 100-mile century loop option will be part of the 71.8-mile ride between Fort Dodge and Eldora on July 21.