The sights and sounds of 10,000 cyclists and another 45,000 visitors spending time in Clear Lake as an overnight stop on the Des Moines Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa is now just a happy memory for those who rode, as well as those who welcomed them.
Local RAGBRAI Chairman Diane Thompson said she was pleased with the day and appreciative for all the work her committee members and the community at-large put into the day.
“Everyone put in hours and hours for months to show off Clear Lake to all those associated with RAGBRAI. I think we’ve done a pretty spectacular job of that,” said Thompson.
Among those taking home special memories of their stop in Clear Lake was Sarah Banks and Whit Oyler, who had their first experience with RAGBRAI, and with Clear Lake, in 2014. According to the Banks, they enjoyed the ride and the town so much that they knew they’d return someday. When they got engaged in October, they both knew that they wanted to return to RAGBRAI for their wedding. The couple was married at 3 p.m. on the beach stage between bands.
Clear Lake police, assisted by the Mason City Police Department, Cerro Gordo County Sheriff’s Office, Iowa State Patrol and volunteers, reported the RAGBRAI stay was uneventful.
It has become a tradition for the Clear Lake Fire Department to welcome firefighters from all across the country to stay at the station during RAGBRAIs through North Iowa. Again this year, several from New York used RAGBRAI to touch base with their Clear Lake friends. The CLFD forged a relationship with their New York City counterparts when they made an application and eventually traveled to NYC to bring back a piece of steel salvaged from the wreckage of the World Trade Center. Before leaving New York Firefighters presented the CLFD with a 9/11 memorial plate in appreciation for hosting them during RAGBRAI.