The official RAGBRAI route between Algona and Clear Lake was announced on Tuesday morning, March 7, on www.ragbrai.com. Riders will enter Clear Lake along North Shore Drive Wednesday, July 25.
The North Shore route has been a favorite of RAGBRAI riders because of the long ride along the lake. The Tuesday route in Cerro Gordo County will enter Ventura on the old Highway 18, continue along Lake Street to North Shore Drive to City Park in Clear Lake. From City Park, the riders will bicycle on Main Avenue to the designated rider and support vehicle campgrounds.
According to Clear Lake RAGBRAI General Chairman Diane Thompson, intersections along the route will be closed on Tuesday, July 25, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., as they were in 2010 and 2014. Each intersection will be watched by volunteers to help with directions for riders, for vehicles to get to through-roads, to assist residents along the route, and to greet the riders as they bicycle through Clear Lake. Intersections will not be closed when the riders leave for Charles City on Wednesday, July 26.
“Residences along the route might be somewhat inconvenienced for a few hours on July 25, but just as we discovered in 2010, most everyone can make adjustments for the day by parking on a nearby off-street, using the RAGBRAI shuttles to get around, walking, or just staying home,” said Thompson. “The intersections are closed for safety for bikers, pedestrians, and Main Avenue and North Shore Drive residents.”
Thompson asks anyone with issues concerning these closings to contact her at 357-3015.
Local bicyclists are discouraged from riding on the route on July 25 because most people are not familiar with guide lines and skills of riding in a huge mass of bikers. Also, it is suggested that small children are kept away from the route for obvious reasons.
Safety is a priority when RAGBRAI is in a town. Prevention of accidents is important with 20,000 bicycles and an extra 40,000 people in town for the day. Steering Committees make all their plans by choosing safety for everyone above every other issue.
“It is a privilege to host our RAGBRAI guests again,” added Thompson. “Rumors are that RAGBRAI brings millions of dollars to a Host Town. While there is no doubt additional income will be brought into Clear Lake on July 25, that is not the ultimate goal of the Steering Committee. The Committee’s goal is to promote Clear Lake and provide our guests and residents a fun-filled and safe day full of happy memories.”
Community enthusiasm and involvement is the key, she said. It is expected nearly 1,200 area residents will be involved as participants, volunteers, hosts, vendors, and greeters.
There are many ways to get involved. Jane Lobdell serves as the 2017 Volunteer Chairman. Although the Steering Committee has not yet defined all the tasks for volunteers, Lobdell is ready to take names of people wanting to volunteer. She would like to have interested people call her at 357-2676 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org and leave your name, email address, and phone number so that she can contact you when she is ready to begin assigning volunteer tasks.