About 400 riders still need a place to stay overnight in Burlington
RAGBRAI is coming in eight weeks, and as the time draws closer, the more details become known about the Des Moines Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa.
Riders arrive July 26 in Burlington for the city’s first time as an overnight host.
Of the 20,000 visitors, about 400 still need a place to stay.
Most of the riders will stay at campgrounds, with the primary campgrounds at Burlington High School, Edward Stone Middle School and Notre Dame. There also will be camping at Crapo and Dankwardt parks. Between the school and park sites, there will be an estimated 9,000 campers.
There also will be 1,000 campers at Southeastern Community College in West Burlington. The riders will mix in with campers at the Des Moines County Fair, which will be that same week.
“We’ve got riders looking to experience the fair,” Chelsea Lerud, director of the Greater Burlington Convention and Visitors Bureau, told the West Burlington City Council on Wednesday.
All of the hotel rooms in the Burlington area also are booked for that weekend. Greater Burlington Partnership event coordinator Rachel Lindeen said the hotel rooms were booked up not long after Burlington was announced as an overnight stop.
Westland Mall in West Burlington will be packed with 600 recreational vehicles in its parking lot.
That just leaves the riders who have requested to stay in homes and yards.
GBP is hoping to get volunteers in the area to host a variety of riders. Those wishing to host riders should visit BurlingtonRAGBRAI.com and click on the resident tab. From there they can click a link to register to host RAGBRAI riders.
Registration will include asking the potential host about amenities and how many people are able to stay in and around the house between spare beds, camping space and floor space. Potential hosts also will have a variety of options of who they would like to house.
But 20,000 visitors all over Burlington aren’t the only thing that need to be accommodated. There will be a number of road closures throughout the event.
Riders will come in from Middletown on U.S. 34 Business. From there, they will take Iowa 406 over to Great River Medical Center.
Riders will detour onto some of the access roads at GRMC. An initial idea was to have the riders cut in front of the hospital, taking Agency Road to Gear Avenue, but concerns about difficulty accessing the hospital led to some rerouting.
Instead, riders will travel along the back side of the hospital, past the Klein Center, leaving via the main exit of the hospital. Cars will be rerouted to a different exit, but those details aren’t finalized.
Riders will then travel along Gear Avenue until reaching West Avenue. Then they will turn on West Avenue, then Howard Road before turning onto Mason Road, crossing Roosevelt Avenue, and heading to the campgrounds
Mason Road will be closed from Roosevelt Avenue to at least Edward Stone Middle School. This will give riders easy access to the main campgrounds. The major detour for road traffic will be at Division Street.
Front Street also will be closed, as well as Valley Street from Front to Sixth street. The closures will accommodate the evening’s party, which will be held in the parking lot between Burlington Memorial Auditorium and the Port of Burlington. Vendors will be set up along Valley Street.
It has not been announced what routes riders will take to the Burlington riverfront, but those details will become clearer in the coming weeks. More road closures will be announced as RAGBRAI draws closer.
Additional announcements about entertainment, vendors and volunteer needs are expected to come in the weeks leading up to RABGRAI.