Last month, members of the RAGBRAI staff announced in a Facebook post they were quitting and starting their own week-long cross-state cycling event, Iowa’s Ride, that would compete directly with the well-established Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa. According to that Oct. 15 post, Iowa’s Ride would follow a west-to-east route, as RAGBRAI always does, and would happen the same week as RAGBRAI, July 19-25.
On Friday morning, Iowa’s Ride’s staff announced in a Facebook post that they were going in a different direction — literally. They have decided to switch to an east-to-west route, and are changing the date of the event so it no longer directly conflicts with RAGBRAI.
We have been meeting with and listening to many cycling teams and cyclists throughout the state…. 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.
We want to do the right thing for riders in Iowa, so we will change the dates of Iowa’s Ride to begin riding on Sunday, July 12th and end on Saturday, July 18th. IOWA’S RIDE will also start on the eastern edge of Iowa in a Mississippi River town and travel west, ending seven days later in Western Iowa.
Iowa’s Ride is offering to refund entry fees to anyone “disappointed by this decision.”
Despite the Facebook post, Iowa’s Ride’s official website still had the old information posted on Friday morning, listing the dates for the event as July 19-25, and stating, “Iowa’s Ride will travel across Northern Iowa, beginning somewhere along Iowa’s western border and ends along the eastern border on the Mississippi River.”
T.J. Juskiewicz, who served as RAGBRAI’s director for 16 years, said in October he and his fellow RAGBRAI staff members quit over constraints placed on their ability to communicate with members of the RAGBRAI community and the general public regarding a $50,000 donation to the University of Iowa’s Stead Family Children’s Hospital in support of fundraising efforts for the hospital inspired by Carson King.
According to Iowa’s Ride’s site, the route announcement for the inaugural ride will be revealed later this month.