RAGBRAI’s route into Iowa City released

RAGBRAI 2012 — photo by Laurie Chipps

The route for Day 6 of RAGBRAI XLVI, which will bring cyclists into Iowa City, was released on Friday.

Day 6 starts at Sigourney in Keokuk County, and the route is 57.6 miles long. Riders will climb 1,413 ft. before they reach Iowa City, where they will spend the night.

The last time Iowa City was an overnight stop for RAGBRAI was 1976.

Day 6 map for RAGBRAI XLVI. — Used with permission of the Des Moines Register/RAGBRAI

“The route sounds pretty flat, pretty easy going,” Andrea Cohen of World of Bikes told Little Village. “If you’re trying to imagine climbing 1,000 ft. over a distance like that, think of it as rolling hills.”

Except, ironically, in Hills, the last town riders will pass through before reaching Iowa City.

“There are no hills in Hills,” Cohen said. “It’s completely flat. It’ll be a straight shot to Iowa City.”

Kalona has been designated as the “meeting town” for Day 6, where riders will take a scheduled break.

“When you roll into those [meeting] towns, there are people everywhere,” Cohen said. “You’ll see 10,000 people in a town where the population is only 800.”

Cohen is an experienced RAGBRAI rider.

“I grew up doing it with my family,” she said. “I’ve done RAGBRAI all the different ways you can. The last couple of times I did it, I only did a couple of the days.”

This year, Cohen will be doing something different. She is a volunteer with the city’s Free Wheels program, which lets kids who otherwise wouldn’t have a bike choose one from the collection of bikes impounded by the Iowa City Police Department. But to be able to keep the bike, they have to learn to maintain and repair it, as well as how to ride safely.

“At World of Bikes, we fix up the bikes and I teach a group of 15 kids how to ride safely,” Cohen said. “We’re planning on doing part of the Iowa City route with them.”

RAGBRAI, an annual ride from the Missouri River to the Mississippi, starts on Sunday, July 22 at Onawa in Monona County. After spending Friday night in Iowa City, riders will head to this year’s final destination, Davenport.