Charles City, Iowa – Have you heard? RAGBRAI is coming to Charles City on Wednesday.
The “Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa” is expected to bring 20,000-25,000 visitors to stay overnight in our fair city. While this may result in a few inconveniences to residents for a day or so, it also is a huge economic and tourism boost for our community.
The Charles City RAGBRAI Committee want Charles Citians to be ready and to enjoy this special day as we show off our community. Therefore they have provided the following summary of what to expect and a few suggestions to make residents’ lives a little easier that day:
Answers to your questions
Most questions regarding RAGBRAI, like routes and other maps, entertainment, activities, etc., can be answered by going online to www.charlescityragbrai.com or reading the special RAGBRAI tabloid that was in Monday’s Charles City Press. Extra copies of the tabloid can be found around town where you buy the Press.
You can also follow along on Facebook at Charles City RAGBRAI, as well as Twitter and Instagram @CC_RAGBRAI.
Local radio station 95.9 KCHA FM will also be covering the action.
If you meet riders who have questions you cannot answer, please send them to one of our Information Centers (main center located at the High School/Middle School Campus or downtown at the corner of Court St. and Main St.)
Main Street and North Jackson Street downtown will be closed to vehicle traffic up to Hulin St. as the bicycle riders will be coming in on 11th Street, down South Main and into the downtown area. The route turns at Hulin and heads toward the High School via 6th Avenue, F St. and Owen St. RAGBRAI support vehicles will be coming into town on South Grand Avenue and checking in at the Kmart parking lot to see where their assigned space is around town. Driving anywhere downtown will likely be congested and slow moving. Employees and customers alike should plan on parking elsewhere and walking to businesses or RAGBRAI activities on Main and Jackson.
Better yet, there will be a special RAGBRAI shuttle service operating Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. Thursday, where for $1 you can hop on and let someone else drive you downtown and back. There will be four different color-coded routes offered: Orange covers the Armory, College Grounds, High School/Middle School campus, Messiah Lutheran Church and I.C. Ballfields. Blue covers the Sportsmen’s Park and Washington School areas. Green goes to South Grand Avenue, Andres Memorial Park and the Kmart parking lot. Red, meanwhile, goes to Wildwood Park and Lion’s Field Park. The route map can be found in the tabloid as well as www.charlescityragbrai.com. People wearing the official purple Charles City RAGBRAI t-shirt or orange volunteer t-shirt can ride for FREE!
If you don’t need to drive, don’t. That includes cars, trucks and motorcycles. If you need to drive, leave early and plan your route according to the RAGBRAI maps. Bikes are a great way to get around, but please stay off the official RAGBRAI routes to avoid accidents.
Officially licensed RAGBRAI golf carts will be running around the streets on Wednesday, but unless your cart or ATV is officially registered with the CC RAGBRAI Committee, it is illegal to use on the street.
Entertainment and Activities
Most of the official entertainment and activities for RAGBRAI will be on North Jackson Street and around the Central Park area, including both entertainment stages. Please see the tabloid or website for full schedule and map. All Charles City RAGBRAI entertainment and activities are open to the general public.
Cell phone service
With an extra 20,000 or so cell phone users in town, some cell phone service Wednesday may be slower than usual or flat out unavailable at times due to the systems being overwhelmed. Different service providers will be affected differently. Plan accordingly and be patient.
Groceries and Ice
The common sense approach here is to go to the store and buy your groceries and ice Tuesday, before the crowds arrive. Otherwise you will probably be standing in line and find a lot of things in short supply or sold out on Wednesday.
Speaking of lines, it would be smart to gas up by Tuesday night before the hundreds of support vehicles start showing up Wednesday morning.
Have fun with it!
Having RAGBRAI in town is a special and rare occurrence. They will be in and out before you know it, so please have a little patience and understanding knowing this is a one-day deal. Better yet, enjoy and have fun with it. RAGBRAI is a spectacle to behold and a great chance to meet and interact with riders from around the world. In addition, hosting RAGBRAI offers local residents a chance to sample food vendors and enjoy entertainment that they usually don’t see in town. This is supposed to be about having fun and celebrating Iowa, so join in on the fun and celebrating!
To find more information including food vendors, menus and anything else you need to know, please click here.