RAGBRAI Route Will End In Davenport This Summer

Jan 29, 2018

Host towns are unveiled at the RAGBRAI Route Announcement Party in Des Moines on Jan. 27, 2018.
Credit RAGBRAI

Davenport will once again be the finish line for one of the biggest bicycle rides in the world.

RAGBRAI announced on Saturday the route for this summer's ride, which will start on the west end of the state in Onawa on July 22 and finish on the east end in Davenport on July 28, the same day as the Bix 7 Road Race.

In between, riders will lodge overnight in Denison, Jefferson, Ames, Newton, Sigourney, and Iowa City.

This year's route will be only the second time in the ride's 46-year history that it will stop in Iowa City, which hasn't hosted riders since 1976.

About 10,000 bicyclists ride RAGBRAI each year.

By tradition, riders dip their rear bicycle tires in the Missouri River or Big Sioux River (depending on the route) to symbolically begin their journey, and dip their front tires in the Mississippi River to mark the end.

According to RAGBRAI, this summer’s route will be easier compared to most rides in the past, as it will be the seventh shortest (428.1 miles) and the fourth flattest (about 12,576 feet of climb) in the ride's history.

This year's route will be the third time in the last seven years that RAGBRAI ends in the Quad Cities. RAGBRAI has visited Davenport five times—the first being in 1973 for the inaugural ride.

More than 200 towns expressed interest in being an overnight stop during this summer’s ride, according to RAGBRAI director T.J. Juskiewicz.

Selection as an overnight or terminal town is a major boon to local economies, as thousands of cyclists spend money on food and lodging during the excursion.

"You never know until that night the announcement party comes," said Quad Cities Convention and Visitors Bureau president and CEO Joe Taylor, of Davenport's odds. "But I felt confident that Davenport was going to be selected based on our history in 2011 and 2015."

RAGBRAI could generate hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Quad Cities economy, according to Taylor.

The deadline to apply online for week-long rider registration is April 1. Because demand exceeds capacity, a lottery randomly selects riders. The cost for week-long registration is $175.

One-day passes are also available for $30, and are not subject to the lottery.

Two newspaper columnists for The Des Moines Register started the ride.

RAGBRAI stands for the Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa.

Tori Charnetzki contributed reporting for this article.