Your guide to RAGBRAI Iowa City


Bikers just outside of Aspinwall, Iowa ride through the nearby farmland on July 23. (Roman Slabach/The Daily Iowan)

Whether you’re a cyclist who’s never been to Iowa City or a local who doesn’t know what RAGBRAI stands for, July 27 will go down in Iowa City history, and everyone’s invited to take part.

Since January, when RAGBRAI officials announced the annual bike ride would stop in Iowa City for the first time in more than 40 years, plans have been underway to make the night of July 27 unforgettable for both riders and residents.

As many as 20,000 people will ride into Iowa City that morning (and afternoon) from the south on Gilbert Street for the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, where they will be greeted at the Terry Trueblood Recreation Area or as they ride into downtown.

Most riders will camp at City Park, where shuttles will run to downtown for a day full of festivities and entertainment. Several streets will be closed throughout the day, which may cause some headaches for locals, but Iowa City Nighttime Mayor Angela Winneke said the day’s events will be fun for everyone.

“RAGBRAI is a spectacle in and of itself,” she said.

Downtown will be set up much like the annual city Block Party, during which several blocks are sectioned off with games, food, movies, merchandise, and music, and attendees can drink beer and wine outdoors on the sidewalks and Pedestrian Mall.

Admission to the event will be free for registered riders and anyone who plans not to drink. Others can pay $10 to have an open container within the confines of the event.

The event focuses on the same mission as the Block Party — supporting local businesses. Officials decided to have limited vendors to encourage patrons to spend money at Iowa City’s 110 downtown and nearby restaurants.

“We have great restaurants through downtown and the community,” Think Iowa City President Josh Schamberger said. “They will be more than able to accommodate for the needs of RAGBRAI.”

This comes at an appropriate time. Summer is often tough on local businesses because of the reduced student population, Winneke said.

“I think it’ll be a huge impact on the businesses,” she said.

Nick Pfeiffer, the Think Iowa City director of marketing and communication, said the effect on the local economy is expected to exceed $1.2 million — the amount of money that flowed into Coralville when the annual ride spent the night in 2015.

Pfeiffer said he’s more excited, though, about the riders who decide to come back to Iowa City after having a great time during RAGBRAI to see what the city has to offer on an ordinary day.

“To me, that’s the greater impact of what RAGBRAI brings, it brings new people to town and gets them a taste, and, hopefully, they’ll come back to really bite off some more of what we have here,” he said.


Schedule of Events

9 a.m. Screening of Wadjda (Senior Center)

Noon Beverage garden opens

Noon The Dana T Big Band (Side Stage – Washington and Linn Streets)

Noon Screening of Pee Wee’s Big Adventure

1 p.m. King Bolt (Side Stage – Washington and Linn Streets)

1 p.m. Screening of Emmanuel’s Gift (Senior Center)

2 p.m. Sister Wife (Side Stage – Washington and Linn Streets)

2 p.m. Screening of Triplets of Belleville (Iowa City Public Library)

3 p.m. Screening of Icarus (Senior Center)

3 p.m. Cedar County Cobras (Side Stage – Washington and Linn Streets)

4 p.m. James Tutson and the Rollback (Main Stage – Clinton Street and Iowa Avenue)

4 p.m. Screening of The Flying Scotsman (Iowa City Public Library)

5 p.m. Elizabeth Moen (Main Stage – Clinton Street and Iowa Avenue)

6 p.m. Iowa City RAGBRAI Break Dancing Competition (Side Stage – Washington and Linn Streets)

6 p.m. Screening of For the Love of Mud (Iowa City Public Library)

6:30 p.m. Blitzen Trapper (Main Stage – Clinton Street and Iowa Avenue)

7:30 p.m. Screening of Breaking Away (Iowa City Public Library)

8 p.m. DJ Competition and Dance Party (Side Stage – Washington and Linn Streets)

8:15 p.m. The Jayhawks (Main Stage – Clinton Street and Iowa Avenue)

8:30 p.m. Screening of Cultivation: Writing and Wrestling in Iowa City and Field of Dreams (Alley behind FilmScene)

Map via City of Iowa City

Route street closures

  • Gilbert Street from Highway 6 to Burlington; expect closures with the flow of bikes

  • Gilbert Street from Burlington to Market Street; closed

  • Gilbert Street from Jefferson to Highway 6; closed to southbound traffic on Saturday only

  • 300 block of E. Market Street between Gilbert and Linn; closed to traffic

  • Iowa Avenue westbound will be reduced to one lane between Madison and Riverside Drive, open to passenger vehicles no large trucks.

  • Riverside Drive from Highway 6 to River Street; closed to northbound traffic

  • Clinton Street from Bloomington to Burlington streets; closed

  • Dubuque Street from Jefferson to Washington streets; closed

  • Linn Street from Iowa Avenue to College Street; closed

  • Iowa Avenue from Gilbert to Clinton streets; closed

  • Washington Street from Gilbert to Clinton streets; closed

  • 300 block of E. College Street only accessible from Linn Street

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