RAGBRAI announces cancellation of 2020 race

After discussions with town executive committees, business partners, and government agencies, RAGBRAI has announced it will move its ride to July 2021.


Emily Wangen

Bicycles are seen parked at Big Grove during the Big Rove bicycle event on Saturday, June 29, 2019. The route, which is part of the RAGBRAI training series, was 36 miles long starting in Iowa City with stops in North Liberty and Solon.

Lauren White, News Reporter

RAGBRAI announced Monday that the 48th-annual state-wide bike ride will be postponed to July 25-31, 2021. 

In a release, the RAGBRAI team said that the safety of riders has always been the focus, and they feel the decisions to postpone the race is the right one and is in everyone’s best interest. 

“RAGBRAI takes months of planning and preparation,” the release stated. “Based on the extreme disruption COVID-19 has had and will have on the planning, we didn’t feel it was responsible to move forward and put the safety of our riders, crew, communities, or residents of Iowa at risk.”

The route for the 2021 bike race will remain the same as it would have been for 2020, to give the included towns and businesses the opportunity they’re missing this year to showcase their communities. 

“While we wish we were biking across Iowa this July, our resolve is to make 2021 even better and we look forward to lifting these communities up when it is safe,” the release stated. 

RELATED: RAGBRAI staff announces resignation, new ‘Iowa Ride’

For those who already registered for the 2020 RAGBRAI race there are registration refund options. They can transfer their 2020 registration to the 2021 ride while not being subjected to the lottery and receiving a $15 merchandise voucher. 

Other options are to request a full refund of the 2020 registration or they can donate their registration to Iowa Bicycle Coalition, a non-profit that works to advocate, educate, and enhance bicycle laws and safety in the state. 

All riders must fill out a request form by June 1 to be eligible for a full refund, otherwise they will automatically be transferred to the 2021 ride.

“We understand how disappointing this news feels,” the release stated. “Please know that we didn’t take this decision lightly. We have spent the last month and a half talking to our partners, reworking our timelines, and while biking continues to be one of the safest things to do right now, we couldn’t take the risk that would endanger even one person come July.”

RAGBRAI saw major changes in October 2019 when the RAGBRAI staff announced their resignation due to disagreements with parent companies on offensive tweets by Carson King, who raised money for the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. 

The former staff’s new ride, “Iowa’s Ride,” is still on for this summer, according to the ride’s website. According to an updated release posted Monday, it is still too early to make a decision on whether to cancel the ride, which is set for July 12-18. 

“We will remain hopeful that the health risks will subside towards the end of summer. Again, our top priority is the safety of everyone involved in our inaugural event,” the release stated. 

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