Monday, May 3, 2021

Volunteers will be key in keeping this summer's RAGBRAI rolling smoothly

(Radio Iowa) - Leaders of the eight Iowa communities that will be overnight stops for this summer's statewide bicycle ride are busy with dozens of details, one of the biggest of which is lining up hundreds of volunteers to help out. Mitch Christoffel is co-chair of the RAGBRAI executive committee in Le Mars, where this year's 454-mile trek will begin for thousands of pedalers.

"We need day-of volunteers," Christoffel says. "We need up to 400 people within the variety of different things that are going on that day, whether it's shuttles, law enforcement, whether it's help with the entertainment, help with downtown or serving in the beverage cart. We really need as many bodies as we can so we can put together some decent shifts."

Riders, support crews and spectators will start arriving in Le Mars on Friday, July 23rd, while the Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa officially begins that Sunday. Christoffel says they'll need to shelter, feed and entertain some 20,000 cyclists from around the world.

"Downtown will have our major expo area which is considered their entertainment space," Christoffel says. "We'll have a variety of different live music going on, we'll have a space dedicated by the Knights of Columbus Hall where there will be a beverage garden, and then vendors throughout the old Main Street area."

The northwest Iowa community is home to Wells Dairy and Blue Bunny Ice Cream, which is incorporated into the town's RAGBRAI logo. It resembles both an ice cream cone and a bicycle, along with an appropriate theme.

"It was extremely fitting and natural for us to pick 'Le Mars A La Road,' for bikers hitting the road, a play on ice cream, but also getting people excited about the ice cream capital of the world."

Le Mars last hosted the big bike ride in 2005. RAGBRAI begins July 25th in Le Mars and will pedal through Sac City, Fort Dodge, Iowa Falls, Waterloo, Anamosa and DeWitt before concluding July 31st in Clinton.

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