Sheldon, Iowa — The annual RAGBRAI® bike ride starts on Sunday, July 20th in Rock Valley and heads toward Sheldon on Highway 18. Sheldon will be the designated meeting point that day where riders can meet up with their support vehicles, which will be taking a different route. The routes meet in Sheldon.
Heidi Brown is one of the Sheldon leaders who are organizing what’s going to happen in Sheldon on Sunday. She tells us most of the activities will be in Sheldon’s City Park.
She says there will be quite a variety for the guests.
Brown says there will be more than just food vendors.
Brown says it should be a lot of fun, but she says that getting around in a car or pickup could be a bit of an issue.
Sheldon Emergency Management Director Walt Pruiksma says he has some advice for motorists.
Sheldon Police Chief Lyle Bolkema says that traffic on Highway 18 West will be impacted the most, with riders coming in on 18 and leaving town on Country Club Road northbound.
Pruiksma says it would be best — if you could — to avoid Highway 18 on Sunday morning.
Speaking of church services, several churches have advised us that they will have a different schedule this weekend.
First Christian Reformed Church will have a 9:30 AM Service. Sheldon United Methodist Church will have one Saturday service, at 4 PM. Immanuel Christian Reformed will have a worship service at 8 AM on Sunday. St. Paul Lutheran Church will have their worship service Saturday evening at 5:30. This service will be recorded and broadcast at the normal time on KIWA-FM Sunday morning at 9:00. Parkview Assembly will have their service in the parking lot on Sunday at 9:30 AM. And in Boyden, Boyden First Reformed Church services will be Saturday night at 7:00 PM at the Presbyterian Church in Boyden.
Pruiksma also emphasizes that people should abide by the No Parking signs and barricades in the blocks east, west and south of the city park on Sunday morning. Several of these closed streets will be used for RAGBRAI activities.
The bike route leaves Rock Valley going east on the north side of Rock Valley taking B14 and K42 to get to Highway 18. The riders will then stay on 18 as it makes the one-mile jog on Highway 75 at Perkins. Riders will continue through Hull and Boyden on their way to Sheldon. The map shows riders leaving Sheldon going north, on Country Club Road and then meeting up with Northwest Boulevard and picking up B14, crossing Highway 60, and traveling east for a few miles. Then they’ll find L40 north and A52 east before jogging a mile north on Highway 59. Then they’ll take A48 through Melvin, do a couple more short jogs and end up in May City before they take A34 to Milford and the lakes area to stay the night.
Meanwhile, there are two support vehicle routes.
For those meeting bikers in Sheldon, they will leave Rock Valley southbound on K30. They will meet up with B30 and head east through Carmel. At Highway 75, they’ll head south to Sioux Center. There they’ll pick up B40 westbound and take that through Newkirk and turn north on Highway 60 at Hospers. They will be asked to take either Exit 31, which is the Business 60 exit, or the Country Club Road Exit (Exit 33) at Sheldon. There is no designated meeting point in Sheldon. Each team will make those arrangements individually. The support vehicles will then leave Sheldon on Highway 18 eastbound and turn on Highway 71 northbound in Spencer and travel north to Milford.
For those support vehicles not planning to meet in Sheldon — if they are going to be using the north campgrounds in the Lakes Area, they can take a north route out of Rock Valley. That route takes K30 northbound, and picks up A34 just east of Alvord. From there they follow A34 to near the Lakewood Corner on Highway 75. They’ll take Highway 75 northbound to Rock Rapids, and then take Highway 9 straight through to the Lakes Area.
For more information, click here for our RAGBRAI page.
Click here for the Sunday and Monday support vehicle maps. Note that there is also a north route for support vehicles if they are not meeting their bikers in Sheldon and they are using the north campgrounds in the Lakes area.