Sioux Center, Iowa — The annual weeklong bicycle trek from one end of Iowa to the other begins Sunday in the state’s northwest corner and concludes on the banks of the Mississippi River next Saturday. It’s the 40th year for RAGBRAI, the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa. Director T-J Juskiewicz says Sioux Center is the starting point and the town will be packed with pedaling people.
The cyclists will travel through 52 Iowa communities over the next week. The forecast is calling for more of the same hot, dry weather that’s hung around th past few weeks. Juskiewicz says the bikers should be ready to handle the heat.
On the local end of things, motorists should prepare for lots of extra traffic in the Sioux Center area through midday Sunday. We talked to Iowa State Patrol Trooper Vince Kurtz about the route and how to stay safe around it.
Kurtz says if you’re traveling north or southbound and want to get AROUND Sioux Center rather than INTO it, he has some other advice.
He says bicycle riders are SUPPOSED to obey all the rules of the road, but when they get going as a group on Sunday morning, that may not exactly happen, and if you encounter them, he advises you to be very careful.
Kurtz says many bicyclists will stop, and obey all traffic rules, but motorists should prepare for those that don’t. He says that with so many thousands of bikes, enforcing the law is not easy — so people should just prepare to give them the right of way.
Kurtz also advises people headed for Sioux Center for partying that they should have a designated driver — especially with all the extra bike and vehicle traffic. Plus, people can expect a large law enforcement presence as well.
RadioIowa assisted with this story.