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Inside Iowa State, a newspaper for faculty and staff, is published by the Office of University Relations.

July 3, 2008

Iowa State welcomes RAGBRAI

by Erin Rosacker

For the first time since 1983, RAGBRAI (the Des Moines Register's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa) will bring thousands of bike riders to Ames. On Tuesday, July 22, Ames and Iowa State serve as an overnight stop on the route.

The 56-mile leg from Monday's overnight stop in Jefferson takes riders through Grand Junction, Dana, Ogden and Boone. The first trickle of bikers is expected in Ames as early as 8 a.m., but organizers expect the big numbers to start rolling in around 10 a.m. and continue until 4 or 5 p.m.


Download map of RAGBRAI route (pdf) for a more detailed view.

Routing riders through campus

Following a trail of Cy's "footsteps" painted onto the roads, the route brings riders onto campus from the north via Stange Road, straight south through the Pammel Drive intersection and under a welcome archway sporting banners, music and cooling misters. Spectators are welcome to line the route.

Concrete barriers and bike racks will be removed from the Stange intersection at Osborn Drive (just as they are for the Veishea parade), where bikers will continue through campus via Osborn, Morrill, Union and Welch roads (see map).

Once bikers hit Welch, it's a straight shot to the Wallace and Wilson residence hall towers and designated camping areas at the ISU cross country course and open spaces surrounding the towers. An east-side camping area also is designated in the grass football tailgating lots at University Boulevard and South 16th Street.

The route will limit vehicle access to parts of campus for the day. Officials will announce a complete list of road closures and affected areas when they are finalized.

Overnighting in Ames

Participants have housing options other than roughing it in a tent. In addition to local hotels and private residences, rooms in the Wallace residence hall are available for $45. The cost per room (up to two occupants) covers linens, bath towels, washcloths and soap.

If you're interested in hosting a rider in your house or on your property, fill out the host housing form online.

Cyclone hospitality

ISU and Ames will roll out the red carpet, with daytime activities planned for central campus and the Memorial Union, Reiman Gardens, Campustown, the Main Street Cultural District and North Grand Mall. Shuttles (look for yellow school buses) will transport visitors from the camp areas to and from the entertainment venues.

An international festival with food and cultural presentations will take place in the Memorial Union, along with family events and activities. The Farm House Museum will open up to visitors from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., along with the Christian Peterson Art Museum in Morrill Hall. Guided tours of the two museums, along with the Art on Campus project, will begin at the top of the hour from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Reiman Gardens (open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.) will offer admission discounts for RAGBRAI participants, and feature live music and food from area restaurants beginning at 4 p.m. Snacks, beverages and beer service begins at 11 a.m.

An information tent on central campus (at Union Drive and Morrill Road), also will feature free giveaways. Expect to see bikers touring campus buildings.

Under the lights

The nighttime entertainment will be staged in the Iowa State Center parking lots from 5 p.m. to midnight. Admission is $10 for the public and $5 for RAGBRAI riders.

This "CYcling Country Festival" will feature live music performances by Styx and The Nadas. Proceeds from the event, including funds raised from selling Styx autographs and T-shirts, will go to the state's "Embrace Iowa: 2008 Disaster Fund."

Food and beverage vendors will set up in the area, and athletics department staff will hand out an estimated 10,000 I-State logo tattoos. They are larger than traditional face tattoos, so expect to see them pasted to the arms and legs of riders for the next few days of the ride.

On Wednesday morning, bikers will saddle up and depart Ames for the next leg of their journey -- a 75-mile trek to Tama-Toledo. Riders will be routed along South 16th Street and South Dayton Avenue to East Lincoln Way.

How to volunteer

Volunteers can help with the event in many ways -- hospitality, information, transportation, campground, festival and hosting. Volunteers receive an official T-shirt that allows them free shuttle transportation and free admission to the night entertainment.

Specially designed "CYcling Country" T-shirts also will guarantee free access to shuttle services and the night entertainment venue. The shirts are available for $20 at the University Book Store and Dogtown University on Hayward Avenue.

To volunteer, or get more information, go to and click on "Volunteers."

Ragbrai logo


Iowa State and Ames will be flooded with cyclists when RAGBRAI makes an overnight stop on Tuesday, July 22.


The route through campus and designated campgrounds.


For information on events, T-shirts or volunteer opportunities.