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Area braces for ride on

BY BILL COONEY | JULY 23, 2015 5:00 AM

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A flood of more than 20,000 bodies and bikes will cruise into eastern Iowa this weekend.

As the annual ride rolls across the state, local towns in the path are preparing for the onslaught that is RAGBRAI.

Coralville will welcome RAGBRAI participants for the fifth time in the history of the event on Friday. It will be the first time, however, that the festivities will be held at Coralville’s Iowa River Landing.

Coralville Mayor John Lundell, said the City is excited and prepared to welcome the bikers.

“We’re looking forward to it; we already have more than 600 volunteers signed up to help out,” he said. “It’s going to be exciting to see it at the River Landing; something like RAGBRAI has never been done there before.”

The events at River Landing will be highlighted with a performance by the band Cheap Trick at 8 p.m. Events at the River Landing will begin at 4 p.m. with the opening of the beverage garden and a performance by the University of Iowa Alumni Band.

Other activities for riders will take place across Coralville throughout the day. A family-friendly stage will be located at Morrison Park, and movies will be shown indoors for those wishing to beat the heat at the Northwest Junior High theater.

Bikers looking to camp in Coralville will have several options.  Northwest Junior High and Morrison Park will be home to the main campgrounds and shower facilities. Quiet camping will also be available eight blocks to the east in Central Park.

Riders will departing Coralville on Saturday morning on Highway 6, where they will then turn on First Avenue and enter Iowa City.

After leaving Coralville, riders will pass Kinnick Stadium, the first time in RAGBRAI’s history it has gone by the home of the Hawkeyes. After this, the riders will continue through the UI campus, go around the Pentacrest on the north side, and continue on Iowa Avenue.

On Saturday morning, Iowa City will host a “Ride and Shine” event, which will include food and refreshments from Farmers’ Market vendors and local restaurants to help riders fuel up for the day ahead.

The route will take riders directly by bicycle-theme restaurant Ride, 630 Iowa Ave.

Restaurant manager Matt Nugent said even though the restaurant wasn’t planning anything special for the race, it would be ready.

“We’re expecting quite a few people to come by and have breakfast on Saturday,” Nugent said. “We’ll be well stocked up, I don’t think we’re going to run out of anything.”

Iowa City police say they expect to keep streets used by RAGBRAI closed from 5:45 a.m. to sometime around 10 a.m. on Saturday, and drivers should plan accordingly.

RAGBRAI is famous for its parties, and this year should be no exception. Last call at the Iowa River Landing beverage garden will be at 11:30 p.m., but the party will not stop there.

Nugent said Ride has been stocking up on one item in particular in order to satisfy the RAGBRAI horde.

“We’ve got plenty of beer,” he said. “No way we would run out of that.”


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