DES MOINES, Iowa — With all the closings, postponements and cancellations the COVID-19 pandemic has caused, it can add another one to the list: RAGBRAI.
RAGBRAI staff announced Monday the 48th annual week-long bike ride would not be taking place this year amid the coronavirus. The plan, for now, is to shift all plans for the 2020 RAGBRAI to next year, meaning all towns that were slated to host will have that opportunity next year instead.
Mayor Gene Newgaard of Iowa Falls, one of the communities slated to host RAGBRAI this year, says the decision was made by RAGBRAI staff in conjunction with all of the overnight communities. There's a lot that goes into planning an event like RAGBRAI, and Newgaard says a lot of it was put on hold because of the pandemic.
"With this going on, planning, fundraising, everything came to a standstill. We knew that this was not the time to be asking businesses for contributions," Newgaard said. "We just felt that there wasn't enough time, even at that time, for things to turn around enough to make it prudent to have these things going on."
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Because it's not happening this year, next year's ride will still be considered RAGBRAI XLVIII. Anyone who has registered for this year's RAGBRAI and has paid in full will automatically be registered for next year. Those who have registered but have not paid in full will have until May 1 to pay.
RAGBRAI XLVIII will now be held on July 25-31, 2021. The route will take riders across a northern portion of Iowa, starting in LeMars and going through Storm Lake, Fort Dodge, Iowa Falls, Waterloo, Anamosa and Maquoketa before ending in Clinton.