Mar 31, 2021 - News

A tale of two bike rides across Iowa

Lance Armstrong rides the third day of RAGBRAI on July 23, 2013 in Perry. Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Iowa's Ride announced on Tuesday that it will go from a statewide ride held the week before RAGBRAI to a weekend event in Eldora.

The state of play: TJ Juskiewicz, the organizer of the ride, told Axios that COVID-19 hampered his efforts, since overnight towns are still wary of the pandemic.

  • "What kept coming back was the safety of it," Juskiewicz said, citing severe weather concerns if riders couldn't have shelter.

Meanwhile, RAGBRAI is still going "full-steam ahead," according to Dieter Drake, the ride's new executive director.

  • To date, 10,000 riders have registered and day passes will be available soon.
  • "There's no slowing us down," Dieter added. "We're in full RAGBRAI-mode at this point."

How we got here: It's a really long story, but it involved a RAGBRAI staff revolt led by Juskiewicz over the Des Moines Register's reporting on Carson King.

  • From that debacle came Iowa's Ride, a statewide ride eerily similar to the Register's namesake RAGBRAI.

Riding across the state two weeks in a row is inconceivable for most, forcing riders to choose one ride over the other.

  • When asked whether Iowa's Ride was divisive to the state's bicycling community, Juskiewicz said, "RAGBRAI is a great event. ... It's a great tradition that should go on for many, many years."

What's next: Juskiewicz said he plans on continuing Iowa's Ride in Eldora for years to come.

This story first appeared in the Axios Des Moines newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.


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