RAGBRAI XLIX registration is now open!

RAGBRAI Route Inspection Pre Ride Ready to Launch from Le Mars!

  • 5 June, 2021
  • Andrea Parrott

The RAGBRAI Route Inspection Pre-Ride Team arrived in Le Mars this afternoon as we prepare for our seven-day journey across the state. Approximately 25 members of the RAGBRAI Route Inspection Pre-Ride Team, including RAGBRAI Director Dieter Drake, Social Media Manager Andrea Parrott, and the Iowa Bicycle Coalition’s Executive Director Mark Wyatt will ride the entire RAGBRAI route approximately 50 days in advance of the event. This year’s ride will encompass 454 miles across the state, from Le Mars to Clinton. We will also be joined by local RIDE RIGHT Committees in their areas of the state.

RAGBRAI XLVIII is dedicated to Jim “Greenie” Green, our beloved former Director and ice cream connoisseur. He was the founder of the Dream Team, and just a friendly, funny human to be around. His favorite saying was that old Irish blessing that says in part, “May the road rise to meet you, and may the wind be always at your back…” We remember him this year with the cowbell icon, when he ran the Route Inspection he would ring the bell Enthusiastically to signal when it was time for us to get back on the road.

Some memories of Greenie from his friend and coworker, former Iowa Columnist Chuck Offenburger: http://offenburger.com/index.php/as-iowa-prepared-to-say-godspeed-to-jim-greenie-green-one-of-the-most-fun-loving-individuals-ever-to-come-our-way/

For a little more on Greenie: https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/2019/06/17/ragbrai-director-jim-green-dies-greenie-registers-annual-great-bicycle-ride-across-iowa-juskiewicz/1477030001/

This year marks our sixteenth Route Inspection.  The mission of the Route Inspection Ride is to spend an entire week inspecting the route and teaching the local RIDE RIGHT Committees what to do with the information learned during the inspection ride. We will meet with the 8 overnight towns and over 40 pass-through town leaders along the way to review their RAGBRAI game plans. We will also be looking at traffic patterns since we will be riding the route on the same day of the week that RAGBRAI will ride on later this summer.

RAGBRAI works diligently with the RIDE RIGHT committees to continually inspect the roads and report potential hazards to local officials and engineers who might be able to repair the roadways.  The local RIDE RIGHT committee also alerts home owners on the route about the event and educates townspeople about bicycle safety.  Many committees will host bike rodeos, helmet giveaways and other safety events for the community’s youth prior to RAGBRAI’s arrival.

In addition to reporting on road conditions, we will be posting a daily update to RAGBRAI.com, and pointing out some places of interest along the route that riders wouldn’t want to miss.  The Route Inspection Team will also be inspecting some of the tasty treats that the town will be serving to RAGBRAIers in July.

A big thanks to Rich Ketcham of Geobike for devising the high-tech GPS tracking system for this year’s pre-ride and Mark Wyatt, the executive director of the Iowa Bicycle Coalition and the RIDE RIGHT state chairman, for helping with all safety aspects of the ride.

The team met Saturday evening with the local Le Mars RIDE RIGHT Committee to discuss Sunday’s pre-ride and safety concerns in their community. For the past several years, the Ride Inspection Team has been joined daily on their trek by the local committee members as well as local bike club members and bike shop owners that are willing to help.


We LOVE visiting Le Mars, as they are the Ice Cream Capital of the World. I mean come on! It’s also a beautiful town in northwest Iowa with lots of community artwork and history.

Things will kick off on Saturday, July 24 with the RAGBRAI Expo taking place in downtown Le Mars. The expo will feature the return of the RAGBRAI Outlet Tent, over 80 cycling related vendors, food, a beverage garden and music! For those who explore the rest of Le Mars, and we highly recommend you do, you’ll enjoy the many local restaurants, warm up on their nice trail system, bars, a brewery and more this July!

Le Mars just announced a massive band line up including Material Girl and the Fame Monster (Madonna/Lady Gaga tribute group), Free Fallin’ (Tom Petty tribute group), Rodrigo Navarro (magician/illusionist), and their headliner, Flashback Heart Attack (America’s Best Cover Band!) For more info: RAGBRAILeMars.com

For more information on Le Mars’ RAGBRAI plans, visit their page on our site: https://ragbrai.com/route-maps/le-mars/

Le Mars Fun Facts
Le Mars was platted in 1869, but no lots were sold until the Iowa Falls and Sioux City Railroad, later part of the Illinois Central Railroad, arrived in 1870. Railroad magnate John I. Blair hosted an excursion to the new town, which was then called St. Paul Junction.

Blair asked the women in the party to name the town, and they submitted an acronym based upon their first names’ initials: Lucy Ford and Laura Walker, Ellen Cleghorn or Elizabeth Underhill, Martha Weare and Mary Weare, Adeline Swain, Rebecca Smith and Sarah Reynolds. (Note that some letters represent more than one person.) There was some subsequent uncertainty about who the women of the acronym actually were. For example, the city’s web page contains a somewhat different list. 

Blue Bunny ice cream was named as the result of a contest. The winner of the $25 prize suggested “Blue Bunny” because his son had enjoyed seeing blue bunnies in department store windows at Easter. 

In the late 1800s, in the peak of Le Mars’ “hey-day,” the community was one of the most wellknown cities, along with Chicago, New York and St. Louis, as one of the most popular American vacation destinations. It was also a place for young Englishmen, especially the “second sons” of elite families were encouraged to travel to Le Mars to learn the business of farm management. Because of this, golf was first introduced west of the Mississippi in Le Mars.  

Click this text for more Le Mars Fun Facts!

Follow on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ragbrailemars
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Ragbrailemars
Instagram: @RAGBRAILeMars

JustGoBike Podcast

Tune in to our daily podcast from pre-ride with a recap of the day’s route, fun things seen along the way, and special guests. Featuring podcast hosts Kathy Murphy aka Murphology and Andrea (AP) Parrott aka ParrottTalk. 

Be sure to tune in each day for Route Inspection updates:
Social Media * Here on RAGBRAI.com * JustGoBike Podcast
ft. Kathy Murphy aka Murphology and ParrotTalk!
We’ll release a JustGoBike Podcast every day! Including fun facts and RAGBRAI plans from the pass-through towns on RAGBRAI XLVIII

You can also follow the pre-ride adventure and learn interesting tidbits about the route by following us on social media:
Facebook: Facebook.com/RAGBRAI
Instagram: @RAGBRAI 
Murphology Podcast on Instagram: @MurphologyPodcast
JustGoBike Podcast: soundcloud.com/JustGoBike

Have a great day and we will check in with you tomorrow! – Andrea

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