RAGBRAI LI Day Passes are still available!

Riders pour into Altoona

  • 28 July, 2011

The rolling city of RAGBRAI creates a whirlwind every time it stops for the night. The 8,000-plus riders alone can double the population of many overnight cities.

Now add even a small chunk of Polk County’s 430,000 residents who wanted to join Wednesday’s party in the Des Moines suburb of Altoona.

“Altoona is definitely bigger, and there’s a lot more energy,” said Gary Briere, 56, of Massachusetts. “A big venue like this is really fun.”

The town square is a popular meeting place all along the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa. Altoona doesn’t have one, so instead it set up two main entertainment venues (one for adults, one family-friendly) with 60 buses shuttling visitors around.

Julie West said she and other Altoona RAGBRAI organizers planned for a crowd of 40,000. She expected 120 riders to spend the night in her yard.

Then the rolling city moves on.

“Reality will hit tomorrow when everything is over, and I’ll ask myself, ‘What just went through here?’ ” West said.

1 Comment

  1. Rebecca cook

    Pouring sweat from our hot tired sun fried skin is what we did when the town decided ahead of time to close the pool at 5 pm wow. Ithink he heat was mid 90’s at that time with an increadible heat index thank you all the other ragbrai towns for keeping your pools open till the normal time. Sounds like that altoona made a bad choice. Mr mayor and city administrator park board did you really want to do this to thousand people. May you have a second chance in years to come to do better.

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