Lansing RAGBRAI holds public forum seeking volunteers and offering logistical information about the late July event

by Julie Berg-Raymond

RAGBRAI - the oldest, largest and longest multi-day bicycle touring event in the world - is coming to northeast Iowa in late July this year, and Lansing has been selected as the final tire-dip destination.

Ian Zahren, Lansing RAGBRAI executive chair, led a public forum at Kee High School Wednesday, June 15 to provide the community with details about the logistics of being the final stop on the ride, and to encourage area residents to volunteer for the event. Allamakee County Emergency Management Coordinator Corey Snitker also spoke at the forum and advised attendees that his department is working with local fire and police departments and the railroad to ensure a safe and pleasant experience for everyone involved.

“The aim is to make this efficient for residents and the police department, and safe for bicyclists,” Zahren told forum attendees.

Zahren estimated that Lansing RAGBRAI will generate around $160,000 in revenue; all profits will go directly back into the community. Once expenses are paid, mini-grant applications will be available by which local non-profits and schools may apply for funding. A six-member advisory board will review and vote on the applications. Lansing RAGBRAI Executive Chair Ian Zahren will not vote.

For further information, residents are encouraged to visit The website is updated frequently; any questions not answered on the website can be directed to any of the committee members, as contact information is also provided. Throughout the event, RAGBRAI Lansing’s on-the-ground headquarters is Lansing Office Works, located at 274 Main Street.

Volunteers are needed in the following areas: communications, greeters, entertainment, beautification, set-up and/or clean-up, food and vending, hospitality, housing, information centers, law enforcement, medical, public safety, publicity, Ride Right, showers/sanitation/recycling, transportation, parking supervision, beverage garden, budget and campgrounds. Taking pictures of riders posing for their final dip, helping manage traffic on Main Street, or directing riders where to go at the information center are other possibilities for volunteering.

All volunteers will receive a t-shirt and are invited to Volunteer Appreciation Night scheduled for September 1.

Those interested in volunteering can contact Volunteer Coordinator Stephanie Runkle at 563-568-8227 or by email at Volunteer sign-up can also be accomplished online at Volunteers can select the area in which they would like to work, and can include special requests/considerations, where applicable.

This year, two bluegrass bands will provide entertainment Saturday, July 30. Buffalo Express will play from 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.; and Squirrel tail will play from 12:30-3:30 p.m. Bands will be set up on Third Street between the Plaza and Horsfalls. For more information about the bands, visit

The logistics of hosting an event like RAGBRAI, particularly as its destination tire-dipping site, are complicated. “We have been working on this now for six months,” Zahren said. “And Bruce and Mary Palmborg (of Main Street Lansing) have been putting in a ton of work for even longer than that.”

Information provided here is the most up-to-date information available at press time; updates will continue to be available at The weekend prior to the final tire dip day, bicyclists and support teams will be making preparations for their final arrival, many coming to the Lansing area Friday-Saturday, July 22-23.

Between 1,500 and 2,000 riders will be arriving in Lansing to park their cars. For maps identifying locations of camping venues, public/private housing, as well as vendors and parking, etc., visit On the backs of riders’ parking passes, maps will provide directions for getting out of town when the ride is over, July 30.

No Parking ordinances will be in place to accommodate charter buses; most charters will be parked on both sides of Main Street, going west. Shower trailers will be kept outside of town.

No Parking Ordinances beginning Friday, July 22 will include the following:
• City lot by the Lansing City Office (Barricades will be up around lot).
• South side of Center Street from 5th Street past 6th Street.
• Police Department control at the intersection of Main and Second Streets to help traffic congestion.

Saturday, July 30, approximately 15,000 riders and guests will be arriving in Lansing to dip their tires into the Mississippi River. Riders will be coming into town between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. Additionally, there will be 50 charter buses, 25 Penske trucks to carry bicycles, 75 support teams and 18 vendors in town.

Bicyclists will be arriving from West Union, via Waukon - about a 65-mile ride on that final day. They will ride from Waukon via Elon Road onto Lansing Harpers Road to south Front Street into Lansing. Support vehicles, teams and charters will arrive on Highway 9, from the west.

Road closures for that Saturday, July 30 will include the following:
• Main Street Closed from the Mississippi River to 6th Street.
• South Front Street/Great River Road closed from Lansing Harpers Road/X42 to Main Street.

Detours around those road closures will include:
• Center Street from 6th to 2nd Streets will act as the official Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) approved detour for Highway 9/Main Street.
• Detour through Southtown July 30 will involve Front Street and Wall Street (should be manned) to Pearl Street up to 2nd Street to Valley Street to 4th Street.
• Controlled Police Department two-way stop at 2nd Street and Main Street.

No Parking Ordinances in place Saturday, July 30:
• City Lot by City Hall.
• High School Athletic Complex.
• Center Street by the Fire Station.
• Both the north and south sides of Main Street from 6th Street out of town to Expresso.
• Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Streets from Center Street to Main Street on both sides.
• West side of 5th Street from Center to Dodge.
• North side of Dodge Street behind the school.
• Valley Street, which is the detour for VIP Parking out of town.

Concluding the forum, Zahren emphasized that, while perhaps causing some minor, short-term inconveniences for residents, hosting RAGBRAI as the final, tire-dipping stop is really a win-win for the town.

“We want the community to come and celebrate with us,” he said. “It’s not just for the riders; it’s for the community. There will some really amazing bands and great food.”

And, while most riders will be leaving the area after completing the ride July 30, Zahren suggested they’ll probably be back. “They’ll want to come back to Lansing - and spend money.”