Iowa City Finds ‘Homes’ for Expected Bike Throng

May 14, 2012 by   - () Comments Off on Iowa City Finds ‘Homes’ for Expected Bike Throng

So people want to know: Where are all these bikers staying in Webster City when the annual RAGBRAI bike ride invades this central Iowa city of 8,000 this summer?

According to Recreation Director Kent Harfst, at a number of places from city and county parks to the fairgrounds to backyards, The Daily Freeman reported.

“We have 6,000 to 7,000 already placed in Webster City,” he said. “I would say we are still looking at 5,000 to 6,000 that are still needing places to stay.”

RAGBRAI is an acronym for Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa. It is a non-competitive bicycle ride across Iowa sponsored by the Des Moines Register newspaper that draws recreational riders from across the United States and overseas. It is scheduled for July 21-28 this year.

Both East and West Twin Parks will be the home of The Des Moines Register Campgrounds. Harfst said that if a bicyclist is a registered rider and doesn’t have another place to stay – they can stay at the park.

A lot of biking groups will fill other city parks. The largest, Pork Belly Ventures LLC, of Council Bluffs, has more than 900 people. They will be occupying all of Nokomis Park.

“They are like their own community on wheels,” Harfst said. “What is interesting is they have kind of a cafeteria plan to pick from.”

The bike company will haul riders’ gear. Others associated with the group my want their tents set up and their bags placed inside.

“They have a large staff,” Harfst continued. “With that many people, you have to be organized.”

Pork Belly Ventures organizes its campground with a city-like grid. Harfst said that street names go down the aisles of tents, with each tent having a grid number and street name. He said that the crew has five semis converted to bunk houses – like a traveling motel room – many bicyclists are on a waiting list for such accommodations. There is even a semi converted to showers, as well as a semi that has been converted for portable toilets.

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