Authorities have spent all year preparing for the 10,000-plus registered and unregistered bicyclists who reach Des Moines.
POLICE: Des Moines police plan to dedicate an entire patrol shift — about 30 officers — to policing the route, campgrounds and festivities on Court Avenue. The remaining two patrol shifts will work 12-hour days everywhere else in the city Tuesday and Wednesday.
DRIVERS: Crossing the metro area from west to east, the route for RAGBRAI’s first stop in Des Moines in 16 years could create some delays for commuters. North-south traffic will be most affected, and drivers trying to get downtown from the south when cyclists leave town Wednesday likely will see the longest delays.
COMING IN, GOING OUT: Downtown is hardly the only major site in the metro area for the RAGBRAI crowd. The shorter rides from Perry and to Knoxville will give riders time to sample West Des Moines’ historic Valley Junction area and its parties Tuesday, and to get an early look at the Iowa State Fairgrounds on Wednesday.
WHERE TO CAMP: The designated campsite in Des Moines is Water Works Park, a 1,500-acre park south of downtown.
FROM THE CAMPGROUND: Water Works Park is connected by trails to the primary entertainment area on Court Avenue and the Events Village along the Principal Riverwalk, but shuttle buses will be available to transport riders to RAGBRAI activities downtown. DART will provide free shuttle services as an expansion of its normal D-Line operation — which traditionally runs from the Western Gateway to the East Village along Grand Avenue and Locust Street — beginning at 10:30 a.m. and shutting down at midnight. Shuttles will operate at five- to seven-minute intervals. The campground’s pick-up and drop-off spot will be located at the same point where bicyclists enter the park. Pick-up and drop-off locations downtown can be found at designated D-Line locations along Locust Street, including near the World Food Prize building on the west side of the river and near Embassy Suites on the east side.
THE PARTY DOWNTOWN
WHERE THE ACTION IS:
It basically takes place around a square composed of the east and west banks of the Des Moines River and the Court Avenue and Walnut Street bridges. There is no cover charge or access fee. Bike valet and ATMs are available on the southwest and northeast corners of that square. Music stages are on the northwest and southeast corners, with performances starting at 11:30 a.m. and fireworks capping the evening off around 10 or 10:30 p.m. Featured bands Sponge, Filter, Live and Everclear will begin to play about 7 p.m. on the stage at the southeast corner. A craft beer truck featuring 20 tap handles will be parked on the southwest corner, and a similar craft beer tent will sit on the Walnut Street bridge. Other beer vendors will be scattered throughout the event. Free guided tours of the World Food Prize building, located near the northwest corner, will be offered at 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and noon, with self-guided tours between 1 and 4 p.m.
MORE SPECIAL EVENTS
Totally Tubular Tuesday RAGBRAI Party: Street party in Valley Junction with live music by Abby Normal, Comfort Zone and Fahrenheit, and food and beverage vendors from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free.
Party at el Bait Shop, 200 S.W. Second St.: One of the state’s most bicycle-friendly bars hosts an all-day outdoor party starting at 10 a.m. Tuesday with food and beer specials throughout the day. Brother Trucker, Charles Dickens and Ryne Doughty will perform.
Iowa Cubs vs. New Orleans, Principal Park, 1 Line Drive: RAGBRAI Night with ticket specials for riders. Tickets start at $6.
Sully’s Irish Pub, 110 Grand Ave., West Des Moines: $2 Bud Light and Miller Lite, $5 Red Bull vodkas, $1 off Irish whiskeys and more specials. 9 a.m.-noon Tuesday.
The Longest Yard, 1405 Walnut St., Dallas Center: Beer garden with Impact Pro Wrestling, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesday. Free.
Orlondo’s Bar and Grill, 4337 Park Ave.: The last bar before riders roll into Water Works Park has installed new bike racks and will have $3 tall boys on Tuesday.
Iowa State Fairgrounds: Sky Glider rides await and Grand Avenue vendors like the Steer n Stein and Jalapeno Pete’s will be open for business as riders head out of town Wednesday. The Chasing Shade band is supplying the tunes and, of course, there will be corn dogs.
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