By Mike Whittlesey

RIDE LPC 7-23

At a meeting with RAGBRAI officials last week, much attention was focused on the services and activities that get riders to dismount from their bikes to spend their time and money in the communities along the route. There can be no denying that RAGBRAI offers tremendous economic opportunities for each city and town the riders visit. And with at least ten miles separating La Porte City from the nearest communities on the route, many cyclists will certainly be ready for a break when the trail leads them to La Porte City.

RAGBRAI’s last visit to La Porte City came in 1983. Since that time, the event has grown more than 30%, if measured solely by the number of riders participating. Fortunately, our community has some experience with planning a summer party, though six hours of RAGBRAI in LPC has the potential to make the two day Festival of Trails Celebration look almost pedestrian.

This year, there are nearly 50 cities and towns along the RAGBRAI route, including a half dozen or so even smaller, unincorporated communities. More than half of them are populated by fewer than 1,000 people. Preparing your community to greet and serve a group more than ten times its size is a monumental undertaking. Yet each year, hundreds of small towns throughout the state lobby to bring RAGBRAI to their communities. Why? In addition to the millions of dollars riders from each of the 50 states pour into local economies, RAGBRAI offers the cities and towns along the route an unprecedented opportunity for self-promotion.

On July 23rd, what will the visitors who pass through La Porte City remember most about our city? Do you have an idea for a theme and/or activities that will make the day especially memorable? If so, the city’s RAGBRAI Steering Committee wants to hear it. As our community begins the process of preparing for the event, the level of enthusiasm already being expressed by local citizens is an indication that riders who stop in La Porte City will leave better for the experience.

For the latest information about RAGBRAI’s visit to La Porte City, visit the La Porte City Facebook page devoted to RAGBRAI at facebook.com/ridelpc723 or www.theprogressreview.co/ragbrai. You can also use these sites to share your ideas for making La Porte City an unforgettable stop on the RAGBRAI tour. In anticipation of the events that will take place in La Porte City on July 23rd, many, many volunteers will also be needed in the days before, during and after RAGBRAI’s visit. Want to help? Logon today to complete a volunteer form or call City Hall at 342-3396 to express your desire to share your time and talents with what promises to be the biggest community event of the year. Volunteer forms are also available at City Hall (202 Main Street) and The Progress Review (213 Main Street).

Additional information about the ride, including RAGBRAI’s rules and regulations for vendors, will be published in The Progress Review and posted online as it becomes available.