• Liz Boardman
  • Mon November 18 2019
  • Posted Dec 9, 2019
Headwinds facing RAGBRAI, an iconic weeklong statewide summer bike ride, are growing stronger as some Iowa tourism officials questioned whether it has been too skimpy in supporting the towns that host thousands of cyclists while it raises lucrative sums from fees and sponsorships.

Those questions could also beset a new event — called Iowa’s Ride — that had planned to compete head-to-head with RAGBRAI, but announced Friday it would go a week earlier instead.

The Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa generates some $2 million each year in rider fees alone, based on 10,000 weeklong rider passes at $175 each and 1,500 single-day passes each day at $35 per day. In addition, a publicly unknown amount is generated from merchandise, charter fees, vendors and sponsorships.

Among the many expenses, RAGBRAI employed four full-time staff members — the same four who unexpectedly quit in October with the former director. T.J. Juskiewicz, launching Iowa’s Ride.

Additionally, RAGBRAI split the cost with taxpayers of the salaries of 18-20 Iowa State Patrol troopers who provide public safety support on the route, according to a Des Moines Register report. The amounts have not been made public.

Messages to The Register, its Virginia-based owner, Gannett Co., and the Iowa State Patrol were not returned.






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