Riders make their way up East Hill Street in Lehigh, Iowa, during RAGBRAI XL on Tuesday afternoon, July 24, 2012. (AP Photo/The Des Moines Register, David Purdy)
CEDAR RAPIDS — Thousands of RAGBRAI bicyclists hitting town today is likely to be a boon for downtown restaurants and bars.
It’s also a potential hassle for people who work downtown and other residents trying to get around town. Rinse and repeat Friday when the cyclists have breakfast in Czech Village before heading to Anamosa.
More than 200 barricades will block most side streets along the cyclists’ route in and out of town.
Residents will want to avoid Cherry Hill, Ellis and Veterans Memorial parks — as well as Cherry Hill and Ellis’ pools — as those parks will be ground central for overnight accommodations.
On the other hand, the city is throwing one heck of a 40th anniversary party tonight for RAGBRAI, and residents are invited to the free activities at The Party on the Island.
Tickets also are still available for the Counting Crows’ Outlaw Roadshow ($25 in advance at the Theatre Cedar Rapids Box Office or $35 at the gate).
So join the fun, or grin and bear it.
What you’re saying
“I think it’ll be fun to have RAGBRAI come through, and I believe the traffic issues won’t be huge. This will let all of the cyclists that come through from across the state or the nation see how much work has been done in Cedar Rapids since the flood.” — Erin Gullickson, 32, of Iowa City, works in downtown Cedar Rapids
“It’ll be a long day. I don’t know what to expect. There’ll be a lot of people around, but will they come here? That’s the thing.” — Robin Morris, 53, of Central City, owner of Coffee Emporium & Cafe in downtown Cedar Rapids
“I think it’s wonderful. It’s really going to help the economy here in Cedar Rapids. It shows how downtown Cedar Rapids is coming back slowly but surely.” — Phoebe Rios, 35, of Cedar Rapids, owner of Salsa Del Rio downtown
“We’ll be coming in early and we’ll be staying late. As a matter of fact, I just may spend the night here.” — Karl Moscrip, 57, of Marion, owner of Hall Bicycle Co. downtown
“It’s really been a great opportunity to see all the communities come together after the flood. It’ll show the riders that coming from around the area and the country that Cedar Rapids does have a touch of something special here.” — James Weatherford, 32, of Cedar Rapids, owner of the Chop Shop in Czech Village
Package curated by Annette Schulte, Christy Aumer, David Miessler-Kubanek, Jim Riley/The Gazette