I was not surprised when I read that receipts for the Counting Crows concert did not meet expectations of the RAGBRAI planning committee. RAGBRAI came to Cedar Rapids on a Thursday, while Friday is a workday for most. The concert was not scheduled to begin until 9:30 p.m. The riders rode 79 miles that day. Each campground also had entertainment.
My husband and I hosted riders who arrived around 3 p.m. They were all in bed by 9 p.m. They wanted a shower, air conditioning, order-out pizza and early bedtimes. They were up and on their bikes at 5 a.m., an hour before the vendors at Breakfast on the Bridge were open. When RAGBRAI came to Hiawatha, I also hosted riders and the schedule was the same — early to bed and early to rise.
RAGBRAI is not the Freedom Festival, when we wait until it’s dark for the show of fireworks. I hope if RAGBRAI comes to Cedar Rapids again, the planning committee consider that many riders are not partyers and that the main entertainment start earlier in the evening, such as 6 p.m. An earlier time may entice business people to enjoy the festivities right after work while still being able to keep their work schedule on Friday.
I will gladly host riders again. They were all courteous and appreciative of the Iowa hospitality.