The Davenport City Council discussed applying to be a host city for 2018, 2022 for the Registers Annual Great Bicycle Race Across Iowa.
“The only way to do it, is to do it,” said Director of the Quad Cities Convention and Visitors Bureau Joe Taylor. If RAGBRAI chooses Davenport as a host city, then the QCCVB will create the committee that plans it. “And Davenport is remarkable.”
“I think this community knows how to throw a good party, we know how to deal with the infrastructure and that, is anybody can do it Davenport can.”
“We’ve proven that we have the infrastructure for it, it’s worked really well, super smooth the last few times we’ve done it,” said Kyle Carter, the director of the Downtown Davenport Partnership. “So, we have no doubt we can do it again.”
With the former Rhythm City Casino barge on it’s way to Keokuk and Main Street Landing plans taking shape, the entire Davenport riverfront will be taking on a new look. That’s part of the reason the idea of 20,000 visitors is so appealing to people who have put in work on the downtown over the last few years.
“The exciting thing is that in the short term, the riverfront is going to look dramatically different when the race hopefully comes here a year from now,” said Carter. “Five years from now, river vision could be very much developed and certainly Davenport will look enormously different from 50 years prior when it began.”
That’s right–the very firs RAGBRAI ended in Davenport. In 1973, the riders ended in Vander Veer Park, and didn’t know what to do. So they ended up riding down to the riverfront, where they put their bikes in the water and tradition was born.
“The original ride in 1973 ended in Davenport,” said Taylor. “So what better way to celebrate the heritage of the ride than to more or less recreate that ride.”
The end of RAGBRAI coincides with the Bix7 and Street Fest every year. Both Taylor and Carter say this isn’t a huge concern because they are confident in the downtown businesses, the infrastructure and law enforcement. It does mean that there is already entertainment in place, and adding RAGBRAI just adds to that excitement the city already knows.
“For a lot of cities, they scramble to put a big party together,” said Carter. “We’ve got a big party, it just gets a little bigger.”
The city decided to put in their application for the 2018 slot. They will hear about that at the end of January. They also decided to express their interest and their intent to apply for the 2022 host spot. That will come at a later date.
After the route is revealed by RAGBRAI in January, the committee can be formed and planning will begin for the July event.