RAGBRAI riders received a warm reception - in more ways than one - when they arrived in Glenwood Saturday for the start of their 454-mile trek across the state of Iowa.
The 39th running of the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa left from Glenwood at the crack of dawn Sunday morning. Bicyclists began arriving in Glenwood Thursday and Friday, but the majority of riders came to town Saturday, when temperatures climbed into the middle 90s and humidity levels put the heat index well over 100 degrees. A thunder shower cooled things off temporarily Saturday evening, but temperatures climbed right back into the 90s Sunday for the first leg of the ride to Atlantic.
Saturday’s steamy weather wasn’t enough to curb the excitement of the riders or hundreds of Glenwood-area residents working food vendor booths and performing volunteer tasks throughout the community. The campground and RAGBRAI Expo area around Glenwood Community High School was the hub of activity Saturday afternoon. By nightfall, Town Square was buzzing. Glenwood churches, restaurants, and food vendors provided RAGBRAI guests with a wide variety of dining options, ranging from steak and pork sandwiches to sweet corn and burgers.
The Glenwood RAGBRAI Committee’s Wild Southwest Saloon and several other outdoor beverage gardens around town provided cold beverages and entertainment throughout the night.
The bicyclists began riding out of town early Sunday morning. By 9 a.m., most of the 10,000-plus cyclists had already made it to Silver City and beyond. By mid-morning, the campground was deserted and clean-up of Town Square was well under way.
Glenwood Police Chief Eric Johnansen said the 40 law enforcement officers working RAGBRAI encountered few problems. Four arrests were made for public intoxication and two bicycle thefts were reported.
“Overall, I think it went extremely well,” Johansen said. “I haven’t heard too many complaints. We had some traffic congestion, but that’s going to happen when you get that many people in a confined space.”