The Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa 2019 officially came to a close on Sunday. We were thrilled to be able to kick off the event and “UNleash” everything we love about Council Bluffs for our visitors.

Hosting the start of RAGBRAI would not have been possible without the generosity of our many sponsors, our RAGBRAI committee, and the staffing provided by the City of Council Bluffs, including our police department, fire department, the recycling center, and the department of public works.  

We are thankful to Pottawattamie County Conservation for coordinating and staffing campgrounds for riders, the Mid-America Center for providing space for the RAGBRAI Expo, all the businesses and landowners in the Mid-America Center entertainment district for their cooperation and patience in making the event successful and safe, the Iowa West Foundation for opening up the “spine area” of the Mid-America Center for use as a command center and a potential emergency shelter, Noddle Companies for providing us with a parking structure for riders needing long term parking solutions, and everyone involved that made this a safe event for everyone.

A huge thanks to our local businesses who welcomed riders and those that opened early to serve breakfast and drinks to riders on their way out of town like businesses on the 100 Block and Stay Sweet, Nicola’s. We are so proud to have had so many breakfast options for our visitors at such an early hour.

And most of all, we are so thankful to every single volunteer that came out and gave their time to welcome visitors and provide an example of Council Bluffs’ hospitality. We are also extremely grateful to those that hosted riders in their home or yards.

This is a huge event that would not have been possible to execute without our community rallying together to volunteer and to provide a welcoming environment such as all of those that cheered on the riders as they rode through town onto their next location.

To all of our locals, thank you for your patience and understanding of road closures and extra traffic. While you may have experienced some inconveniences, having 20,000 to 30,000 visitors in town is sure to provide a sizeable boost to our economy and hopefully many will make return visits, further helping our economy and local businesses grow.

That’s a wrap on RAGBRAI 2019. Thank you to everyone who made it memorable!

This post was originally published on July 31, 2019 on the Unleash Council Bluffs blog.