Forty-four years after being one of the host cities for the inaugural RAGBRAI, the city of Davenport has announced its intention to become a host city twice more in the upcoming years.
The Davenport City Council will vote on a resolution Aug. 23 to apply as a eastern Iowa endpoint for The Des Moines Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa for 2018 and 2022, which is the ride's 50-year anniversary.
Davenport has participated in RAGBRAI twice in the past six years, 2011 and 2015, after a 29-year absence.
"Anything I heard about 2011 was positive from everyone, both that lived here and folks that didn't," Alderman Jason Gordon, at large, said. "In 2015, I had the privilege to be a participant and to ride into my own town at the end of RAGBRAI, which was an amazing experience."
RAGBRAI Director T.J. Juskiewicz said more than 100 cities apply each year to become one of the eight stops on the route across Iowa.
While Davenport is applying to be a host city twice within a few years of one another, he said that would not impact Davenport's application as the ride primarily seeks to create a new experience each year.
"We're trying to come up with a new and exciting route," Juskiewicz said. "We've never had the same exact route and want it to be safe and enjoyable.
"Part of it is making sure we have the infrastructure to get in and out of those towns. If the road structure is not compatible, it would be not possible and we need to ensure all paths are cleared."
Quad-City Convention and Visitors Bureau President and CEO Joe Taylor hailed the decision and the massive economic impact the ride would have on the community as RAGBRAI draws around 25,000 people, be it riders, friends and families.
"What hosting means is an extensive economic impact of hosting tens of thousands of people at the end point if selected on July 28, 2018," Taylor said. "It also means that hundreds will be staging the week before, parking their cars, hopping on motor coaches to the western side of the state. It's two weekends of economic impact."
While he couldn't pinpoint an exact amount of money RAGBRAI would bring in, Taylor said it would be in the millions to go along with the attention the Quad-City Times Bix 7 would bring in during the same weekend.
"There's no cost or fee to RAGBRAI," Taylor said. "The city has to cover public safety, traffic and, in my case, hospitality and travel maps, but it's really no cost and likely to contribute to the community."
Should Davenport be selected, Taylor said it would only contribute to the growing "sports resume" of the Quad-Cities, which hosts the Missouri Valley Women's Basketball Conference Tournament and more recently the Professional Disc Golf World Championships, along with the John Deere Classic.
Looking ahead to 2022 and the 50th RAGBRAI, Taylor said there may be some negotiating to be done with the Bix 7 given there are five Saturdays in the month and the event will be bigger than ever. The Bix 7 is held the Saturday of the last weekend in July.
Although the two sporting events could coincide, Juskiewicz said that would not prevent Davenport from hosting RAGBRAI.
"We've done it twice before with the two events coinciding, and it worked out great," Juskiewicz said. "It was run great by (Bix 7 Race Director) Ed (Froehlich) so there are no roadblocks there. There's a history of the two great events working together."