RAGBRAI route in Fairfield announced
The RAGBRAI route within the city of Fairfield was announced at the RAGBRAI Town Rally & Bike Clinic Saturday at the Fairfield Arts and Convention Center.
All riders will enter Fairfield on July 26 from the west on Grimes Avenue. Once they are in town, they will break off and go different directions depending on where they will stay that night. The riders will be welcomed to town at a welcome center on the soccer fields on Grimes Avenue.
One group will turn south on Sixth Street, where they will ride for two blocks before turning east onto Briggs.
They will take Briggs to D Street, where they will go south one block before turning onto Broadway Avenue, which they will take into Chautauqua Park.
By the time those riders have arrived at Chautauqua Park, most of the other riders will have taken a different route to another campsite or to a residence where they are staying.
One group of riders is staying at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds. One is staying at the Roosevelt Rec Center. Some riders will camp at Pence Elementary or at the neighboring middle school or O.B. Nelson Park. Some will go to the Washington Elementary School and a few others will make their way to Lamson Woods.
“We’re peeling them off like onions,” said Fairfield Police Chief Julie Harvey, who helped determine the route with RAGBRAI staff.
Harvey said that particular route was chosen as a means of allowing for a large number of support vehicles.
“Burlington and South Main will be reserved for support, emergency and bus route vehicles,” she said. “If people need to go anywhere in town, if they can make it to Main or Burlington, they can do what they need to do.”
The riders have specific routes they will take to each campground. Those streets will be closed Friday until about 6 p.m., when the last riders are expected to arrive. Harvey expects some riders could arrive from Oskaloosa as early as 8:30 a.m.
The riders will exit Fairfield by traveling south on Highway 1. Once again, they have an assigned route to take, and the streets on that assigned route will be closed from 5 a.m. that morning until about noon.
A map including the route the riders will take to the campgrounds and the route they will take out of town, along with the amenities in town they will need, is on Page 7.
Harvey said people with RVs will go to the Fairgrounds. The rest of the campgrounds will host tent camping.
Fairfield has an impressive array of parks but they are still not large enough to hold 20,000 people, which is how many people organizers are expecting to arrive.
“The parks cannot hold 20,000 people,” Harvey said. “That’s why we have a housing program.”
Harvey said she knows officers and deputies who will host 30 to 50 riders in their yard.
“If they can get to a private residence, they won’t go to a campground,” Harvey said of the riders. “Most riders would like to get to know the people in town.”
Harvey said the streets in town will be so packed with bikers, support vehicles and pedestrians that she is asking local residents to avoid driving in town if possible that day, Friday, July 26. She recommends residents run any errand such as grocery shopping the day before.
“It will be like Disney World on spring break,” she said. “That would be a perfect day to sit in your front yard and talk to bicycle riders all day.”
School buses will be used to shuttle people throughout town. Harvey said motorists should be mindful of temporary stop signs that will be placed at various intersections where they would not normally be.
Terry Baker, a member of Fairfield RAGBRAI’s executive committee, said the event is a tremendous opportunity to show off the community.
“It’s coming through town, so you might as well join in and get on board,” she said.