DAVENPORT, Iowa -- When thousands of weary-but-elated cyclists roll into Davenport on July 28 after a week-long sojourn across the Hawkeye State as part of RAGBRAI, they will dip their fires at the base of Marquette Street, smack in the middle of downtown Bix weekend festivities.
The last time RAGBRAI ended in Davenport in 2015, the dip site was at Credit Island. This time, the route in from Iowa City via Blue Grass will take riders close to the Davenport Street Fest, Freight House Farmers Market and a "RAGBRAI Village" in LeClaire Park.
At a press conference on Thursday, April 19, members of the Davenport RAGBRAI committee unveiled the new route and dip site, as well as theme, which for 2018 is "Make it Here." The theme is to connect the ride - one of the most popular in the country - with the Quad Cities "creative, hands-on essence which is full of entrepreneurs, innovators and collaborators," the organizers said in a media release.
Kyle Carter, executive director of the Downtown Davenport Partnership, said the change up in route and dip site will be a fantastic way to showcase many of the positive changes downtown on a big day of celebration.
"We're thrilled to see the dip site at Marquette in addition to the new RAGBRAI Village site adjacent to LeClaire Park on Beiderbecke Drive," Carter said. "Both locations will help bring riders in to the heart of downtown where we'll feature the best of our beautiful riverfront, Street Fest and Bix7 excitement, and dozens of downtown amenities, restaurants, and shops."
Davenport Mayor Frank Klipsch urged residents to make the riders feel welcome and to take in the hospitality of what is always one of the biggest festival weekend in the Quad Cities.
"We would like to encourage residents along the RAGBRAI route to cheer on the cyclists as they complete the 428-mile ride," Klipsch said.
Quad Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau head Joe Taylor echoed the mayor's comments.
"When cyclists finish the whole ride across Iowa they have a great feeling of accomplishment, and the last day has such a celebratory feel when they dip their tires into the Mississippi River," Taylor said.
One other way to support RAGBRAI Davenport is by purchasing t-shirts that will soon be available at locations around the Quad Cities and online at www.davenportragbrai.com.