Kalona, Riverside businesses and city planners excited to be a part of RAGBRAI route

Harper, Keota, Wellman, Riverside, and Hills will be pass-through towns on the route from Sigourney to Iowa City for this year's RAGBRAI. Kalona will be a meeting stop.

On Friday, RAGBRAI organizers announced the rest of the towns on the route between Sigourney and Iowa City.

They include Harper, Keota, Wellman, Kalona, Riverside, and Hills.

These are not overnight stops, but to restaurants and shops in these cities, it is still a huge opportunity for business.

"This is a great opportunity to get 10 to 15 thousand riders, and support vehicles into the town, so I know the town is kind of buzzing," said Elliot Lamb, General Manager of Kalona Brewing Company.

In July, Kalona will become a meeting point for bikers of all ages.

"This is the stop that they're going to plan on being at for food, for lunch, for beer...kind of just a general area where everyone can meet before they head up to the overnight town," said Lamb.

Kalona Brewing Company sells its craft beer at RAGBRAI stops already but says business will boom when riders walk through the door.

"Having the honor to be a mid-town, and be the brewery in the mid-town is going to be a really fun and exciting event," said Lamb.

"It's been running through my mind constantly," said Jerry Murphy.

Murphy is the owner of Murphy's Bar and Grill in Riverside.

He is putting a pause on a ten-year run on RAGBRAI to play host to other participants passing through the city.

"I'll take a year off to have RAGBRAI stop in Riverside, that's fine," said Murphy. "It'll be our best day ever."

City planners also want to make Riverside serve more than just being a pass-through town.

"Our Star Trek museum will be a hot spot I'm sure for anybody who's interested in that," said Jenahlee Chamberlain, member of the RAGBRAI Committee for Riverside.

With the help of a 50-thousand dollar grant, Riverside will also be upgrading their local stage just in time for the annual ride.

"We're going to have entertainment going all day," said Kevin Muller, Chairperson of the RAGBRAI Committee for Riverside. "So the trick is, even though we're a pass-through town, we're going to have stuff going on that's going to make them get off the bike, and spend the afternoon here."

For these cities, getting the chance to be a part of RAGBRAI can be a step in the right direction to playing a bigger role with the event in the future.

"We're grateful for RAGBRAI and hopefully one day we can build it to where Kalona is an overnight town," said Lamb.

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