Iowa’s Ride cancels inaugural event

Staff report

     What was supposed to be the first overnight stop of the inaugural Iowa’s Ride bike ride across the state will have to wait another year.

     Due to the spread of and restrictions in place from COVID-19, Iowa’s Ride organizers have decided to postpone this year’s event and have the exact same route in 2021.

     TJ Juskiewicz, director of Iowa’s Ride, initially said they hoped to secure 5,000 riders.

     Monticello was named the first overnight town, scheduled for Sunday, July 12, following their kickoff from Dubuque. The ride was set to travel from the east side of the state to the west.

     Early last week Iowa’s Ride organizers decided they needed to pull the plug for the safety of everyone involved.

     “Unfortunately, after evaluating the current situation surrounding coronavirus and great concern for the safety of the general public, the townspeople, riders, support drivers, volunteers, the Iowa State Patrol troopers, safety officials and staff, it will not be safe nor feasible to host the inaugural Iowa’s Ride,” Juskiewicz said in a statement on the ride’s website.

     The decision was not made lightly. Iowa’s Ride officials consulted with health officials across the state and country, as well as the host towns.

     “With Governor Reynolds closing all Iowa schools for the year (several were planned to be used for campgrounds) and recommendations to not continue the ride from the various law enforcement agencies, emergency managers, city managers and mayors, county supervisors, local hospital officials and other safety agencies that have been involved with the planning of Iowa’s Ride, we knew the ride could not continue as planned.”

     With the ride set for mid-July, many questioned such an early decision. Despite the fact that COVID-19 is ever changing, many of the permits and licenses needed for this event had to be secured and paid for 60 days out.

     Up to now, Iowa’s Ride and the various host towns had put in roughly six months of work toward the bike ride. Juskiewicz said much of that work, time and effort cannot be recouped.

     With the event cancelled, “needed corporate sponsorship dollars” will not be received. Iowa’s Ride planned to give all proceeds to charities throughout the host towns. In addition, the event was expected to bring an economic boost to many of these small-town communities as well.

     “Sadly, by not hosting this summer’s event, there will be no proceeds to give to these charities as honestly the event will lose money due to COVID-19,” stated Juskiewicz.

     Refunds for those riders who signed up prior to the cancellation will be issued.

     When it is safe to do so, Iowa’s Ride encourages people to still visit the small towns that were on task to host the riders, helping in some way to support them: Monticello, Vinton, Eldora, Clarion, Emmetsburg, Sheldon, and Rock Rapids.

     “These are unprecedented times.  We appreciate your support, patience and understanding in this serious health emergency,” said Juskiewicz. “COVID-19 has had a devastating effect on our country and its people. We will remain hopeful that the health risks will eventually subside, and our country will get back to doing the things that we all enjoy like riding our bikes by ourselves or at large events.”


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