RAGBRAI route into Mason City is short

Published 10:24 am Friday, May 16, 2014

The leg of a cross-state bicycle ride in Iowa between overnight stops Forest City and Mason City is the second shortest day on the seven-day trek.

The Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride heads south through Hancock and Cerro Gordo counties, rather than a northerly route through Worth County some Minnesotans had hoped for when the overnight cities were announced in January. Often, many Minnesotans jump on the RAGBRAI ride for a day when it takes a northerly route through Iowa, or perhaps attend an evening celebration. The full route describing how the 10,000 bicyclists will get from overnight city to overnight city, came out in early March.

Still, the 41.2-mile route from Forest City to Mason City — July 23, a Wednesday — looks to be a scenic ride. Bicyclists will head southeast on Hancock County Road R70, a curvy affair that follows the Winnebago River. It also goes by the name River Road. About 10 miles into the ride, they turn due east for about four miles on Hancock County Road B20 into Cerro Gordo County, taking Road s14 four miles south into Ventura. RAGBRAI historically likes North Shore Drive on the north side of the lake Clear Lake, and the riders again will visit this street that connects Ventura with the city Clear Lake.

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Riders head north four miles out of Clear Lake on Cerro Gordo County Road s28, then east on Road B20 nine miles all the way to the north side of Mason City near the Lime Creek Nature Center. However, many riders no doubt will break off the route to take the six-mile Trolley Trail that links Clear Lake and Mason City.

Mason City is planning on welcoming the riders with a big party downtown. The city’s RAGBRAI logo has a camel on a bicycle above the words: “Best Hump Day Ever.”

RAGBRAI this year returns to its small-town roots. Only Mason City has a population over 10,000. It has been 29 years since the ride visited the River City. The 2014 route is the third shortest and second flattest in RAGBRAI’s 42 years.

Forest City’s logo has an RV and a bike sprocket with the question, “Are we there yet?” It is at the end of a 79.7-mile slog from Emmetsburg, the longest day on the ride.

Forest City entertainment on that Tuesday features an R&B band and three classic rock bands on the campus of Waldorf College.

By the way, the shortest leg of RAGBRAI is the 40.8-mile route from Okoboji to Emmetsburg.


Cities on RAGBRAI

Rock Valley July 19

Okoboji July 20

Emmetsburg July 21

Forest City July 22

Mason City July 23

Waverly July 24

Independence July 25

Guttenberg July 26

About Tim Engstrom

Tim Engstrom is the editor of the Albert Lea Tribune. He resides in Albert Lea with his wife, two sons and dog.

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