Most people know something about the largest recreational bike ride in the world. This summer, we will learn a lot more.

After a 17-year drought, Denison has the opportunity to let its hospitality shine for the 20,000 to 30,000 visitors (including about 10,000 bike riders) that will arrive on Sunday, July 22, with the Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI).

A lot of work was done in the past to get RAGBRAI to once again choose Denison as an overnight host community. Many more hours will be spent planning and working before the community says goodbye to the bikers and their entourages on Monday, July 23.

Whatever you think you know about RAGBRAI, consider this: it’s never the same. It’s always evolving. So maybe it’s time to gain some more knowledge about RAGBRAI before our visitors arrive.

Spend some time learning about the planning that goes on to host RAGBRAI and perhaps find out how you can play a part in helping the community put its best foot forward.

An excellent opportunity is at the monthly informational RAGBRAI meetings. They will take place on the third Monday of each month at Norelius Community Library.

March 19 is the date of the first meeting, or actually meetings. One meeting will begin at 10 a.m. and another will start at 6:30 p.m.

One thing that remains the same about hosting RAGBRAI: great experiences become great memories for the visitors, memories that just might convince them to come back.

Following are some random statistics I found on the Internet from RAGBRAI surveys.

2010: The average age of participants was 44.6 years. Sixty-four percent of the riders were male, 36 percent were female. 77 percent who responded to the survey rode every mile. 88 percent preferred to stop in most or all towns. 18 percent preferred to stop in every town.

In 2013 the average age of a participant was 46.9 years. In 2014 the average age was 47.6 years.

2015: 33 percent were first time riders; over 80 percent like to start their day between 6 and 8 a.m. 70 percent spend $25 to $50 per day, 60 percent of the participants were between 45 and 65 and 41 percent ate breakfast in the first pass-thru town.

2016: Again, 60 percent of the riders were between the ages of 45 and 65. 68 percent of riders were male. 73.5 percent rode the full 420 miles. 30 percent were first time riders. Over 32 percent trained for more than 1,000 miles before RAGBRAI.

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