Hiawatha, Coralville preparing for RAGBRAI - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Hiawatha, Coralville preparing for RAGBRAI

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HIAWATHA (KWWL) - Usually bicyclists in Hiawatha ride on the Cedar Valley Nature Trail but this summer they'll be taking over the city for the first time since 2004. 

The city's fire chief helped with the safety during RAGBRAI then and can't wait for the riders to come back. 

"It is absolutely a blast," said Chief Mike Nesslage, Hiawatha Fire Department. "The people who ride RAGBRAI are really friendly. They're fun. They like to have a good time."

But get this -- there are more people on RAGBRAI than there are people living in Hiawatha. That means when it comes time to sleep that night they're going to be taking over every available space.

Last time they slept in parks, even yards of people willing to have them. 

When you're cramming that many people in, it takes more effort to keep everyone safe.

"That adds a lot of extra things for us to take care of," said Nesslage. "Probably one of the biggest things is that we close a lot of streets down so that the bicyclists are safe."

In Coralville the city is excited to show off the new Iowa River Landing.

"It's new and it's up and coming and I think visitors will really enjoy it," said Clarissa McPheron, Iowa City/Coralville Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Coralville's been an overnight stop 3 times, most recently in 2011, but this year all major activities will be here. 

"You can create that concert and that feeling that yes, this is summer in Iowa," said McPheron.

It may look nothing like summer now but with the overnight stops announced, cities are busy planning to make sure they're ready for riders.
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