Housing needed for RAGBRAI riders

More than 15,000 RAGBRAI riders will be pedaling their bicycles into Fort Dodge next month and the local committee managing their overnight stay is asking residents to open up their yards, bedrooms, and bathrooms for housing.

According to City Councilman Neven Conrad, who is the RAGBRAI executive committee chair, indoor and outdoor housing is still being requested for the July 26 overnight stay, so a Facebook page has been created to match up locals with available space to riders.

“The majority of initial requests aren’t looking for bedrooms to stay in, but have simply wanted a place to pitch a tent outside, preferably with access to a bathroom and a shower,” said Conrad. “That’s something most homeowners can provide.”

The most popular housing spot is expected to be at the designated campground located by the Des Moines River.

Ryan Maehl, assistant to the city manager and RAGBRAI campground chair, has also worked to find dedicated spots for large groups of riders and various charters. Some riders and support teams have opted for hotel rooms, RVs, or even space in local churches or businesses. But the need for housing is still great, so committee members like Conrad and Maehl are asking Fort Dodgers to help out.

“The goal of this (Facebook page) is to directly link riders seeking indoor or outdoor space with any one of our welcoming local property owners,” said Conrad.“This way riders and homeowners can work to find the right fit which will lead to a great impression of not just the homeowners, but our town as a whole. Plus, the added benefit is that you may just make a long term friendship out of it.”

According to Conrad, some riders may choose to sleep outside, but appreciate access to a shower and bathroom, while others may just need a place to plug in an RV.

Fort Dodge residents interested in offering up their yard or home are asked to join the Facebook RAGBRAI housing page (https://www.facebook.com/groups/ragbraifd2021housing/) and browse to see if a group seeking housing fits what they’re able to provide.

“Our community has a chance to really showcase itself through our most valuable asset — our people,” said Conrad. “Fort Dodgers always come out to help when it counts and we’re counting on them again.”


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