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  • Sun February 24 2008
  • Posted Feb 24, 2008
By Kurt Allemeier LECLAIRE — A warm July bike ride was on the minds of about 150 people Wednesday night at the LeClaire fire station as the temperature outside hovered in the single digits. LeClaire residents came out to hear what they can do to get the city ready for the final day of this year’s RAGBRAI, or Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa. This year’s ride ends on the city’s riverfront July 26. “It is five degrees outside and we have more than 100 people in this room,” RAGBRAI director T.J. Juskiewicz said. “It is amazing to have this many people come out on a cold night. You can feel the enthusiasm.” Though pass-through cities on the route will be released March 9, Juskiewicz said unofficially that riders will go through Eldridge on the final day. He declined to identify any other Scott County towns that might be among the 40 pass-through towns. Juskiewicz gave the audience a quick history of the ride and mentioned the opportunities for cities that serve as host. He told of towns of less than 100 residents that welcome thousands of riders. “The thing that makes RAGBRAI special is what is in this room,” he said of the audience. “If you have the can-do spirit, you can do anything.” Other similar meetings for host cities haven’t been as well-attended, Juskiewicz said, but a recent meeting in Tipton was similar to Wednesday night’s, he said, explaining that first-time cities are excited to be included in RAGBRAI, while cities that have previously hosted are used to the event. Community leaders were pleased with the meeting’s turnout. Sign-up sheets were passed around to create a mailing list, while volunteer sheets were also passed out. Pam Ellis, of LeClaire’s RAGBRAI executive committee, hopes to have all the co-chairs and sub-committee chairman positions filled in about two weeks. Volunteer forms can be returned to City Hall, said Ellis, who was thrilled by the turnout. “I think people are genuinely excited,” she said. Mayor Bob Scannell was also pleased with the turnout, saying hopes were for 50-75 people. “That means we’ve got a good start,” he said. Before the public meeting, Juskiewicz gave an advisory committee a rundown of what can be expected and when tasks have to be completed, and a few planning tips. He also provided a foreshadowing of what the committee found a short time later. “You won’t have a shortage of volunteers,” he said. Kurt Allemeier can be contacted at (563) 383-2360 or kallemeier@qctimes.com. Comment on this story at www.qctimes.com.

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