- Associated Press - Sunday, January 22, 2017

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - This year’s annual bike ride across Iowa will feature an easier northern route across the state. The Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa - known as RAGBRAI - will start in Orange City on July 23 and continue to Lansing on July 29. The Des Moines Register reports (https://dmreg.co/2jm2IhT ) the route covers 411 miles and climbs 13,078 feet.

Organizers say this year’s course should be the third-easiest one in the event’s 45-year history.

RAGBRAI director T.J. Juskiewicz joked that he’s not sorry that many riders thought last year’s southern route was difficult, but this year’s ride should be enjoyable.

“You’ve still got to train, but it’s going to be a lot of fun,” he said at an event announcing the route on Saturday.

The route will take riders through the towns of Spencer, Algona, Clear Lake, Charles City and Waukon.

Along the way riders will see the Surf Ballroom where Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens performed before they were killed in a plane crash. Other sights include the site of a prisoner of war camp where Germans were held near Algona during World War II.

RAGBRAI officials typically receive around 200 applications to be a host city. More than 10,000 riders are expected to participate.

Estimates have shown RAGBRAI can bring in $3 million a day to local economies as the riders and their supporters buy everything from gas to meals to sodas.

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Information from: The Des Moines Register, https://www.desmoinesregister.com

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