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Regional Cities Part of RAGBRAI Route in 2024


This summer, RAGBRAI LI will pass through Greater Des Moines (DSM) cities, including Winterset, Indianola and Knoxville. On Day Four of the annual ride — Wednesday, July 24 — riders will bike 75 miles from Winterset to Knoxville, and through some of the region’s surrounding small towns. Wednesday’s theme is RAGBRAI Jersey Day, too, so be sure to sport your 2024 jersey on the ride!

What can you expect to find in Winterset, Indianola and Knoxville? If you haven’t yet been to the city that was the birthplace of John Wayne, the home of the National Balloon Classic or the city called the Sprint Car Capital of the World, this is your chance to experience what these places have to offer while riding through beautiful countryside as well.

Winterset, Iowa

The covered bridges are probably the most well-known part of Winterset, thanks to the bestselling romance novel, and later film starring Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep, “The Bridges of Madison County.” But that’s not the city’s only claim to fame. The city is where The Duke, Hollywood’s go-to Western star John Wayne of the ‘50s, was born. Check out the list below for ideas on things to do at the end of Day Three or before you hit the road again on Day Four:

  • Covered Bridges – The Cedar, Cutler-Donahoe, Hogback, Holliwell, Imes and Roseman Covered Bridges are must-sees in Madison County. Note: The Imes and Cutler-Donahoe are only accessible by pavement. The others are on gravel / dirt roads.
  • Easton’s Bistro – This lunch place is along W. Court Avenue in Winterset and offers a small menu of fresh options so if you’re getting a later start, Easton’s Bistro is a good option. The restaurant is open from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Wednesdays.
  • Frostee’s – What’s better than ice cream after a long bike ride? Once you get to Winterset, stop by Frostee’s on E. Green Street to try a cone, sundae or slush.
  • Iowa Quilt Museum – During RAGBRAI LI, stop by the Iowa Quilt Museum to see “Threads of Life: Portraits and Pets Woven in Fabric,” an exhibit featuring 37 fiber artists from across the country. The museum is open from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. during the week.
  • John Wayne Birthplace Museum – Open seven days a week, the museum is self-guided and handicap accessible. While visiting, see artifacts from John Wayne’s life and pick up a souvenir from the gift shop. The museum is open from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.
  • Madison County Mercantile – This boutique features jewelry and other small goodies that will fit into your bike bag.
  • The Drift – Visit this Winterset taproom for craft beer. The taproom and kitchen are open from 3 – 9 p.m. on Wednesdays.

Indianola, Iowa

Once you’ve made it to Indianola, you’re midway through RAGBRAI LI and about halfway through Day Four, too. Just 14 miles south of Downtown Des Moines (DSM), Indianola is known for opera, hot air balloons and is home to Simpson College … Roll Storm! As you continue to your final destination on Day Four, don’t miss these spots in Indianola:

  • Adorn – Record your RAGBRAI LI adventures in one of Adorn’s journals or notebooks. They’ll fit into your bike bag and help you remember the best memories from this year’s bike ride.
  • Cabin Coffee Co. – Breakfast sandwiches, mini sandwiches, soup as well as an espresso bar, iced coffees and smoothies are available at Cabin Coffee Co. This Indianola spot is open from 6 a.m. – 2 p.m. during the week!
  • Des Moines Metro Opera – In the leadup to RAGBRAI LI or following the event, head to Indianola to catch one of the Des Moines Metro Opera’s festival season shows, including “The Barber of Seville,” “Salome” or “Pelléas & Mélisande” and get to know this DSM town a little bit better!
  • Summerset Winery – On Wednesday, Summerset is open from Noon – 5 p.m. so depending on when you pass through Indianola, consider a glass of wine overlooking the vineyard as a satisfying detour along the route.
  • The Local Vine – From 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., The Local Vine offers wine, beer, coffee and light dining options and sweets. Try a Greek wrap, softbake pretzel nuggets or an assorted chocolate plate on your mid-day trek.
  • Z’s Eatery & Draught Haus – During the week, Z’s is open from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. Grab a breaded tenderloin, a signature burger made with Warren County, Iowa beef or a locally sourced pulled pork sandwich.

Knoxville, Iowa

You made it! Knoxville is the overnight town for Day Four, the place you can rest up before heading on to Ottumwa on Day Five. So, what should you do once you’ve made it the 75 miles and 3,041 feet of climbing to this small town 39 miles from Downtown DSM? Here are a few ideas:

  • Atlantic & Pacific Pub – Stop by for a cocktail between 4 and 10 p.m. Happy hour is from 4 – 6 p.m. on Wednesdays, and you can find pizza and sandwiches here, too!
  • Knoxville Hardware – You’ve made it through the day! Need a bike chain, pump, lock or light? Check out Knoxville Hardware for biking goods to help you get through the rest of RAGBRAI LI.
  • Knoxville Raceway – The Knoxville Raceway schedule doesn’t include a race during Wednesday night stop, but you can find times to attend from April to September so you can get to know this RAGBRAI LI city.
  • National Sprint Car Hall of Fame & Museum – Visit during the week from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. Adults are $10, and you can see Hall of Fame inductees, visit the museum store and more.
  • One Eleven Public House – Find Iowa stouts, IPAs and ciders from DSM breweries, including Confluence Brewing Co., Gezellig Brewing Co. and others from around the state. On Wednesdays, One Eleven opens at 5 p.m. for supper so you can enjoy flatbreads, burgers, pastas and more.
  • Peace Tree Brewing Co. & Taproom – It’s one of Iowa’s oldest independent craft breweries and it’s located just miles from Lake Red Rock. Sit on the patio and enjoy the Blonde Fatale or Get a Little Hazy gold-medal winning beers.
  • The Coffee Connection – Grab breakfast and coffee on Thursday morning before you head to Ottumwa. The Coffee Connection opens at 6 a.m. during the week on Main Street.

Learn more and see the entire route at RAGBRAI.com.

The Greater Des Moines Partnership calendar of events is a one-stop resource for activities taking place throughout the region. Find networking information for Greater Des Moines (DSM) businesses, including Chamber luncheons, roundtables and ribbon cuttings. You can also find live music happening each week thanks to the “Live Music This Week in DSM” blog series.

Greater Des Moines Partnership

The Greater Des Moines Partnership is the economic and community development organization that serves Greater Des Moines (DSM), Iowa. Together with 23 Affiliate Chambers of Commerce, more than 6,500 Regional Business Members and more than 400 Investors, The Partnership drives economic growth with one voice, one mission and as one region. Through innovation, strategic planning and global collaboration, The Partnership grows opportunity, helps create jobs and promotes DSM as the best place to build a business, a career and a future. Learn more at DSMpartnership.com.