Lansing realizes biggest profit of any city participating in RAGBRAI 2022

Heart-felt appreciation for their efforts ... Lansing RAGBRAI 2022 executive chair Ian Zahren (at right) shows his emotion as he and his spouse, Andrew Boddicker, who is being hugged at left by Lansing RAGBRAI committee member Mary Ann Baldwin, were presented with an appreciation gift from the Lansing RAGBRAI committee for their efforts in spearheading the community’s “tire-dip” hosting for this year’s RAGBRAI that came to full fruition the final full week of July. Through the efforts of Zahren and Boddicker, and the many other committee members and volunteers, the Lansing RAGBRAI committee was able to generate an overall profit of $115,400, the largest profit of any community participating in RAGBRAI 2022. All of that profit will now be returned to the Lansing community, a vast majority of which will be made available through mini-grant funding that nonprofits can now apply for. Photo by Bob Raymond.

Lansing RAGBRAI volunteer appreciation celebration held in conjunction with music-in-the-park event ... An added attraction at the Thursday, September 1 music-in-the-park event (pictured above) held at the Farmer’s Market in Lansing was an appreciation celebration for volunteers that assisted with the Lansing RAGBRAI 2022 effort. Through those volunteer efforts, the Lansing RAGBRAI committee was able to generate a profit of $115,400, which will be invested in the Lansing community through donations and mini-grant funding that can be applied for. Photo by Bob Raymond.

by Julie Berg-Raymond

RAGBRAI 2022 is in the books - and Lansing, hosting the end-of-the-line “dip-site” for the third time (1977, 2017 and 2022), made the biggest profit from the event of any participating city this year.

Ian Zahren, Lansing RAGBRAI executive chair, recently announced that the organization generated $208,000 in total revenue (Main Street restaurants and bars made an additional $50,000) and recorded an after-expenses profit of $115,400. By way of context, the 2017 event in Lansing generated $102,855 in total revenue, and recorded a profit of $33,017, after expenses. These numbers, Zahren noted, reflect a doubled revenue, and a quadrupled profit from that 2017 venture.

Zahren attributes the dollar amount differences to “taking a playbook and repeating what worked and fixing what didn’t work.” This year, Zahren noted, Lansing RAGBRAI focused on “digitizing - and utilizing technology.” The organization’s website, for example, used photographs of previous rides, and graphics to be visually appealing; and it took a user-friendly approach that allowed bicyclists dropping off their cars in Lansing on the weekend before the ride to order box lunches from local restaurants ahead of time. These pre-orders allowed restaurants to estimate how much food they would need to prepare.

The website also provided riders with an opportunity to pre-register for housing, some with shower capability and some without; and for parking, including VIP parking that allowed them to park their cars within walking distance. Three separate exit routes were provided, for each of the three parking lots, which improved upon some of the exit issues riders had in 2017.

The cost of VIP parking was double what was charged in 2017. “I just asked myself, ‘how much does it cost to park at an airport parking lot for a week?’ - and you’ve got a person onsite, watching your cars,” Zahren said. “The VIP lot sold out within a week. People wanted the convenience.” General parking rates increased as the ride date approached, which provided an incentive for riders to register early.

All of the profits from Lansing RAGBRAI will go directly back into the community. Some money will be donated to various organizations, and 20 percent of the VIP parking proceeds - $11,250 - will go directly to the Lansing Street Department, per earlier agreement with the City. The rest of the event proceeds will be distributed within the community via mini-grant applications that are available on the organization’s website at

Grant applicants have to meet some criteria: They have to be a registered 501(c)3 or tax-exempt organization or government municipality that serves the Eastern Allamakee Community School District. There is no maximum dollar amount for which applicants can apply; deadline for applications/submissions is November 1. Awards over $1,000 will require submission of receipts; and grant money will be distributed within 90 days after deadline. An advisory board, on which Zahren does not serve, will make the award decisions.

“We’re really interested in seeing grant proposals that will have tangible, significant impacts in the community,” Zahren said. And, he added, those impacts should be realized sooner rather than later.

Zahren emphasized the power of volunteerism, as well, where Lansing RAGBRAI’s success is concerned. “We had 100 volunteers between the two weekends (July 22-23, when riders dropped off cars; and July 30, when the ride ended in Lansing),” he said. He also had high praise for the police and fire departments, and for community members who offered help when it was needed. “Anytime we’d need help, someone would just walk in and say, ‘What do you need?’”

Thursday, September 1, a volunteer appreciation event was held during the Lansing Farmers Market, with music-in-the-park provided that evening by The Guthries. At the event, Zahren spoke to the attendees - announcing the final dollar amounts and thanking the community and volunteers for making the event a success.

Prior to the event, the volunteers had decided they wanted to thank him - and his spouse, Andrew Boddicker, whose work also was instrumental throughout the planning process. Committee members collected money among themselves and surprised the couple that evening with a two-night stay at a bed-and-breakfast on the lake in Madison, WI.

Maryann Baldwin - who worked on Lansing RAGBRAI committees for publicity, hospitality, website, social media, information center, communications, and volunteers - presented the gift to Boddicker and Zahren onstage during the volunteer appreciation event.

“Ian and Andrew took time to thank everyone involved with RAGBRAI Lansing at volunteer appreciation night, and the volunteers wanted to thank them for their terrific leadership, allowing us to bring so much money to Lansing non-profits,” she said. “We raised about $300 and thanked them with a weekend at a Madison area bed & breakfast... They’ve earned a getaway and so much more.”