Yes, Ride the River is on!
Despite record flooding on the Mississippi River and water that has yet to go back into its banks, the 35th annual Father's Day bike ride sponsored by River Action Inc. will go on as scheduled with an altered route using streets and trails that are open.
With 12 days left before the June 16 ride, River Action director Kathy Wine announced on Tuesday a new route, coordinated with Quad-City police departments, plus several bonuses.
The first bonus is that the ride will stop at the new Hyatt Hotel in East Moline where the entire top floor of the building has been rented for a birthday celebration. Free cake and ice cream and unparalleled views of the river will be featured.
Second is that adults signing up through Sunday will get the 1985 price of $5. After that, it's $15.
Yes, River Action had more side attractions planned before the flood, but Wine said she wants to stress the positive. River Action is dedicated to the river, and the ride provides "a look at the river in all different situations," she said.
And although some of the dedicated trails are still inaccessible because of flooding, when the ride debuted 35 years ago, it used mostly streets because there was only about two miles of trail in existence, located along Ben Butterworth Parkway in Moline, she said.
All proceeds from this year's ride will go toward River Action's "First Bridge" project that envisions a pedestrian bridge over East River Drive/U.S. 67, connecting the riverfront trail to the new Y that will be built on the former W.G. Block property along 4th Street, north of the Quad-City Times.
The entire route of this year's Ride the River is about 16 miles long, but riders can do whatever portions they want. Generally, about 1,000 people participate, Wine said.
Here's how this year's event will unfold:
• Registration will be from 6:30 a.m. to noon Sunday, June 16, at the Scott County Y, 606 W. 2nd St., the same as other years.
• Then, instead of using the Mississippi River recreational trail that is under water, participants will bike down 2nd Street, crossing the river on the Government Bridge to Arsenal Island.
• Participants will ride the entire length of the island, exiting on the ramp into Moline where they will bike up to the Celebration Belle riverboat. There they can take a half-hour cruise at either 9 a.m. or 10 a.m. for a close-up look at the Interstate 74 bridge construction.
This portion of the ride is in lieu of biking to Bettendorf's Leach Park on the riverfront trail and having bikes ferried over to Moline on the Celebration Belle. High water in Leach Park makes it unsafe to use the barge, and the boat can't handle all of them, Wine said.
While participants are riding the Celebration Belle to see bridge construction, their bikes will be corralled in a secure area, Wine said.
• Next, bikers will proceed to the 9th floor River Room of the Hyatt, with cake compliments of Hy-Vee and ice cream compliments of River Cities Rotary. The Rotary also will provide a reading activity for children.
• Riders will then retrace their route to Arsenal Island where they will continue to Rock Island's Schwiebert Riverfront Park for lawn games and food and drinks.
• The last leg will be over the Talbot Memorial (Centennial) Bridge and back to the Y.
The route will be open 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., with bike repair services along the way.
In addition to Sunday registration, sign-up also will be open 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, June 15, with packet pickup and helmet sales. All riders will receive a free Ride the River reusable water bottle compliments of the Davenport Noon Kiwanis Club.
To register, go to riveraction.org/ridetheriver. For questions, call (563) 322-2969.