Bicycle-Friendly Iowa Route Maps Just Dropped for 2023-2024

Photo: Canva

By Nikoel Hytrek

July 24, 2023

As cyclists crossed the state for RAGBRAI, the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) announced it just released its latest bicycle map for the 2023-24 season.

The map highlights all of the bike-friendly routes in the state, and it includes closer looks at bike trails in 16 different cities. It is available digitally and as a physical copy, both free.

Garrett Pedersen, office director for Iowa DOT’s systems planning, said several cities have added new trails since the last update.

“The amount of new construction varies from year-to-year, but on average the state adds just over 100 miles of new bicycle facilities annually,” he said in an email.

Mark Hansen, team leader for systems planning at Iowa DOT, said the department ordered 150,000 paper maps as well as the different PDF formats on the DOT’s website. Physical copies are available at Iowa DOT rest areas and Iowa welcome centers, or riders can request one online.

“It’s safe to say we receive hundreds and hundreds of requests, thousands are picked up in paper form and the PDFs get used substantially,” Hansen said in an email. “In fact, a popular app used by RAGBRAI riders for that event uses portions of the DOT bike maps.”

Cyclists can also download the Avenza app to access geospatial PDF maps, which allow riders to see and use location-based tools.

What’s new

Pedersen said the DOT is always receiving feedback and taking it into consideration. This year, they specifically looked for input from the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, and came up with enhancements to make relevant information easier to find for cyclists.

Those who download the PDF can search those PDFs for specific locations. There’s also an interactive version which includes different layers with locations of bike shops, water fountains, trailheads and information about the paths are like.

Cyclists can also download the Avenza app to access geospatial PDF maps, which allow them to see and use location-based tools.

The 16 metro areas span 24 cities. Here are each of them:

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  • Nikoel Hytrek

    Nikoel Hytrek is Iowa Starting Line’s longest-serving reporter. She covers LGBTQ issues, abortion rights and all topics of interest to Iowans. Her biggest goal is to help connect the dots between policy and people’s real lives. If you have story ideas or tips, send them over to [email protected].

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