Iowa roads are crowded with bicyclists this week and its towns are filled with natives and visitors alike as they always are this time of year. It's time for the Register Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI), and three days into its run in 2022, the Des Moines Register says it's seeing a hefty increase in ridership.

Riders packed Sergeant Bluff Saturday night before taking off for the ride's official first day through Loess Hills and Ida Grove. The Register says that after seeing 0 riders in 2020 due to the pandemic, and 18,000 last year, there was a 20 percent increase in ridership at the start of the ride this year, with an estimated 21,000 participants in all.

The slightly more crowded field of riders and in some cases, very hot weather conditions have been a challenge to some riders,  but not a deterrent. Jason Andres is on his 15th RAGBRAI and said

It’s harder today just because of all the people. When you’re on a tandem and there are people spread across the road you lose all your momentum.

The thousands of riders every year participate in RAGBRAI for different reasons, whether it be for their health, the challenge, or the connections they make, but even under this year's crowded and hot conditions, they all do it for fun. Today, Monday is the third day on the route, with the Ida Grove to Pocahontas leg taking place.

Want to keep up to date with the latest in local and music news? Download our app! It's completely free and not only will you be the first to know about breaking news, but we'll also keep you updated on concerts and other events coming to the area. You'll also have exclusive opportunities to win tickets. What are you waiting for? Get the free app today.

Weird Things You'll See in Iowa

LOOK: Here are the 25 best places to live in Iowa

Stacker compiled a list of the best places to live in Iowa using data from Niche. Niche ranks places to live based on a variety of factors including cost of living, schools, health care, recreation, and weather. Cities, suburbs, and towns were included. Listings and images are from

On the list, there's a robust mix of offerings from great schools and nightlife to high walkability and public parks. Some areas have enjoyed rapid growth thanks to new businesses moving to the area, while others offer glimpses into area history with well-preserved architecture and museums. Keep reading to see if your hometown made the list.

More From Q98.5