Contrary to initial reports, both the eastbound and westbound lanes of Willis Avenue will be closed Saturday between First Avenue and Second Street during the sixth annual Bacoon Ride, when thousands of bicyclists pedal their pork along the the Raccoon River Valley Trail.
“With all these bikers, we just thought it was safer to close Willis in both directions,” said Perry Public Works Director Jack Butler, as he erected barricades along the Willis Avenue boulevard Saturday about 6 a.m.
Motoring traffic will be diverted around the busy intersection, where the Hotel Pattee will serve as the local Bacon Stop in Perry, offering bacon samples between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Motorists are urged to use caution downtown and near the trail crossing on Iowa Highway 141, where an Iowa State Patrol Trooper will be on hand to monitor cyclist traffic.
Weather-watching riders can text the word BACOONRIDE to 69310 in order to automatically receive alerts for severe thunderstorm warnings, hazardous materials warnings, law enforcement warnings and tornado warnings for both Dallas and Guthrie counties.
Other trail towns along the annual pork pilgrimage include Adel, Dallas Center, Dawson, Jamaica, Linden, Minburn, Panora, Redfield, Waukee and Yale.
Sponsors of the annual swine circuit are RAGBRAI, the Blue Ribbon Pork Festival, the Iowa Bicycle Coalition and Veridian Credit Union.