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Joined: 14 Mar 2004
Posts: 40
Location: Wausau, WI

7/28/19 3:48 PM


Finished riding my first RAGBRAI yesterday. This years route from Council Bluffs to Keokuk ended up bring 482 miles with close to 14k feet of climbing.
Have any of you ever ridden that event?

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Joined: 08 Dec 2003
Posts: 17743
Location: Portland, OR

7/28/19 3:49 PM

I could dream about it...

Tell us more if you will.

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Joined: 14 Mar 2004
Posts: 40
Location: Wausau, WI

7/29/19 5:55 PM


RAGBRAI is a week long ride across Iowa going west to east always held the last full week of July.
It's really more of a rolling party then anything.
You go through several towns every day and they have food and whatever else you can think of to purchase. Want a Bloody Mary or a beer at 7am with you Breakfast Burrito or Pancakes you can.
Also along the route random families and church's have stands setup. Some are free, some are a fixed price and some will take a freewill donation.
The towns are generally so crowded you end up walking your bike through the mass of people. There also is music and bands and DJ's blaring all day long.
The local and State police are controlling most intersections and you have the whole road as people avoid the roads you're riding each day. They also have EMS along the course. Unfortunately I saw them in action several times each day.
Every night in the layover town is a huge party. More beer of course and a stage with several Bands playing late into the night.
You sleep with an outfitter in a tent or what vendor you find on the RAGBRAI site. Get up the next morning and do it all over again.
There are anywhere from 15,000 to 20,000 people riding every day.
You will see all kinds of people and bikes that you would never expect to see on a 400 plus cross state ride.
Don't let anyone tell you Iowa is flat. I rode my Trek Crockett with Force CX1 Hydro Disc as I wanted Disc Brakes. It has a 40 ring matched with an 11/42 rear cassette. I used every gear I had.
All in all it was a great time and should be on every Cyclist Bucket List.

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Brian Nystrom
Joined: 26 Jan 2004
Posts: 4629
Location: Nashua, NH

7/30/19 1:52 PM

There's a reason that RAGBRAI has lasted for decades and attracts huge crowds. I've never heard anything negative about the event other than the odd grumble about the weather some years. I'm not sure if I could handle a 400-mile week...actually I am sure that I can't currently. ;-)

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Joined: 14 Mar 2004
Posts: 40
Location: Wausau, WI

7/30/19 3:18 PM


This was RAGBRAI 47 so Brian is correct about it being around for Decades.
I'm no spring chicken at 61 but you really can't ride hard and push it due to the crowds. Some people and groups due ride far left and go sailing by but they were few and far between.
My overall average for the week was only about 13mph. I could have ridden harder but that's not the point of these types of rides/tours esp when you go with your buddy.

Start together, ride together and finish together.

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dan emery
Joined: 11 Jan 2004
Posts: 6378
Location: Maine

7/30/19 3:54 PM

Havenít done that

But I did ride BikeMaine one year, a weeklong tour through Maine (different course every year), much smaller and more sedate, though they did have a beer tent at every camping place, and local bands playing. A favorite was the Machias Ukelele Band, who in response to a sarcastic request for Led Zepplin, kicked out an awesome ďRock and Roll.Ē

Itís fun, though Iím not really moved to do it every year. Depends on the course, the year I rode it was Washington County which was beautiful (the coast north of Bar Harbor).

Like Ragbrai, most people ride pretty slow. Brian, you could definitely do the miles if you wanted to, youíve got all day to ride 60-70 miles or so....

I think there are many rides somewhat like this now.

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