RAGBRAI news team
Sun, Jul 21, 2013 | by Emily SchettlerShare
Gary Whitby has a long list of foods to try on his three-week trip through Iowa and the United States.
Fortunately, the 45-year-old from Perth, Australia, has a week of the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa to help conquer many of the staples.
Whitby has already crossed off sweet corn and steak on a stick, thanks to his Iowa host, Tom Casavant.
What’s left? Rhubarb pie, pork chops and Beekman’s Homemade Ice Cream, for sure. And maybe a State Fair corn dog for good measure.
“This is going to be my gastronomic tour of Iowa,” Whitby said Saturday as he relaxed in the food tent after downing a fresh-squeezed Iowa lemonade at the bike expo that precedes RAGBRAI.
The nation’s oldest, largest and longest recreational bicycle touring event starts this morning in Council Bluffs along the Missouri River and ends Saturday in Fort Madison along the Mississippi River.
Whitby flew into the United States for the first time on Thursday. While here, he’ll also travel to Colorado, California and Wyoming.
Despite that, the three-time Iron Man competitor had several people ask: of all the places to visit, why Iowa?
“Tom told me about this ride and the opportunity to get a little crazy so I said, ‘Let’s do it,’” Whitby said.
Fewer than 1 percent of the estimated 10,000 participants in RAGBRAI come from overseas, according to RAGBRAI director T.J. Juskiewicz.
This year, they hail from Nepal, Germany and Japan, among other countries.
Whitby traveled 11,000 miles to participate in the seven-day trek across the state. It’s similar to the trip Casavant took in 2012 to participate in Perth’s Rottnest Channel Swim.
The University of Iowa professor swam a 20-kilometer race across the channel from Perth to Rottnest Island.
Whitby, a stranger at the time, volunteered to be his skipper and follow his route in a boat. The two became fast friends, and Casavant invited the Australian to come take part in another uniquely local challenge.
Though Perth and Iowa are nearly half a world apart, both men say there are strong similarities between the two.
Like Iowa, Perth, in western Australia, often gets written off when people think of the country as a whole, they said.
“There’s no respect, but there’s a lot of interesting and awesome things about it,” Whitby said.
The same goes for Iowa. And, said Casavant, much of that is on display during RAGBRAI.
“I think he’s going to find out there’s a lot here,” he said.
RAGBRAI XLIII is still five months away but that is no reason not to think about getting on your bike and starting your preparation. I don’t know what the weather ...
Huey Lewis and The News to Kickoff RAGBRAI in Sioux City. The Sioux City RAGBRAI Committee announced today that Huey Lewis and The News will be the featured entertainment ...
The deadline for mailing paper applications is this Sunday, February 15.
Once again Coach David Ertl will be providing training tips to help you prepare for a successful and fun RAGBRAI. Regardless of your goals, whether to ride the entire ...
The route for RAGBRAI XLIII was unveiled on Saturday night. What do you think of the route? Have questions about how it was chosen or other details? Join us at ...
RAGBRAI begins July 19 in Sioux City and ends July 25 in Davenport.
62 photos from the Ragbrai Route Announcement Party at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines.
Here's what you need to know about Saturday's overnight town announcement party and how to be the first to know.
The Register's Kyle Munson and Michael Morain attempt to get an early look at the 2015 RAGBRAI route...
Can't make it to the Route Announcement Party? Head to RAGBRAI.com for a live stream of the event starting at 8:30 Saturday night!
RAGBRAI director TJ Juskiewicz annouces the 2015 overnight towns. Ride will start in Sioux City and end in Davenport.
The Register's Kyle Munson and Michael Morain attempt to get an early look at the 2015 RAGBRAI route
We are excited to reveal our new logo for RAGBRAI XLIII and 2015! If you join us on our ride across the state next year, you’ll be sure to see welcoming Iowans, lots of farmland and… well you’ll just have to watch the video to find out.
Look back on the ride of 2014 in this video highlight reel.
A group of friends from Canada spent the week on RAGBRAI and recount their best moments.
As RAGBRAI XLII comes to an end, friends from California talk about the emotion behind dipping their tires into the Mississippi River at the end of the ride.
Riders react at the Guttenberg dip site.
Riders stopped for photos on a bluff overlooking the mighty Mississippi River at Guttenberg.
Iowan "Bachelorette" competitor Chris Soules greets riders in Strawberry Point
Former Iowa Hawkeye and NFL tight end Dallas Clark talks about his second RAGBRAI and his hope of someday moving his family back to Iowa.
Find us socially
Sign up for the latest RAGBRAI news and notes (if there is no news in a day, you won’t get an e-mail).