Frequently asked questions about RAGBRAI…
1. Can I send in more than one entry to help my chances of being drawn in the computer lottery as a rider?
No. Duplicate week-long rider entries will automatically disqualify you and your group from the drawing.
2. Can I ride for just a couple of days instead of the full week?
Yes. To do this, you would enter for a one-day wristband for the day or days you would like to ride. Day wristbands may be purchased for $25 per day. You can register online until June 1st. Day wristbands are not subject to the lottery. After June 1st, non-rider and day wristbands can be purchased on the ride, based on availability.
3. How do I know if I have been drawn in the computer lottery?
On May 1, you can go to the RAGBRAI Web page at www.ragbrai.com and view the Lottery Results. You will also be sent an automatic email with your wristband number after May 1st if you registered online.
4. If my entry is drawn, what kind of services can I expect for my fee?
The fee provides daily baggage transportation, SAG wagon service, emergency medical service, camping areas, route markings, daily maps, wristband discounts, camping facilities, a free edition of The Des Moines Register in each of the host communities, ten bicycle shops on the route and in the campgrounds to service your bike, access to long-term parking, bicycle shipping stations, free lost and found mailing service and great Iowa hospitality.
5. Are wristbands refundable?
Yes. Wristbands will become nonrefundable as of a request date of May 15th. A $25 processing fee per person is deducted for refunds. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to request a refund or to contact us regarding questions about this procedure.
6. Can I resell my wristband if I find out after May 15 that I cannot go on RAGBRAI?
Yes, RAGBRAI is not in the business of reselling credentials. The sale of ride credentials is a private transaction, and RAGBRAI is not responsible for misunderstandings between the two parties, misplaced credentials, or the failure to transfer the credentials into the new owner’s name. The week-long rider credential items include a numbered wristband, bike band, and baggage tag, and an unnumbered bike license plate and redeemable patch certificate. The wristband packet will be sent to the original owner or to the group contact if in a group. If in a group, contact the group contact first before selling your wristbands. The group contact may know of someone to purchase your wristbands.
A resold credential will not be valid unless it is officially transferred in the RAGBRAI office to the new owner before the event begins. This procedure not only transfers the wristband, but also the liability associated with it. The new owner will transfer the wristbands to their name with our online transfer form and waiver before the ride. If we do not receive this transfer document and waiver, the wristband and the liability for it will remain in the original purchaser’s name. Minors will still need to send us the 2-page signed minor waiver. We will also have the transfer application and waiver at the registration table at the expo for you to fill out and turn in before the ride.
Many people post messages looking to sell or buy credentials in this forum. You might be able to find a person that is looking to sell and transfer their credentials on the RAGBRAI message board. If you do purchase credentials through a private sale, the credentials MUST be transferred. Email us at email@example.com if you have questions about this procedure.
7. What kinds of accommodations are available in the overnight towns?
Because of the small size of the towns, RAGBRAI is primarily a camping event. All towns provide adequate space in their official campgrounds at no charge, so the best option is to pack a tent. Most communities don’t have hotels or housing for the large numbers of riders. You can check for hotels in the area after the route is announced in January. You can request housing in the overnight towns after May 1st.
8. How many bags am I allowed on the RAGBRAI baggage semitruck?
You are allowed one large soft-texture bag up to 50 pounds. In addition, your tent and sleeping bag can be tied with the bag. We do not have the capacity to transport bike cases.
9. Can I ship my bike?
Yes. Shipping information will be in RAGBRAI’s Participant Guide, sent with your participant packet in June. Bike shipping information is also on on web site. Click here for bike shipping information.
10. Can I bring a support vehicle?
You MUST register as a group, and you MUST have at least 3 members in your group to qualify for a vehicle pass. The Group Contact must apply for a vehicle pass with the group’s RAGBRAI entry. We allow 1,500 vehicle passes for each ride. Any vehicle taken on the route must have a vehicle pass, and campgrounds will deny entry for vehicles without a vehicle pass. The driver and passengers who are not already entered as riders must complete an entry form for a non-rider wristband.
11. Can I leave a vehicle at the ending or beginning town?
Yes. Charter service is available at both ends of the route. There also will be charter service from Des Moines and other cities. There will be a nominal charge for parking for the week in the beginning or ending town. Long term parking information will be on the starting and ending town’s web sites as well as the RAGBRAI website around May 1st. It will also be in RAGBRAI’s Participant Guide, which is sent with your wristband packet in June. Do not contact the starting or ending town for parking information prior to May 1st.
12. Can I get transportation from home to the start and back again from the finish?
There are round-trip charters from Des Moines, St. Louis, Omaha, the Quad Cities, Lanesboro, Minnesota, and other towns. Information about these charters can be found on the RAGBRAI Web site under RAGBRAI Charter Services. Click here for Charter Services. Many of these charters were sold out well before the ride started, so be sure to arrange your services early. You may be able to link up with fellow travelers on the Forum on RAGBRAI’s Web site.
13. Can I get transportation from the ending town to the starting town?
Yes, there are several charters that offer this service that can be found on the RAGBRAI Web site under RAGBRAI Charter Services. Many of these charters were sold out well before the ride started, so be sure to arrange your services early. Click here for Charter Services.
14. Can I join a team?
You must make individual contact with clubs and teams to join. Belonging to a team doesn’t give you an advantage in the lottery, however.
15. What time can I start biking on RAGBRAI?
Designated RAGBRAI hours are 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. when support vehicles will be on the route. We recommend that no biker start out before sunrise or finish after 6 p.m. On the final day, Saturday, the route closes at 2 p.m.
16. Do you encounter much traffic on the route?
We cannot close roads, but we discourage use of the route during RAGBRAI. Law enforcement officers, including the Iowa State Patrol, control select high-traffic intersections.
17. Will there be gravel?
Possibly. This may be necessary to keep us off an unsafe highway, or a stretch of construction may force us to take some gravel.
18. Why does the ride always go from west to east?
Headwinds are grueling for riders. Weather statistics show that during this week in July prevailing winds are normally from the southwest. This is not always the case but playing the odds helps the riders most years. Another factor in riding from west to east is to avoid riding into the mid afternoon sun when riders are most tired.
19. How are the overnight towns selected? And how is the route selected?
RAGBRAI has received more than 200 requests from towns that want to be either overnight or pass-through towns on RAGBRAI. RAGBRAI Director T.J. Juskiewicz reviews those requests looking for route possibilities across Iowa. The primary goal is safety. Can we get 10,000 riders and their support crews from point A to point B safely? When a route is found, it is driven multiple times in late fall and winter to make sure it will work.
20. Where do profits from RAGBRAI go?
After expenses are met, funds are given to nonprofit Iowa programs and organizations through the Register’s community investment program.
21. What is the focus of the Register/Gannett Foundation contributions?
Each year, approximately 20 charities receive contributions on behalf of RAGBRAI, Des Moines Register Media and the Gannett Foundation. For example in 2010, Central Iowa Shelter & Services, Big Brothers Big Sister of Central Iowa and Variety, The Children’s Charity benefitted. Additionally, we provide financial support to the eight RAGBRAI overnight host communities.
The primary geographic focus is the greater Des Moines area and central Iowa. Additionally, we support unique statewide initiatives with the potential to benefit all Iowans. We focus our contributions on programs that address the following priority issues:
* Families and Children
* Community Enrichment
For more information, guidelines and an application form visit www.desmoinesregister.com/help/grants.html
Still can’t find an answer to your question? Contact us.