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RAGBRAI history – Factoids



More RAGBRAI history
The first RAGBRAI | The 1970s | The 1980s | The 1990s | The 2000s | The 2010s

The Model to Follow

More than 200 other rides have been established throughout the years taking their inspiration from RAGBRAI, including bicycle rides in Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, Colorado, Oregon, Maryland, Ohio, Maine, Missouri, Illinois, Virginia, Rhode Island, Minnesota, Delaware, New Mexico, Michigan, North Dakota, New York, California, Washington, Arizona, Wyoming, Mississippi, Texas, Kentucky, Utah, Wisconsin, Indiana, New Hampshire, District of Columbia, Massachusetts and North Carolina.

A Worldwide Attraction

RAGBRAI riders have come from throughout the world, primarily because of newspaper coverage and articles written in newspapers such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, St. Paul Pioneer-Press, San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, San Diego Union, Miami Herald, Kansas City Star, St. Petersburg Times, and the Christian Science Monitor.

Magazine Coverage

Major magazines such as TIME, Reader’s Digest, Sports Illustrated, Ford Times, Smithsonian, Saturday Evening Post, National Geographic’s Traveler, SHAPE, Bicycling and many others have offered coverage of RAGBRAI. Foreign magazines including VELO Tonic in France, and Sportrad and National Geographic’s Globo in Germany have written about their experiences after biking across Iowa.

One key to RAGBRAI’s success could be Bil Gilbert of Sports Illustrated who came on the second ride and wrote enthusiastically about it, prompting thousands to come. In 2005, Sports Illustrated named RAGBRAI as one of the 25 Summer Essentials, things that absolutely must be done before Labor Day.

Nationwide Broadcast Coverage

RAGBRAI garners an incredible amount of media attention. Not only did state newspapers and television stations cover every mile, but the national coverage was far greater than ever before. RAGBRAI has been featured numerous times on ESPN’s SportsCenter and Cold Pizza as well as NBC, ABC and FOX national news programs. RAGBRAI has also been discussed at length on NBC’s “Tonight Show” with Jay Leno and ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos”.

In 1986, the NBC-TV TODAY Show was on the ride and in 1987 featured RAGBRAI on the Sunday evening news. CBS Television included a report on RAGBRAI XVI in 1988 on its Friday evening news. The NBC-TV TODAY Show returned to the ride in 1995 and aired a live segment after spending three days on the ride. And in 1997, CBS reporter Harry Smith rode part of RAGBRAI XXV and prepared a report that aired on Travels with Harry. The networks have produced at least three half-hour television shows featuring the ride. IPTV has repeatedly broadcast coverage of the ride through the years and in 1997 produced a RAGBRAI 25th Anniversary video. The gourmet menus and chefs of Team Gourmet have been featured in Saveur magazine., Midwest Living magazine and just recently on the Food Network channel. A German broadcast network joined the ride in 1996, along with a news team from Rochester, Minnesota and a large contingent from the United States Air Force.

8,500 Annual Riders

In fact, the ride has become so popular that RAGBRAI officials now limit the number of week-long riders to 8,500 in order to maintain a sense of control and insure fewer injuries.

326,650 People Pedaled 19,5427 Miles

Since its inception, more than 326,650 people rode at least some part of the 44 RAGBRAIs. Nobody knows how many people have been touched in some way along the 19,542 total miles covered by RAGBRAI since 1973.

Largest Daily Rider Counts

In 1988, an estimated 23,000 riders had taken part in the leg of the ride from Boone to Des Moines by 3 p.m. In 1992, an estimated 17,000 riders rode the leg of the ride into Des Moines. And in 1997, an estimated 20,000 riders pedaled into Des Moines from Creston.  In 2013, an estimated 36,000 riders were counted on the road from Perry to Des Moines.

Bicycle Shops

10 bicycle shops now participate in RAGBRAI.

Visited 780 Towns

In 44 years, RAGBRAI has passed through 780 Iowa towns, spent the night in 125 different overnight towns and with completion of the 25th ride in 1997, has been in all of Iowa’s 99 counties. RAGBRAI has been through 80 percent of the incorporated towns in Iowa.

More RAGBRAI history
The first RAGBRAI | The 1970s | The 1980s | The 1990s | The 2000s | The 2010s

Latest Blog Posts

  • A Reminder About RAGBRAI Registration

    The deadline for online week-long registration is Saturday, April 1. You must have your entry submitted and payment made by April 1, don’t wait until after the lottery to submit your ...

  • RAGBRAI Training: RAGBRAI is Coming, Let's Get Ready!

    Once again, Coach David Ertl will be providing training tips for you to use and follow as you prepare for your successful trip across Iowa this year. Many people ...

  • RAGBRAI Route: Saturday, July 29 - Waukon to Lansing

    Here is the final daily RAGBRAI route for Saturday from Waukon to Lansing. The entire route will be new RAGBRAI territory as will journey travels 44.8 miles with some ...

  • RAGBRAI Route: Friday, July 28 - Cresco to Waukon

    Here is the complete RAGBRAI route for Friday from Cresco to Waukon. The route travels 60.1 miles as we climb 2,483 feet.

  • RAGBRAI Route: Thursday, July 27 – Charles City to Cresco

    Thursday’s RAGBRAI route from Charles City to Cresco travels just 54.6 miles but we will start to experience some hills as we climb 2,257 feet.

  • RAGBRAI Route: Wednesday, July 26 - Clear Lake to Charles City

    Wednesday’s RAGBRAI route from Clear Lake to Charles City encompasses 57.5 miles and climbs 1290 feet.

  • RAGBRAI Route: Tuesday, July 25 – Algona to Clear Lake

    Here is Tuesday’s complete RAGBRAI route from Algona to Clear Lake. The day’s ride will cover 51.4 miles and just 934 feet of climb.

  • RAGBRAI Route: Monday, July 24 – Spencer to Algona

    Here is the complete route from Spencer to Algona. The route travels 71.7 miles and a relatively flat 1,631 feet of climb.

  • RAGBRAI Route: Sunday, July 23 – Orange City to Spencer

    Here is the complete route from Orange City to Spencer. The route encompasses 62.6 miles and 1,283 feet of climb.

  • Complete RAGBRAI Route Will Start to be Released this Sunday

    The full RAGBRAI route with roads and towns will start to be released this Sunday! We will release the Sunday July 23rd route this Sunday, Monday's on Monday and continue ...

Latest Videos

  • The full 2017 RAGBRAI route is out. Watch this video for a detailed look.

  • Take a closer look at where the 2017 RAGBRAI route will go.

  • T.J. Juskiewicz, RAGBRAI director, talks about the 2017 route after the announcement on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017.

  • Watch a replay of the full RAGBRAI route announcement live show.

  • A RAGBRAI icon Paul Bernhard aka \u0022Mr. Pork Chop\u0022 passed away November, 2016 and RAGBRAI Nation shared photos with Mr. Pork Chop on the ride through the years.

  • The Bacoon Ride returns for its fourth year on the Raccoon River Trail on Saturday, June 17.

  • From the creators of the Bacoon Ride comes the new ride for women, Pigtails at the Prairie Trail on Saturday, May 20.

  • RAGBRAI director TJ Juskiewicz announces the overnight towns for RAGBRAI 2017.

  • The Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa will go north in 2017, starting in Orange City, ending in Lansing, and overnighting in six more Iowa towns along the way. It's rated the third-easiest RAGBRAI ever.

  • Attendees at the RAGBRAI Route Announcement Party joined in a mass \u0022pork chop\u0022 call in honor of ride legend Mr. Pork Chop, Paul Bernhard, who died last year.

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