RAGBRAI XLIII Countdown – July 19-25, 2015
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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 42 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.

Bicycle Shops

10 bicycle shops now participate in RAGBRAI.

Visited 780 Towns

In 42 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

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Latest Videos

  • Byron Stuart talks about the memorabilia he's collected by operating Byron's in Pomeroy.

  • RAGBRAI Director T.J. Juskiewicz recaps the pre-ride.

  • RAGBRAI Director T.J. Juskiewicz talks about the route from Hiawatha to Coralville

  • RAGBRAI Director T.J. Juskiewicz on how to ride safely in bad weather

  • Bike shop owner and gravel rider Craig Cooper excited for RAGBRAI's first gravel loop.

  • Kathy Murphy of Cedar Rapids is one of the RAGBRAI pre-ride newcomers this year.

  • Mark Wyatt of the Iowa Bicycle Coalition says this year more stress is being given to safety for RAGBRAI

  • Scenes from the third day of the RAGBRAI preride route inspection between Fort Dodge and Eldora.

  • Scenes from the second day of the RAGBRAI preride route inspection between Storm Lake and Fort Dodge.

  • Scenes from the first day of the RAGBRAI preride route inspection between Sioux City and Storm Lake.

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