RAGBRAI XLV Countdown – July 23-29, 2017
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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

  • Only 50 Days 'til the RAGBRAI Route Announcement Party!

    Join us as we reveal Iowa's biggest secret on January 21, 2017 at the Iowa Events Center in downtown Des Moines.

  • Guess the Route Contest is Now Open for RAGBRAI XLV!

    Do you think you can pick the eight overnight towns for RAGBRAI XLV? Enter the contest and see how close you come.

  • Black Friday Sale!

    Click to find out our Black Friday coupon code for free shipping at www.RAGBRAI.com/shop

  • Happy Thanksgiving!

    The RAGBRAI Crew is thankful for... you!

  • Great Holiday Deals at Primal Wear!

    Get phenomenal deals on cycling gear now through November 30 at primalwear.com!

  • 'Mr. Pork Chop' leaves behind meaty RAGBRAI legacy

    If there's any justice in this life or the next, Wednesday's lunch special in heaven was a thick, juicy slab of Iowa pork chop served on a paper towel.

  • We Will Miss You Mr. Pork Chop!

    RAGBRAI lost a true legend today with the passing of Mr. Pork Chop, Paul Bernhard. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Bernard family.

  • 2017 Full Kit Now Available!

    RAGBRAI XLV jersey, shorts, and bibs now available with registration or on the RAGBRAI Web Store!

  • RAGBRAI XLV Registration Now Open!

    Registration for RAGBRAI XLV is up and running.  If you registered for the ride in 2016, use the same username and password to log in and register.  All of your ...

  • Veteran's Day

    On this Veteran’s Day, we honor all Americans who have served or made the ultimate sacrifice for our country including the service men and women of our RAGBRAI military teams. ...

Latest Videos

  • The Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa (edition 45) begins July 23 in ... well, we won't find that out until January, but the logo for the 2017 ride is here.

  • Take a look back on all the fun moments the Des Moines Register staff captured on video during RAGBRAI 2016.

  • Riders brave the swinging bridge in Columbus Junction.

  • Winds remain out of the northeast for Saturday and with partly sunny skies, highs will hold in the lower 80s. The weekend looks dry for the most part, perfect for those finishing up Ragbrai or maybe heading out to the Indianola Balloon Classic.

  • Omaha-based Team Pump's bus is one of the most colorful, and oldest, team buses currently operating in RAGBRAI.

  • Hal Colliver has been collecting signs since 1973. Its a hobby of his he loves to share with others who often stop by to look at his barn.

  • Teresa Condon and Tracy Henriksen have fun in their infant costumes.

  • Riders take over Wooden Wheel Vineyard

  • The complete century ride, including the Karras Loop, from Leon to Centerville on RAGBRAI 2016.

  • Lyle Dumont has built and rebuilt enough model trains and full size tractors to fill 30,000 square feet of space. Take a look around his collections

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