I’ve used them for all six RAGBRAI’S in the past eight years. They are top-notch. A truly family run organization with an emphasis on service. Bob, Debbie, and Nicole Brancel are like a second family to me. You couldn’t pick a better group. Not a hardcore party charter. Just great campsites, friendly folks, and a fantastic system to get you through the event from beginning to end.
Last year was our (my wife and I) first RAGBRAI and we went with Brancel. I have to agree with CR, you won’t find a better group! I’m confident you’ll hear about others and I’m sure they’re good too, but in my opinion if you choose Brancel you won’t be disappointed.
I’m sure Brancel is good for what they provide. And that is what you really need to know before you pick a charter. Each of the better known charters provide different levels of service, different atmospheres. You’ll know better if you go again next year.
I can’t imagine a better charter group. They provide so many basic services, then go out of their way to help individuals. In 2007 I got lost following other blue signs, but Bob & Nicole came to my rescue. I chose Brancel over Pork Belly Ventures because I got the impression that PBV got a bit roudy. I like to get to bed early, and the Brancel camp is usually quiet. (there could be noisy individuals anywhere.)
Typically at the end of the daily ride, I would unwind under their canopy with a reasonably priced PowerAid they provide. They had a charging station, massage options, laundry service option, and information board. They knew where the nearest showers were, and had suggestions for food. I can’t list all of their services.
I can’t imagine doing RAGBRAI without the Brancels! I will be with them this year for my third time. Hope to see you there!
I have done Ragbrai four times, the first three with a small group that had a driver. Last year I used Brancel and booked with them again this year. They did a great job and for I enjoyed myself everyday. Camping spots were easy to get to and well layed out, two nights they set up catered meals (for an extra fee) and one day had entertainment that was fun. I am sure other charters do a great job as well I just know about Brancel and probably will use them every year I do Ragbrai in the future.
I have used them for my East to West shuttle only, but I must say they are great folks to deal with. Bob goes out of his way to answer questions/concerns and help everyone on a personal basis. Though I have not used their camping/luggage service I would not hesitate to do so.
quote: “I chose Brancel over Pork Belly Ventures because I got the impression that PBV got a bit roudy. I like to get to bed early, and the Brancel camp is usually quiet. (there could be noisy individuals anywhere.)”
Yes, can be rowdy people anywhere on RAGBRAI, but hardly so on PBV. When the sun goes down the only real sounds are snoring. They close down the drinks and snacks and shade tents/chairs before that so they can have then ready to go to the next town that night.
I suspect most charters are quiet. The daily (heavy) drinkers don’t tend to gravitate to PBV or Bubbas or OOS, etc. I think. The only noise problems I have ever had in the many times I have done RAGBRAI have been caused by the neighbors (i.e., the towns people who live permanently next to a designated campground). And it is usually on the first Sat. before the ride or the next night on Sunday – when it seems some townfolk take the entire day to imbibe.
I’ve traveled with 4 different charters in my 8 years on RAGBRAI!
BIC in 1997, did a good job! I have fond memories of my first ride!
I used Brancel in 2007. Bob Brancel is a great guy and his charter did a very good job.
I also traveled with Bubba in 2010. A friend of mine talked me into it! I remember the week lasted 8 days. We stayed overnight in Dubuque after the ride, so we “could share in all of the post-RAGBRAI experience”!!!
However, Pork Belly Ventures (PBV), is my favorite charter!!!!! I’ll never use another charter for RAGBRAI!!!! Pete, Tammy & crew do a great job!!!!