Define “solo”. Do you mean carrying all your own gear on the bike, or do you mean depending on your own abilities to get to the start (and home from the finish), and allowing the Register’s shuttle to carry your gear day-by-day?
If you’re referring to the second, I’ve done that several times. Unfortunately, that was back in the late ’70s – early ’80s. Sometime around 1987 I hooked up with a kindred bunch of flakes known as the Rainbow Cyclists, and used their services for the next 10 or 11 years.
However, even by then I was noticing that it was getting a little more difficult to just get by with the Register’s support only. The ride had gotten so much larger that we weren’t able to be camped all in one place; if you were using the Register baggage trucks you were pretty much stuck camping wherever they were, unless you wanted to schlep your stuff to another location (and of course, schlep it back in the morning). And then there was the upsurge of team buses, vehicles, Ryder and U-Haul trucks, RVs, motorhomes, and camping trailers — all of which required parking spaces, trash services, KYBOs, and so on. As a result, we started to get scattered out further and further. I began to feel like the RAGBRAI riders were on a par with nuclear material, and towns were spreading us out to prevent our being able to reach critical mass.
It still can be done, of course. And high marks to you for trying to do it in the classic manner. -”BB”-
I did my first RAGBRAI last year, and I did it solo. I had a great time. I met some very nice people in the campgrounds, and we ended up going to some concerts together. I was really surprised with how quiet everyone was in the campground in the morning. Some times I would wake up and half of the people in the campground were already gone. There are plenty of interesting people to talk to while you are riding and the people in the past through towns are great. Don’t worry about going solo, just enjoy the ride.
I can understand your anxiety about going solo, but I agree with others — you’ll find new friends and maybe even experience more things you enjoy about the ride than you have in the past with a group.
I’m traveling with a small group which includes my husband and friends. We’ve agreed that we’ll probably have to tolerate each others’ meltdowns (limited to one per person) and think we might use a yellow-red card system like they do in soccer. If I get a red card, I might be going solo!
I alway seem to be talking to people on ragbrai that i dont know. Part of the fun. Are you going with a charter? If so i am sure you can join some existing groups and make new friends rather easily to hang out with maybe ride with. Always hard to ride with people you dont know as they may not go the same pace as you.
Patrick,,, I am going solo for the my 1st Ragbrai. I am with a charter but do not know anyone. I am 48 going on 30 something and I ride a recumbent trike. shoot me a pm if you want to meet up or something….
MY FIRST RAGBRAI WAS SOLO. REMEMBER WHEN YOU GET IN A LITTLE LATE YOU STILL NEED TO GET YOUR GEAR, SET UP CAMP, SHOWER (COLD BY NOW) EAT AND SLEEP MAYBE. GET UP EARLY ENOUGH TO TEAR DOWN CAMP, PACK GEAR (WET IF IT RAINED RAINED, AND GET IT TO THE BAGGAGE TRUCK BEFORE IT LEAVES. IT IS GRATISFING TO DO IT ALONE BUT ONCE YOU TRY IT WITH SUPPORT AND HAVE TIME TO ENJOY ALL THE OTHER FUN STUFF INVOLVED IN DOING A RIDE ACCROSS THE STATE OF IOWA YOU WILL NEVER GO BACK TO SOLO. OH, DID IMENTION THAT IF YOU ARE INJURED OR SICK YOU STILL NEED TO GET TO THE NEXT OVERNIGHT TOWN.
Twice solo. Three times with friends, but I didn’t really ride with them much. This time with some friends. Solo can get lonely in a crowd in spite of all the friendly people. It is good to share the time with people you know. Either way, you won’t be alone.