The Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa

First Ragbrai… I need a charter?

This will be our first Ragbrai. We should have a group of 5-6 riders and a support driver. Do you need to have a charter company handle anything or does it just make the week go smoother. We are all pretty “go with the flow” kinda people and saving costs would be great. Looking for input on those that don’t use the charters.


14 Replies

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petra, February 6, 2013 at 7:40 pm

If you are having a support driver that will carry your gear to each city and find a spot to camp the advantage of a charter is really diminished. The main advantages to a charter servoce are (or can be) they haul your gear so you don\’t have to look for it. They have a campsite ready when you arrive (Some set up tents for you. They provide other services such as drinks, chairs, snacks or a place to charge your phone. Charters also can provide comraderie but that will be true whereever you camp. So probably not needed, save the money.



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Michrider !!!, February 6, 2013 at 8:13 pm

There are many good charters on RAGBRAI but I think Pork Belly Ventures (PBV) is the best!!! I’ve traveled with them for years! They offer a lot of extras that you may not be able to get anywhere else. Contact Pete: or Tammy: . You can check out PBV at I’ll meet you under PBV’s big circus tent!!!!



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CyclingRoberto, February 6, 2013 at 8:50 pm

You don’t need a charter. You will need the driver to register as a non-rider. Contact the overnight communities for private homes accepting campers, or find out where RV camping is going to be located.



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Amanda, February 7, 2013 at 7:01 am

if you have a support driver you definately don’t need a charter! Like CR said register your driver as a non rider, buy a vechicle pass and download the support driver maps when they come out in June. Your driver will want to follow RAGBRAI’s driver route so he won’t get on the road with 10,000 bikes.!



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Sandaltan, February 7, 2013 at 7:49 am

No you don’t need a charter. Be sure your driver attends the support driver’s meeting in Council Bluffs the first Saturday of RAGBRAI. After May 1st the overnight communities will put up their websites that will give you the layout of the community, the campgrounds, activity locations and routes in and out of town. Information will be added to the websites as decisions are finalized. Be sure to study the information contained at the link above titled About RABRAI. Do your homework.




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jwsknk, February 7, 2013 at 8:11 am

if you have your own driver & vehical then no, and most probably won’t let you or would at least highly discourage private venicals in the group. And your driver can do what the chartes provide, haul the gear, go to the store to pick up beverages & snacks, set up camp or at least lay things out. The pass will allow you to contact private landowners after may 1 for “Home stays” like pitching tents in their yard, some may open their homes and go way beyond the basics. And do get the drivers map and follow it, the highway patrol officer at the ride right meeting made it sound as if they will be cracking down on team/private support vehicals on the bike route.



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Dan in Iowa, February 7, 2013 at 9:32 am

You don’t even need a support driver!!

Tongue in cheek aside, that’s part of why we pay a fee is so that RAGBRAI will carry your stuff. RAGBRAI has become a huge business venture and the charters are a good example of that. Nothing wrong with that at all, I’m just a tightwad!! If I didn’t pull the BOB, RAGBRAI would carry my stuff. I pull it because I have other trips I do throughout the year and I lose too much conditioning if I don’t pull it that week. My trip this year is through the Ozarks with those killer hills. I HAVE to keep pulling that beast!

Does anyone else find it ironic that the RAGBRAI forum wants me correct my spelling on RAGBEAI??? 😛



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Tony, February 7, 2013 at 2:44 pm

The charters, clubs, and teams provide a great service to RAGBRAI. Our services assist logistics for RAGBRAI. We do all the logistics for our riders. Providing transportation to and from the ride. Long term parking. Baggage handling. Locating and securing camp grounds. Some charters provide meals and/or beverages. Some rent tents. I think charters are the best way to experience RAGBRAI for your first time. It takes all the worry out of it. You show up with your bike and gear. We do the rest. All you have to do is ride your bike and pitch a tent each day. After the first time you then can decide how you want to do it.

You can check the list of charter services on the RAGBRAI website.

QCBC Charter Service



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urbancycler, February 8, 2013 at 8:23 am

As others have stated – if you have a support driver and vehicle, you don’t need a charter. We’ve had the same arangement as you’re suggesting for several years. It works great. One benefit is that it allows you to accept housing offers outside of the overnight towns.

We’ve had some terrific hosts through the years. More times than not, we end up sleeping inside. In most cases the hosts also provide meals. You’ll be amazed at the hospitality!

It is a bit of work though. You’ll need to submit applications for housing with each town. There’s usually a minimal cost of $3. Details will be available at the towns’ websites after the lottery results.



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qt20016, February 8, 2013 at 7:05 pm

Thanks for the info. I will not be using a charter service this year. I will also see about hosted housing although I don’t think we will use that. We want to be where the action and bulk of the people are. I have a place lined up for Des Moines, Old Army buddy though.

Thanks again.



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Denise Fuller, February 8, 2013 at 9:40 pm

We sign up as a team that way we have a greater chance to get wristbands. We have a driver who pulls a trailer or drives the rv depending on what we have. We sign the driver up as non rider and register the vehicle. Some years we stay at the camp ground and some years we just find a spot. we each pay $20 a day that goes for gas, snack food (bananas ect), beer and water for the morning, and our tents get set up usually but no promises (we take our tents down and put it in the trailer in the morning) If there is money left over at the end the driver gets it.
word to the wise make sure your driver gets going early in the morning to find a good shady spot, a couple days our driver rides his bike out to the final town to meet us and enjoy the day time party.



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John Blackman, February 9, 2013 at 8:16 am

First Timer with my wife, we are going to go PBV for our first time and then be able to make decisions in the future about value. Decided to just try to experience as much of the fun as possible and leave the logistics up to pro’s. Coming from Canada who knows if we will get another chance.



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Michrider !!!, February 9, 2013 at 9:00 am

John B.:First Timer with my wife, we are going to go PBV for our first time and then be able to make decisions in the future about value. Decided to just try to experience as much of the fun as possible and leave the logistics up to pro’s. Coming from Canada who knows if we will get another chance.

John, good decision! You’ll love PBV!!!! I’ll see you under the big circus tent!!!



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trafelddif, February 9, 2013 at 6:09 pm

Throw your bag on the UPS truck every morning. That is the best way.



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