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First Timer – What do I do?

(16 posts) (12 voices)
Started 1 year, 11 months ago ago by Ryan
Latest reply from Michrider 1 year, 10 months ago ago

  • Avatar of Ryan
  • First Timer, don’t have a team, so thinking about signing up with the DSM Register. How fast will it fill up?

    If you have a team out there Let me know. I am a 30 year old male, just wanting to ride at my own pace and have some fun.


    Posted 1 year, 11 months ago ago #470489

  • Avatar of Michrider
  • Ryan, everybody registers with RAGBRAI (DSM). Your registration must be completed by April 1, 2013. Lottery results will be announced on May 1. The RAGBRAI truck will haul your bag every day if that’s what you want. However if you want more creature comforts, you might check out my favorite charter, Pork Belly Ventures (PBV). I’ve traveled with them for years! They offer a lot of extras that you may not be able to get anywhere else. RAGBRAI will announce the Route for 2013 on January 26, 2013. As soon as the route is announced, PBV will send out their invitation letter. To be added to the list for that invitation, contact Pete: petephillips@cox.net or Tammy: tammypav@cox.net . You can check out PBV at http://www.pkbelly.com/about_us.php. I’ll meet you under PBV’s big circus tent!!!!


    Posted 1 year, 11 months ago ago #470498

  • Avatar of David
  • Hi Ryan,

    You should sign up here http://ragbrai.com/registration/
    There will be a lottery to determine who gets in. But do not fear, almost everyone makes it. If not there are always people that couldn’t go that need to sell a registration.

    A team is a great way to go. Charters can also really make a first time a lot easier. Pork Belly does a great job assisting those traveling from out of state (and in state). I highly recommend contacting them. http://www.pkbelly.com/ Email Tammy, tammypav@cox.net


    Posted 1 year, 11 months ago ago #470499

  • Avatar of Ed Kanitra
    Ed Kanitra
  • My 1st time too. I signed up with Bubba’s for reasons that was adventitious to my situation. What I will tell you, look around and ask questions.


    Posted 1 year, 11 months ago ago #470500

  • Avatar of petra
  • Ed, I went with Bubba the last two years. They provide great service and they are also very nice people. They really care about us and our having a good time. If you have any questions let me know.


    Posted 1 year, 11 months ago ago #470544

  • Avatar of Steve
  • Ed (and Petra, if you are going with Bubba this year), are you by any chance riding a recumbent? This will be my first year, and I have also signed up for Bubba’s services. I’ll be taking it easy (relatively speaking) on a Greenspeed trike.


    Posted 1 year, 10 months ago ago #470621

  • Avatar of Michrider
  • Bubba huh? I traveled with him ONCE!!!!!!


    Posted 1 year, 10 months ago ago #470622

  • Avatar of Jboz
  • Steve – I’m not with Bubba, and I can’t speak for how many trikers will be using his services, but you definitely will have lots of trike company on the ride. My 13 year old son and I both rode for the first time last year, and both of us were on trikes. Still mostly upright bikes, but we saw trikes everywhere.


    Posted 1 year, 10 months ago ago #470623

  • Avatar of Gypsy Rose
    Gypsy Rose
  • Ryan,

    This forum is a great place for a first-timer like yourself to ask questions about what to expect and how to plan for your first RAGBRAI. In the mix of advice being offered by forum participants, I’d like to add a voice for those who enjoy setting up their own tents.

    Your registration with the DMR includes baggage service, access to the campsites, etc., etc. (By making that statement, I realize that this post may be followed by the usual photos of piles of bags outside the trucks with some hapless-looking soul searching for a bag, but my experience with the DMR baggage service has always been very good.) If you own (or have access to) a basic tent, sleeping pad, and sleeping bag (in case it ever gets chilly again on the ride), you’ll be quite comfortable among the thousands of other riders in the campsites each night. For many, the self-reliant DIY approach is a big part of the positive experience.

    I first rode RAGBRAI in 1980. During the earlier decades of the ride, virtually all of the riders were self-reliant, with many carrying their own gear aboard the bike. Most of us stayed in the main campgrounds at night, while some riders had arranged to spend their nights with host families in the overnight towns.

    When I returned to the ride in 2011, I found it to be quite a different scene, with “teams” and paid outfitters very much a part of the mix. I arrived at the start town (Glenwood) wide open to the possibilities (with only my DMRtag/bracelet, a duffle of gear, and my bike). I ended up reconnecting with and riding alongside someone I’d not seen in my 30 years away from the ride . (His first RAGBRAI experience was in 1974 when he was 13.) I have since “joined” the “team” that my friend rides with (a group that had its origins around the Iowa State juggling club). The word “team” means different things to different groups, but for us, it translates to a group effort to get us all to/from the start/end towns, and carrying our gear in our own vehicle rather than using the DMR trucks.

    Whatever way you decide is best for you – whether to load up the panniers and experience the thrill of complete self-reliant independence, join a team or other supporting group, or to arrive in town each night with nothing more to worry about than finding your way to a paid service provider’s designated site – RAGBRAI can be as inexpensive/expensive or self-reliant/reliant as you’d like to make it.

    I certainly intend no disrespect toward those who offer up suggestions for their favorite full-service charters, but I do want to emphasize that the purchasing of services from a paid outfitter is but one of many, many options for an enjoyable week.



    Posted 1 year, 10 months ago ago #470651

  • Avatar of Dana Crandall
    Dana Crandall
  • Ryan,
    I too was a 1st timer last year. One of the best decisions I made was to go with a charter. I would highly recommend that for a first timer as it allows you to concentrate on your ride and not have to think about your tent and gear. I also went with Bubba’s and would do so again if do RAGBRAI again this year. Attentive staff, Kelty tents and they also offered (at additional cost) a masseuse and bike maintenance. No doubt there are other good charters to choose from as well. I was not part of a team but it did not matter as the new friends I made at Bubba’s as well as riders from other charters became my riding buddies. There’s plenty of food, bike shops and portable facilities so don’t over pack. Consider a tent fan and earplugs for a good night sleep and a headlamp to stay hands free. Last but not least I would always locate the community pool at each end town. For about $5 you get a shower, towel and a pool to cool down those burning muscles. It really helped with recovery not to mention the record temperatures we experienced last year.


    Posted 1 year, 10 months ago ago #470653

  • Avatar of Jboz
  • Kevin (Gypsy Rose) expressed it perfectly. RAGBRAI, as in life, has many paths and each one can lead to a great experience. No single approach is the be all end all for everyone. The single most important component that will assure a great time isn’t the outfitter (or lack thereof) you choose, but rather the attitude you bring.


    Posted 1 year, 10 months ago ago #470654

  • Avatar of Dan in Iowa
    Dan in Iowa
  • I’ve done 5 or 6 RAGBRAIs and I’ve never been on a team. Well I had partners a couple of years, but RAGBRAI carried my partner’s bags and I pulled my BOB. It gave us a lot of freedom that way on where we camped too. I’d drop my stuff off and then use the BOB to get the other bag. My cousin, 3 years ago, would set up the tents while I got her bag and then we’d find showers and food. It was a ball!

    Rules to have fun:
    1. No Maps! there are 10,000 people going the right direction…you won’t get lost!
    2. No watch. It’s vacation. I eat when I’m hungry, I take a nap if I’m tired.
    3. I stop in every pass through town to find LOCAL entertainment and visit with locals.
    4. I try to start at a slightly different time each day, thereby riding with different people.
    5. I search out unique foods. Rock Falls won the prize on that in 2005 with rocky mountain oysters!
    6. Forget all the rules and do whatever I want on any given day as long as it’s legal and relatively moral!

    HAVE FUN not matter how you go!


    Posted 1 year, 10 months ago ago #470670

  • Avatar of Amanda
  • I don’t know if cost is a big concern. You’ll have to register with DMR ($150) plus whatever your charter costs – $200 – 1000? I am guessing. I am on a small team and pay the dmr and my team. I like the extras my team provides.


    Posted 1 year, 10 months ago ago #470700

  • Avatar of petra
  • Ed (and Petra, if you are going with Bubba this year), are you by any chance riding a recumbent? This will be my first year, and I have also signed up for Bubba’s services. I’ll be taking it easy (relatively speaking) on a Greenspeed trike.

    Steve, I plan to tent with Bubba again. I do not ride a recumbent but my partner last year did. See you there


    Posted 1 year, 10 months ago ago #471001

  • Avatar of ThinkPie
  • I agree with Gypsy Rose. My husband has done this 5 times; I’ve done it the last 3 years. We have always gone with just the Register truck service. Its basic but fun. Each year we discuss if we should go with a charter, but both of us agree that we wouldn’t want to change a thing. I think its a bit more of an adventure going this way. Definitely get yourself a tent fan…and a lightweight backpacking tent with lots of mesh. Any way you go,you will love RAGBRAI and bring home lots of great memories. The pie is motivation and reward enough for me..


    Posted 1 year, 10 months ago ago #471073

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