The Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa

Just learned about RAGBRAI-Want to get plugged in!!!!

Hi everyone! I just learned about RAGBRAI from some people at work, and not sure how I am just now learning about this super awesome event?? I would love to get plugged in somehow. Are there any groups open for beginners? Any tips or tricks I should know? If anyone is willing to help me join the fun, I would appreciate it so much! Reach me at or (608) 769-9694

8 Replies

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William Mugan, April 18, 2017 at 3:47 pm

Marya Decker,

Welcome aboard. You are about to embark on a great journey.

The best thing to do is to review all of links on this site and to follow the forum discussions.

Also, under the Forums link, see “Clubs, Teams & charters.” There are always groups looking for new people.

Thanks for joining.


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jwsknk, April 18, 2017 at 4:09 pm

Get in some group rides before the event, and try to get about double the mileage. Get in a couple of weekends with back to back days of 50-60 miles. at some point during the week there will probably be a day of headwinds so might as well get used to those beforehand too. Ask your local bike shop if they know of any groups around your town that do it. How about the people at work you heard about it from, do they do it? A lot of the questions are answered on here in some of the other threads. After the lottery winners are announced (and that’s about everybody who applied on time) there will be looking to buy and looking to sell categories set up like last year.


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Marya Decker, April 18, 2017 at 5:06 pm

Thanks for the feedback! Do I need to register before I join a group? Because I see that weeklong registration is closed…Does that mean I register for each day separately or something? Any specific groups you recommend?


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Groeny82, April 18, 2017 at 7:02 pm

You will easily be able to find week long wrist bands for sale on these forums. You can either join a team before or after you get a wristband. Next year it doesn’t really matter if you join a team before or after you register either. If you join a team before you register it makes your chances of winning the lottery better because if one person from the team gets on, the whole team gets on. That being said, I have never heard of anyone, on a team or not, not getting a wrist band. And if you are a self sufficient person you don’t even need to join a group. Thousands of people use the RAGBRAI truck to haul their luggage and tent, that’s what your registration fee is paying for anyway. There are a lot of threads on the forum for beginners, tips, advice, what to pack, etc. If you don’t find anything by browsing just type in your question in the search bar at the top of the page, lots of links will come up.


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mshifflett, April 18, 2017 at 7:20 pm

Hello Marya! First of all, welcome!

You asked about registration since you missed the weeklong registration deadline. I guess I would suggest that you just buy a wristband and credentials on this forum. There will be some “for sale” and some “wanted to buy.” You may have noticed a couple of people have already asked for some to buy. Usually there are people who find they cannot ride and will sell their stuff. RAGBRAI allows the official transfer of wristbands, etc. I sold one last year (for a teammate) and it was painless. You do have the option of registering for day passes, too, but the weeklong is probably easier and cheaper.

Now, about joining a group. I might suggest that you use social media to see if you have any friends riding. Posting on Facebook, biking groups, etc. and see if there are any friends riding. Sometimes I am surprised about former students, old church friends, etc., who are riding (of course, I guess since we live in Iowa it’s a little more common). I see that someone suggested checking with bike shops in your area. That is good advice, too. Some college alumni and professional organizations have groups, so maybe check with schools you’ve attended, too. Different groups have different personalities. Last year a former student of mine asked about joining my group. I told her we were just a few old ladies, but that she was welcome to join us. I figured she might be happier with a “younger” group, but she stayed with us all week and we had a terrific time.

I’ve never used a charter, so I won’t give you advice there, but I’ve seen lots of charter advice on this forum. Check back through posts, and you can even look through posts from last year.

As far as training, you’ll find David Ertl’s training guideline on this website, probably in the blog. I’ve used it in past years and if you follow it (even loosely), you should be fine.

You are always welcome to contact me if any questions pop up that you don’t see answered. My email is Good Luck!


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KenH, April 19, 2017 at 7:40 am

If that is you skydiving in your avatar then somehow I get the feeling you have the “right stuff” to do RAGBRAI just fine!

You can buy day passes but by far the cheapest way to get credentials is to just wait until people need to sell them. The price goes down as the start date approaches and sellers get desperate. Those who pay attention to these things claim that there are more sellers than buyers every year so you should be fine. If you decide to go with a charter they will want to know your wristband number so you will have to connect with a seller in time to meet their deadline rather than waiting for the best possible price.

People do this ride solo using the Register baggage truck service and have a grand time. I was going to do that last year but my wife wanted me to be in a group that would notice if I did not show up some evening. So I went with the Riverbend Club/Charter. I met them at the end town where I parked my car. They took me to the start town on a nice bus. Then they hauled all my stuff from town to town during the week and provided many other services that made the week more pleasant. They are very affordable, other charters provide much more “stuff” for a much bigger fee but I’ve never heard anyone say a bad word about them either. So, solo, team, charter (economy or deluxe), there is no bad way to do RAGBRAI, take your pick.

If you go with a charter or team you will make instant friends you can pal around with all week and ride with during the day. If you go solo that might be a little harder but it’s not hard to make friends on RAGBRAI.

You need to get yourself and your gear/bike to Iowa and home again. If you live in Iowa and have friends/family who can drop you off at the start and pick you up at the end, great. If not but you live close enough to drive to either the start or end town then you can arrange parking there for your car for the week and catch a shuttle with a charter group (whether you spend the week with them or not) to get between the start/end town and your car as needed at the beginning or end of the week. If you have to fly in then typically you ship your bike and get a charter shuttle between your airport and the start/end towns. There are bike shipping companies that specialize in RAGBRAI who can take care of your bike. And there are some bike rentals available too if you’d rather do that but probably want to sign up early.

There are packing lists available that newbies can use as a guide. Stay as light as you can and definitely respect the weight limits your charter or the Register truck sets — they will check! If you will be tent camping and you have a tent then as long as it does not put you over the weight limit for your chosen baggage transporter for the week you can use that. If you need to buy a tent I would suggest at least a two person tent and better yet a three person tent. It is just easier if you have plenty of room for you and your gear.

Your area code would put you in SW Wisconsin, some of the loveliest country on Earth! You should be able to find a bike club near you with members who do RAGBRAI. Hook up with them, join them for pizza some night, and they should be able to give you all the help you need. They might even have their own team or charter you could join. Or ask those people at work, if they know about the ride they’ve probably done it or know people who have.


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gringonick, April 19, 2017 at 8:04 am

I’ve done two Ragbrais, this will be my third. I come in from FL, so I use Pork Belly Ventures charter to handle all my logistics. Since you are from beautiful Wisconsin, you will have more transportation options to start town and from end town. I am certain there are a plethora of groups, teams from Wisconsin that do Ragbrai.
Whether you use a charter such as PBV or not, the Pork Belly website is very informative, including the much needed packing list. Again, always pack less than you think you need for clothing! (you can always buy souvenir T shirts etc along the way.
The weeklong passes to buy from those who get one but now can’t go will be plentiful. I sold mine one year for $100 about a week before Ragbrai, and there were dozens of sellers begging to sell their passes for best offer.
When I first went in 2014 I just read and read and read every forum topic, charter company websites, the ragbrai website on training and highlights of what to do along the way.
It is an addictive event! I don’t understand how a person could just do Ragbrai once.
There is no “right way” to do Ragbrai, as everyone attests throughout the forum. Just read up, and the “right way” for you will probably become clear. For me, in 2014 it was PBV due to my budget and logistical concerns (bike shipping, don’t own or want to own a tent), and I just wanted to focus on the ride and not all the details. It was a great virgin year with them, and I will continue with them. I used to live in MN and Omaha and never did Ragbrai (sounded ridiculous at the time…heheheh), but living that close and being much younger and with a smaller budget I most likely would have found some other locals and done the Ragbrai support truck.
You have plenty of time to prepare for this Ragbrai, so just read up, train, and buy that pass when they start getting posted on the forum.
Ride On!


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hnschipper, April 19, 2017 at 2:36 pm

In the past, there has been a limit on number of day passes an individual can purchase. I don’t know that you can buy a day pass for every day of the ride – I think the limit was 3 or 4 days. Maybe that’s changed.


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