38 yr old Indiana woman looking to join a team, this will be my first year at the Ragbrai. I have family that lives east of Cedar Rapids and looking to find someone to ride with to the start of ride and transport supplies and gears to each overnight stop.
Damaris, Every year about this time, people start searching for a team to join. Do you want to join a team? Are you looking for a charter? 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. RAGBRAI will announce the Route for 2014 on January 25, 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: email@example.com or Tammy: firstname.lastname@example.org . You can check out PBV at http://www.pkbelly.com/about_us.php. I’ll meet you under PBV’s big circus tent!!!!
PBV is a nice option. They even have a flush-toilet trailer instead of Kybos. If you are looking for a traditional team experience though there are a few differences being with a team. As with most charters PBV is a very large group.
Teams I have been on charge a lot less then a charter. Rates are usually in the $220-$300 dollar range. Also teams are much smaller groups then charters. Both teams and charters no doubt are a ready source for new friends to ride with. My perception though is you make friends faster on a team because of its smaller size.
I would not look just at teams from Indiana. Teams that stage in Iowa work well as there is usually free parking in the staging location if you drive from Indiana. Also most teams do not need your bike partially disassembled and packed up in a box. Charters probably are logistically easier if you plan on flying. Although either work no matter how you get there.
Teams vary in culture also. Some hang together (both riding and socially) with a loosely scripted plan for the week and other teams only arrange camping and logistics. Avoid teams that require you to make a 2nd earlier trip to Iowa to work on their bus.
Later in spring you will find more teams on this forum looking to fill some spots so if you don’t find one right away, just wait, you will.
Teams are usually smaller (couple of dozen people, although I have seen teams, like Team Air Force or Team Skunk, that are much larger) lower-key operations made up of an already existing group that gets together for RAGBRAI; this may also carry over to other rides and events. May or may not own/operate a team vehicle of their own. The first teams were a bunch of people who probably kicked the idea around over a couple of beers — “Hey, wanna do RAGBRAI? I know where I can get a van to carry our stuff; we’ll split the cost for gas and take turns driving (or my GF will drive it) and the rest of us will ride” — and it quickly escalated to party buses, Ryder trucks, trailers, circus tents, and segregated camping areas. Many existing cycling clubs also form teams; and some teams have evolved into clubs of their own.
Charters, like PBV, Bubba’s, and Bikes to You, are generally for-profit entities that run the gamut from providing minimal services (a ride to the start/from the finish to a central point and gear shuttle during the week) to a fully supported, fully staffed, “mint-on-the-pillow” type service where just about anything your little heart desires is already included or can be arranged. Shelter, food, repairs, showers, refreshments, etc. are all provided for; in fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if one of these coming years some charter will provide a bike for you as well and all you need to do is show up and ride. Will sometimes refer to themselves as “outfitters” in the same vein as those companies that will set up and handle all the details for an Everest expedition, a big-game hunt, or a rafting trip down the Colorado River.
I’ll leave others to outline the various pros and cons. I’m afraid my personal biases would become too apparent.
Team Skunk was a carpool that got out of hand. Started in Ames with a few (6?)that did RAGBRAI 3 or 4. They were all talking about going again and decided this year to go together, that would have been about 1978. When the Register started to cap the ride numbers we agreed to cap ours at 120. Probably 2/3 every year are veterans, the others all know somebody already on the team. We do a few rides every year where we get together as many as possible, Root River in the fall is one we have done 15 years probably, maybe more. the day rides on weekends in the summer. And we have a spring meeting, Too Late to train Ride (Thursday night before RAGBRAI, It’s too late to start, might as well come out and have a couple drinks, a meal, and hang out for awhile, just leave the bike at home). Money we have left over at the end of the year usually goes to something bike relater, Dream Team, The High Trestle trail bridge over the DM River, Heart of Iowa Nature trail over the Skunk River near Cambridge, downtown Ames bike racks,
Always meant to ask, JW, but was Team Skunk ever affiliated with Michael’s Cyclery/the Skunk River Cyclists which was also out of Ames around the same time as RAGBRAI IV or V (middle 1970s)? Or was it just a coincidence in the similarities of the names?