The Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa

My pitch for East to West route

This is part of my post on another thread. I hope we go to Guttenberg since, realistically, I don’t think we’ll ever see Lansing again as an end town.

I still would like to go all the way to Lansing but I hold little hope of that ever happening. And that’s ashamed – the end town always gets, it seems to me, less of an economic benefit than the start town does (which – I think – is the best reason for alternating West to East and the next year East to West).

People could take their time getting into a small, start town on the Mississippi. Some enterprising charter services could make some money running shuttles from the airports in Chicago, Milwaukee, Davenport, etc. Still, I think the DMR will not go to Lansing as it is tiny. But they should consider STARTING in Guttenberg and going WEST.

65 Replies

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Pdiddly, September 5, 2013 at 2:32 pm

OMG, BLASPHEMY, BLASPHEMY!! Ban this man from RAGBRAI and his family for four generations!

Wait, that’s a pretty damn good point you’re making there Iceman. I have thought the same thing regarding the end town getting disproportionately less benefit than the start town. Most of the focus is getting the hell back home ASAP once the front tire gets dipped in the Mississippi. However, I think you might as well of asked for the ride to be done in Minnesota….

On the other hand, what are we if not adaptable to change….
😈

#591000

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Iceman, September 5, 2013 at 3:59 pm

Exactly, Pdiddly. How many times have you heard the RAGBRAI company line “It’s all about Iowa and for the benefit of its citizens.” Yeah, well then treat them all equally and fairly. Start on the East on occasion and go West!

#591010

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Davy Sprocket, September 6, 2013 at 6:46 am

iceman: …the end town always gets, it seems to me, less of an economic benefit than the start town does…

I spent the night in the end town this year and really enjoyed it. I will do it every year from now on. That said, I was appalled that anything Ragbrai was torn down by 4pm in Ft. Madison. There was no attempt to make the end town a desirable destination which is consistent with every end town. I wish we could start on Saturday so that we could ALL stay overnight in the end town Friday night and really celebrate a fantastic week. AND, give a little $$ bump to the end towns. The current system just seems so anticlimatic for such an awesome event.

JMHO,

Davy

#592050

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Iceman, September 6, 2013 at 10:17 am

Davy Sprocket: The current system just seems so anticlimatic for such an awesome event.

No, Davy, you are on point. But I doubt that the DMR will go for starting on a Sat.

That being the case, the only way to be fair to the towns on the Mississippi would be to occasionally go East to West and let them have the riders in for a full day or two at the start on the Mississippi.

And I may be wrong but I’ll bet that would open up a few more towns as possible start towns that currently are ruled out as ending towns. For example, I thought LeClaire was a good end town but apparently lots of folks – including the LeClaire city officials – thought, in retrospect, that they were ill equipped to handle the last day rush. A small town might be able to handle the start which builds up over a couple of days whereas they might not (in the DMR’s opinion) be suitable to handle a last day rush. I’d like to find out.

#592055

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Hillman, September 6, 2013 at 2:00 pm

it is only the most successful ride on the planet coming off one of the best years ever. sure, let’s mess with that winning formula. just ask “new coke” how that worked out

#592272

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Sandaltan, September 6, 2013 at 4:24 pm

Hillman is correct, this was an especially good year and there is no reason to change the formula except for the sake of “change”.

RIDE RIGHT

#592452

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Iceman, September 6, 2013 at 4:25 pm

Hillman, I think you are being a tad bit too conservative. It’s a bike ride, it’s in Iowa. They change the routes each year. But somehow you think going east to west is going to ruin it? To the contrary, I think the whole state of Iowa deserves to share in the benefits of RAGBRAI and clearly the far south and far north don’t benefit the same as the “I-80 corridor.” And the end towns don’t benefit the same as the start towns. Not fair and not even interesting, in my opinion.

#592454

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Hillman, September 6, 2013 at 4:56 pm

hey ice… “not fair and not even interesting, in my opinion”

then stay home.

i like the ride the way it is, and apparently, so do a few others

#592467

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Davy Sprocket, September 6, 2013 at 7:02 pm

Not doing something based on the reasoning of, “it’s never been done that way before”, or “it works why change” is ridiculous. The mail used to be delivered by horseback and it worked fine, but someone thought of using an airplane and wow, they discovered the world was not flat.

Never discourage a change of thought, but always vet it well before invoking change. The ride today is no where near the way it was the first 5 years of the ride. Yes, it evolved.

Ride on!

Davy

#592541

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Iceman, September 8, 2013 at 9:15 am

Hillman, you seem to have forgotten there are lots of folks/towns in Iowa that your attitude conveniently condemns to never have an equal chance.

#594693

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Hillman, September 8, 2013 at 7:32 pm

davy – you make some good points. i think change for the sake of change is not wise. change to make better is. i dont buy the mail with horses argument as the post office eventually went broke…. but you make a valid point.

ice, i dont buy the myth that the current system is not fair to the river towns. yes, people stay shorter the big ragbrai day, but there are thousands of people there the week before to catch buses or ride across. if it was so unfair, davenport wouldn’t be clamoring to host again so soon

to summarize, in my opinion, change to improve or fix a problem is wise, change just to mix it up is foolish

#595230

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Davy Sprocket, September 8, 2013 at 8:46 pm

Hillman: change to improve or fix a problem is wise, change just to mix it up is foolish

There ya go Hillman! Some common sense goes a long way. FYI, it was Congress that caused the USPS to go broke by sucking off their money, not the service it’s self.

I still think the end town should be a point of celebration just as the start town is a point of celebration.

Party on Wayne!

Davy

#595403

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jwsknk, September 8, 2013 at 11:08 pm

For. Me, a non early riser/rider, I wouldn’t care got eat to west. Riding onto the sun all day. Maybe that’s part of the reason some of us font get out until 9-10 am. Of course that probably would be mice got those 5+6 am riders.
now to help the last town and get people to stay a bit, shorten the last days mileage. Last year was what, about 65? We met at 2:00 to go to dip site, loaded trucks at 3:00, left town st 5:00. Ate there at the bar and drove straight back. Most other years stop halfway home to eat, so that usually meant leaving about 4:00 so we can get the trucks unlofef before it gets too dark.

#595634

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Iceman, September 9, 2013 at 1:40 pm

Hillman – it’s not a “myth” that the end towns don’t benefit as much as the start towns. Davenport wants people back to show off the town. They are larger than most end towns and they want to show off the more business opportunities and not just possible tourism opportunities to the riders.

Sure, some people come in the end cities on Friday before the ride but you’ve presumably done enough RAGBRAI’s to know it’s not even close to the numbers that have to start at the starting town. And when everyone hits the end town on the last Saturday, the only thing folks are then considering is how to get home as quickly as possible.

As was suggested earlier, I suppose they could try to encourage people to stay in the end city by starting the ride on Saturday (instead of Sunday) and ending on the next Friday, but my guess is that everyone’s attitude would not change and folks would simply be in a hurry to leave on
Friday instead of Saturday.

Face it – the start cities will always benefit much, much more than the ending cities. And that won’t change. Ever. Only way to benefit the Mississippi towns more is to start there every so often.

#596722

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jake d, September 9, 2013 at 9:27 pm

Ahh, an East to West route for RAGBRAI. We usually leave around 6 AM and get in around 1 PM, give or take an hour depending on conditions. What a joy it would be to ride most of the day with sun at my back.

I wonder about those who leave later and spend a good part of their day riding into the afternoon sun. Don’t worry though, those nasty 30-35 mph winds out of the SW have usually subsided by late July. Unless you count this Aug, and Sept.. Oh yes, there was that whole ‘Death March into Audobon’ thing a few years back, but I really think it was over blown.

I’m just thinking with an East-West route how much fun the last day in 2011 would have been going from Atlantic to Glenwood. Only 59.5 miles, a mere 4,298 feet of climb, and a reasonably comfy high temp. of 88 degrees. Okay the dew point was 74, and the humidity was 84%, but we’re talking about sharing the wealth here. I’m sure the afternoon sun in your face made it feel like a dry heat; suck it up, it’s RAGBRAI.

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