RAGBRAI XLIII Countdown – July 19-25, 2015
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Newbie Travel Questions

(19 posts) (13 voices)
Started 1 year, 5 months ago ago by Wichita
Latest reply from petra 1 year, 4 months ago ago

  • Avatar of Wichita
    Wichita
  • RAGBRAI travel on the cheap?
    Coming from Wichita KS. We will have two or three riders and gear.
    I suppose I’ll take my 15MPG SUV and drop it off in Council Bluff.
    We have no one sagging for us.

    I hear there will be plenty of vendors along the route but will there be free water/fruit along the way or do you have to pay for everything?

    Also, once you are at the next town, how do you find your gear with 10,000 riders?

    How far will I have to carry my gear to find a campsite or indoor camping spot? How can you get a more secluded spot? I’ve heard about reserving private resident spots for $3.00 but how would I get my gear there?


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    Posted 1 year, 5 months ago ago #494618

  • Avatar of jwsknk
    jwsknk
  • every town will have free water, but it usually as after all the wendorson the way out of town. The Iowa National Guard will probably be out with water, usually where there is a long stretch between towns. Sometimes other free samples turn up along the road.
    Using the Register baggage truck, following the route arrows will take you right there. Good news is not all 10,000 use those semis, Think I saw someplace once only about 6000. They place time markers along the line of luggage as the unload, so if you went on truck 1 at 7:00 look for that to narrow it down.
    Depending on what time you get in may have to go far or not. Lots of site selection issues to check out, kybo locations, overhead lights, streets…there will be 3-4 of youpick a spot and leave bikes there with someone then go get bags. If you don’t all come in together there are message boards near the Register info tent.
    If you go with the private houseing it is usually up to you to get your gear there. Some might offer to drop you off in the morning but with all the bike traffic around where the semis are it isn’t easy to get in and out sometines.


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    Posted 1 year, 5 months ago ago #494629

  • Avatar of Redboots
    Redboots
  • Cheapest way to go, use the general campground and general semis. If you want private housing, you’ll have to be able to take your stuff with you on your bike. Hard to pack light enough for that, but you might be able to do it with a camping backpack. It’ll need to be robust enough that you can go a few miles on it, your house might not always be near the general campground.
    Next cheapest? Go with a lightweight team. I saw some last year for $300, you might be able to find something less expensive, though that would be tough.
    I’m not an expert, was a virgin last year. This year I put together a team of 8, we are renting a van and trailer. Driver is a family member who wanted to get a fun experience without the saddle time. The only extra expenses are the rentals and gas, and we will make some of that up by having a little of our own food and gatorade.


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    Posted 1 year, 5 months ago ago #494714

  • Avatar of Tommy
    Tommy
  • To be honest, the way you’re planning your trip will take a lot of fun out of it, especially if it’s raining. Our team has room for a few more weeklong, registed riders on our bus. We camp at private homes. Based in D.M. but may have way back to C.B. Reply if interested in more details.


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    Posted 1 year, 5 months ago ago #494835

  • Avatar of ramblingman
    ramblingman
  • I was planning on coming in by train friday night from indiana and bicycle over to couscel buffs to get a hotel then use the semi’s to hold my stuff for the week and camp out on the sites then get a hotel saturday night in fort madison and train out. the cost of this so far is fairly cheap for me so far, anyone have better sugguestions?


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    Posted 1 year, 5 months ago ago #495722

  • Avatar of jwsknk
    jwsknk
  • Martin, sounds like a plan, one of the few times it works out good, as long as you can load your bike in Ft. madison.


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    Posted 1 year, 5 months ago ago #495762

  • Avatar of Sandaltan
    Sandaltan
  • Make triple sure that the railroad offers access, both eastbound and westbound, to the baggage car at Fort Madison and Omaha. Baggage access is not offered at all stops. Do you have to box your bike???? Again make triple sure, by that I mean phone more than once several days apart and ask the same question.

    RIDE RIGHT


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    Posted 1 year, 5 months ago ago #495763

  • Avatar of Dan in Iowa
    Dan in Iowa
  • Amtrak has baggage service in Omaha, but none in any of the stops in Iowa. It’s normally the cheapest way to take your bike with a $15 box and $5 shipping fee. The box is big enough that you just take your pedals off, turn your handlebars sideways and roll it in. But again, no baggage services in any of the Iowa stations.


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    Posted 1 year, 5 months ago ago #495765

  • Avatar of tjdale
    tjdale
  • Free Water: I rarely pay for water. There is often a church or political faction handing out bottled water for free. There is always a free water station in the pass through towns. And there are churches everywhere with water spigots outside! And if you take a few Gatorade packets you can save on buying sports drink by mixing your own with your free water. If you need to buy water or sports drinks, look to the dollar stores as they are the cheapest around.

    Gear: getting your gear from the Registers truck to a secluded camping site, and back the next morning, may be a problem. You will either have to pack extremely light, be willing to carry heavy loads, pull a trailer, or sign on with a team or club. If this is your first ride, I would suggest going with a team/club/charter. The cheapest alternative is to go with the Register truck, camp near the truck, and take ear plugs and a sleeping/eye mask for night time. The register trucks are usually near the main activities and can be busy/noisy.


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    Posted 1 year, 5 months ago ago #496144

  • Avatar of Chris
    Chris
  • As Mitchrider said, check out the general info section. Lots of good stuff in there.

    I think others adequately answered the water question, but do be sure to bring money with you for water. If we had a repeat of last year, you’ll still have to buy a decent amount of bottled water just getting from free stop to free stop. A buck a bottle is the going rate. Free fruit is more rare than free water.

    Finding your gear really isn’t bad. The bags are laid out in time order, so as long as you have an idea of what time you put your gear on the truck, you’ll have a good idea as to where it is when you go look for it. That said, don’t get a black duffel bag and call it a day. EVERYONE has black gear. We put safety yellow streamers on our bag last year, both top and bottom. We had our bag in under 5 minutes every day.

    I wouldn’t bother with the secluded idea. The farther from the gear truck you get, the farther you have to lug your stuff both ways. As tjdale said, earplugs and a sleeping mask, and camp within a few minute walk of the gear truck. You’ll be so damned tired that the extra bit of light/noise really just doesn’t play into a good night of sleep.

    RAGBRAI can be done on the cheap, but just be careful about being too cheap when it comes to water/food. You need both in decent quantities!

    How far will I have to carry my gear to find a campsite or indoor camping spot? How can you get a more secluded spot? I’ve heard about reserving private resident spots for $3.00 but how would I get my gear there?


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    Posted 1 year, 5 months ago ago #496419

  • Avatar of BigBird
    BigBird
  • Most of the replies so far recommending using the RAGBRAI semis for carrying your gear is predicated on the assumption that you and your fellow riders are registered riders. Please be advised that if you are not registered riders you won’t be able to use the baggage semis.

    That saying, and assuming that you are registered riders, bringing along ear plugs and eye blinders is your best bet rather then secluded camping, as this does not exist in any close proximity to the RAGBRAI baggage semis. If hauling your baggage to and from your campsite is a concern, I’d recommend that you ride with front and rear panniers so that you can shift stuff from your main baggage duffle to make carrying your kit easier. Pack your gear in large zip lock bags or camping stuff bags that can be easily and quickly pulled out of your baggage duffle and transferred to your panniers. If you can get your duffle downsized so that it can be worn like a oversized backpack (check army/navy stores for duffles with arm straps) you can then move your gear and your bike at the same time.

    Course limiting your gear to travel as light as possible is still your best bet. Cycling jerseys and shorts that can be rinsed out and reworn, after ride shorts/swim suits with liners eliminates need for, underwear, backpacker tent, backpacker sleeping bag or fleece bag, sandals vs. socks, etc. With practice and experimentation you can get your gear down to front, rear and trunk panniers and eliminate need for baggage semi. Just something to think about.


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    Posted 1 year, 4 months ago ago #499063

  • Avatar of Wichita
    Wichita
  • I’ve been busy coaching tennis and haven’t been back to my thread. Thanks MichRider for the General information thread. After the comments, I might consider a charter to carry my equipment and provide a campsite. The idea of riding all day and spending another hour so search and set up doesn’t sound too appealing.

    How do you start the day? Shorts right off the bat or do you layer? If you layer, you would need a bag on your bike. I’d like to avoid that other than maybe a small front back.


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    Posted 1 year, 4 months ago ago #500533

  • Avatar of Michrider
    Michrider
  • Wichita: “I’ve been busy coaching tennis and haven’t been back to my thread. Thanks MichRider for the General information thread. After the comments, I might consider a charter to carry my equipment and provide a campsite. The idea of riding all day and spending another hour so search and set up doesn’t sound too appealing.”

    You can count on the hottest part of your day is when you arrive in camp, try to find your bag, then put up your tent!!!! Go with a charter! There are many good ones but my favorite, as I’ve said before, is Pork Belly Ventures!!! Check them out! http://www.pkbelly.com/

    How do you start the day? Shorts right off the bat or do you layer? If you layer, you would need a bag on your bike. I’d like to avoid that other than maybe a small front back.

    Most days on RAGBRAI, you can start by wearing the bare minimum. I might start out by wearing a vest and arm warmers. Then put them back on later for an afternoon shower! If it’s an early morning rain, I figure it’s going to be an all dayer and wear my rain jacket!


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    Posted 1 year, 4 months ago ago #500534

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