The word “Team” is probably a misnomer. When I mention the “team” that I ride with on RAGBRAI, my friends immediately conjure up visions of a competitive event. As we all know, that’s not the case.
I wish there was a single word to describe it as a group of friends that get together to ride and support one another for a week on an amazing ride named RAGBRAI.
It must be that the word “team” evolved out of the fun ways that folks dreamed up for describing their groups. Certainly, “Team Roadshow” (the gang I ride with), has no competitive aspirations. We pride ourselves in being the last riders to reach the Mississippi, chanting, “We’re number last! We’re number last!”
It’s all just a gloriously fun reunion every year and the “team” is a way to pool resources to make the event all the better.
Team Skunk, a car pool that got of hand
Really, 1978 I think it was a few people from ames that had gone before decided to car pool out to the start and sitting around in Skunk River Cafe decided the group needed a name. At first used a horse trailer to haul bikes out and luggage during the week. Out grew that and imposed a 120 person cap. 2 charter bussesand 2 24 fro trucks to haul bikes and people out and back. 1 24 foot truck for the week. Also another. Suv type for shopping and stuff and we have a mechanic/ bike shop owner from Minneapolis who brings a van and his tools along with a few common parts,tubes, tires,cables,etch.
I will second the advantage of camaraderie, but a little talked about benefit is the increased chance of being selected in the lottery. If one team member is selected, then the entire team gets entered. It increases your odds substantially. Oh, and it is also nice when a teammate rides by with an extra tube or pump when stranded.
Davy, when I rode my first few RAGBRAIs we were all one team. No one would have thought of riding past someone having problems without at least slowing down to see if there was anything one could do, whether it was loan a tube or pump to provide an extra hand to just sit down alongside and provide moral support while waiting for the sag.
Of course, most riders back then were a little better prepared for the occasional problem than some of the ‘riders’ these days. -“BB”-
Teams also make logistics much easier. Teams are much smaller groups then the central RAGBRAI camp and usually much smaller then most charter groups. So when you get to your team’s host for the evening it is far easier to find your gear and a camp site close to your team vehicle. Some teams like the one I ride with out of Minneapolis have a bus and also transport your bike and luggage to the start and from the end town. Others you can join have a town in Iowa that they both start from and end at. Teams fees are also usually much cheaper then a charter. Ours last year was $275 including the bus to and from Minneapolis.
For our group it means transport of bikes and gear to and from Ragbrai, less expense ($250 for the week), all gear nice and dry every day, a place to stay with shower, food and beer waiting when we get in and good friends to take care of one another if bail, emergency care or sag are required. The biggest problem is keeping a cap on group numbers, because everyone wants to ride the Shortbus.
Thanks for the responses. As I’m already registered it appears that, if selected in the lottery, I should try to find others in northeast Kansas that are participating. They might be doing something similar to what has been described or maybe I’ll meet people I enjoy riding with and can ride with after the big week. Really looking forward to this!
All great reasons for teams, though “paid staff” comment probably means its a charter rather then just a group of cyclists who enjoy riding together whether on or off RAGBRAI. Team Flamingo has been on the road for over 30 years. We add a new friend or two to the flock every year and look forward to our July “reunions”! Riding with team mates rather then alone just makes the week go that much better. Say “hi” to the Flamingos when you see us on the road. We’re easy to spot in our neon pink team colors.