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Several first-timer questions

(4 posts) (4 voices)
Started 2 years, 2 months ago ago by Jeff Parks
Latest reply from Gockeye 2 years, 2 months ago ago

  • Avatar of Jeff Parks
    Jeff Parks
  • Hello, everyone. I’m thinking about my first-ever RAGRAI this coming coming July, and I’d appreciate a little advice and some suggestions.

    I’ve done a lot of unsupported, loaded tours in the last few years, of a duration of four weeks or more…Buenos Aires (Argentina) – Valparaiso (Chile), Costa Rica/Nicaragua, eastern Europe Warsaw-Bucharest (along the Danube, mostly), and most recently The Great Benelux Battlefields Bikeabout, looping from Amsterdam, through the Netherlands, into Belgium, northeast France, back thru Belgium and finishing in Luxembourg, visiting WWI/II battlefields and sights along the way. So, I’m not unfamiliar with cycle touring. Some questions about RAGBRAI, though.

    I own a Trek 5.0 Pilot road bike and a Surly Long Haul Trucker tourer. Which is the more appropriate bike for RAGBRAI, do you you think?

    Assuming I bring the Trek (my preference, since it’s lighter and faster, and I don’t have to haul a lot of sh…uh, stuff) are 23mm tires appropriate? I’ve read that the road surfaces on RAGBRAI ain’t always optimum for skinny tires. Would you advise going up to 28mms?

    Did a lot of camping – well, most of the time – on this last tour, and I ended up, halfway thru it, mailing my tent on to my already-booked accomodation in Luxembourg City, simply ’cause I wasn’t using it. I vastly prefer a hammock – far more comfortable, easier to swing/strike than a tent, didn’t have to worry about finding level ground, etc. I do have a rain cover for it, of course. Question is – how hammock friendly are the campgrounds along the route, generally? Some campgrounds don’t like them, or have nowhere they can be swung. I suppose I could bring both hammock and tent, but that’s a little bit of a PIA. Do the campgrounds have suitable areas for hammocking?

    Thanks for any insights or comments you might have to offer.


    Posted 2 years, 2 months ago ago #333327

  • Avatar of jwsknk
  • You will see a lot of treks a lht’s on the ride. So both will go fine.. I take my Burley Vagabond. Almost. All pavement or blacktop but they did manage to find a couple blocks of gravel last year getting out of a couple towns. Mostly center cracks you need to watch for and rumble strips. Tent or hammock? I’d you with tentmight be hard to find lace for hammock with 12,000 other people around. Lots of bbig open fields for campgrounds like school grounds, fairgrounds, soccer fields…


    Posted 2 years, 2 months ago ago #333502

  • Avatar of ts
  • Jeff Parks:
    Hello, everyone. I’m thinking about my first-ever RAGRAI this coming coming July, and I’d appreciate a little advice and some suggestions.

    Compared to what you’ve done, RAGBRAI will be easy and fun, so concentrate on the fun aspect. To that end, the Trek seems like the better choice, but either would be great. One thing about RAGBRAI is that you’ll see at least three of everything, even things you didn’t know existed.

    I’ve ridden on both 23mm and 25mm tires and didn’t notice much difference. The road quality varies from beautiful to ugly and everything in between, but the average is good. Personally, I like 23mm but either would be fine.

    Don’t count on being able to use a hammock. Most of the campgrounds aren’t heavily treed. And since the most valuable commodity on RAGBRAI is shade even if there are trees, your odds of finding two together that you can use are vanishingly small. You might have better luck lashing your hammock to two bumpers in the RV area, but that wouldn’t be very attractive. Bring the tent.


    Posted 2 years, 2 months ago ago #333520

  • Avatar of Gockeye
  • Your 700×23′s will be fine. All of my riding is on 700×20′s, and I have no issue riding RAGBRAI on those.

    I also agree with the comments above. Bring your tent. You won’t find many, if any, trees in the campground areas.


    Posted 2 years, 2 months ago ago #335171

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