The Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa

wastewater from showers

Hey guys,
Hoping this is the right forum for this. We’re a new group this year, 3 members have ridden it, the remaining 11 are newbies. We’ve done quite a few multidays and group trips, but looking for a few hints. We have a 40′ MCI Challenger with rack and bunks for 14. In looking at what other teams do, looks like many have showers off the backs of their buses. We’re fine with just solar showers, but what do you do with the wastewater that comes off? I’d imagine after 15 or so showers in the same spot the ground is going to be pretty muddy, not to mention many parks/campgrounds don’t want the wastewater to be going directly into the ground. We’ve thought about a baby pool or some such to stand in, but picking it up to empty it seems pretty unwieldy. Help us be good campers and give us some hints!
Also, what are the lines like for the shower trucks typically? We’re fine with paying, but want a backup system just in case.

7 Replies

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“Bicycle Bill”, April 4, 2014 at 12:56 pm

When I was with Rainbow Cyclists, I remember that they had constructed platforms about half the size of a standard shipping pallet and constructed the shower stall (out of PVC piping, so it was collapsible for transport) around them.  Since you were standing on the platform and not on the ground, you didn’t churn up the dirt and create so much mud.  And we tried to locate them in an area where there was runoff to a storm sewer or other drain close by.




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“Bicycle Bill”, April 4, 2014 at 12:58 pm

Addition to above — the platforms were wood; the shower stalls (where the privacy curtain was hung) was made out of PVC.




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Julia, April 4, 2014 at 5:53 pm

Thanks! we had definitely planned a platform for our comfort, but wasn’t sure about the water just running off. Does make sense that we’d be less likely to churn it up though. Looking forward to it. Also, do you have a feel for if there is likely room for the bus? Secondary concern is that our bus is diesel with air brakes: it has to idle to come up to pressure prior to driving. All the other buses look like they are school buses: the driver will definitely wait as long as he can to leave, but worried about smoking people out (well, hoping it will be biodiesel, so maybe we will just make people want fries!).



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Sandaltan, April 4, 2014 at 6:37 pm

From this web site…THE RIDE…General Information:
“A number of campers use sun-heated portable showers. According to state law, it is illegal to dispose of waste water into any state-owned natural or artificial lake. Additionally you are requested to dispose of this water through appropriate sewage access. Please do not dump portable showers on the ground.”
To the best of my knowledge the state has not enforced this regulation during RAGBRAI. In my experience there are showers available 24/7…not always hot and the length of the line cannot be predicted, just go with the flow. There will be many diesel pushers and diesel pickups in the RV campground, don’t worry about yours affecting other riders. You prepare for the ride as best you can and then you play the cards you are dealt. You will have a memorable experience even if it rains every day. Anybody can be a sunshine & mild temps rider.

RIDE RIGHT (Above pun intended)



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Julia, April 4, 2014 at 6:41 pm

Thanks! As I said, we’re newbies and just don’t want to be “those people.”



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Ragbrai Nation, April 25, 2014 at 5:18 pm

No HAZMAT team is going to get too worried about a little bath water on the ground. Most clubs and charters require their riders to use biodegradable soap which they claim will not harm the turf or environment. Maybe so but it doesn’t clean either so I hesitate to use it. I think the next town can appreciate riders rolling in on a hot summer day, having had a decent shower the day before.



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Ragbrai Nation, April 25, 2014 at 5:23 pm

Speaking of armpits, I believe Mason City is home to Team Partners in Grime? Ha.



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