2012 was my 1st Ragbrai. It had been on my bucket list for a couple of years. So why do you ride Ragbrai year after year? I must have missed something the first time because I thought I was one and done. It was fun, but not necessarily a thing that would keep me coming back each year. Please read on.
To set the story straight, I am commited to ride Ragbrai in 2013. I am trying to find the answer to why people do it year after year. I grew up in a small town in western Iowa, and moved out after high school. Love small towns, the people, and everything that goes on.
I read the forums, did the training, and set my expectations accordingly. Stopped in each town, talked to people, and tried to get the full Ragbrai experioence. I talked to a lot of people last year that have ridden Ragbrai for 10-15 years. The best answer I could get of why they did it was because that is what they did each year.
I love the feeling of accomplishment at the end. I love the anticaption building up to the ride. It makes me feel young and I really love that! But I think it’s still my friends that I get to hang with all week long that makes me come back every year! And the food . . .
I ride RAGBRAI because it allows me to spend quality time with friends.
I love waking up every morning knowing that the only thing I have to do that day is ride my bike.
RAGBRAI is a true vacation, it is so busy with the task of riding your bike across Iowa, that you don’t have any time for the day to day distractions.
I grew up in central Iowa and moved away to a larger metropolitan area after college. RAGBRAI reconnects me to all of those old wonderful feelings and memories.
I also love the sense of accomplishment.
XL wasn’t the “avarage” RAGBRAI, probably above, in temps and the numbers not finishing each day. This year it will be more moderate(it can’t be a hotter week, can it?) Back to the question, What the princess said, that and I still have 1 more county in Iowa to get to on RAGBRAI, Come on TJ, Allamakee for 53! I know the next is 51 but I predict it will go south, besides, 53 rhymes.
I don’t. I go about every 3 years and do other types of solo rides the other years. Last year, my wife and I did a 6 day ride from our home to her 2 sisters’ homes in Nebraska. Eastern Nebraska is HILLY! We met other cyclists including a 71 year old Kona Ironman qualifier. This guy talked to us in our campground as we were packing up for the day and told us he took 2nd in his division in the Boston Marathon. Looked him up. Yep! We also met a paraplegic cyclist that had a lot more miles than I had last year.
This year, I’m back. I’m a cycling addict, but not a RAGBRAI addict.
I ride for the adventure, the fun, being with friends I see only once a year. The stories you run into on RAGBRAI are priceless, and timeless. You’ll recount for years. I’ve ridden 30 so far. My plan is to ride at least another 22 RAGBRAIs to make a full 52 weeks of RAGBRAI, and I’m sure to celebrate the Bicentennial of Iowa in 2046, they’ll have an optional 200 mile loop, like the 150 mile loop I did in 1996. I’ll be 76 at that time, but I’ll give it a go.
I was in high school in Omaha the first year of the ride, and remember asking “WHY THE HELL WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO RIDE A BICYCLE ACROSS IOWA?” I didn’t start cycling until about 15 years later, and did my first mulit-day ride (Bike Virginia) in ’97. I heard so many riders talking about RAGBRAI, and to tell the truth, I WAS SCARED OF IT! I’d heard the stories of the heat, the hills, the drinking, the drugs, the sex (now my ears were perking up). I met a wonderful lady on Bike VA 2 years later who had ridden several RAGBRAI’s and she was such a cheerleader for the ride – she guaranteed that it would be the BEST ride I’d ever been on. I registered for the ’99 ride, did it, and cried like a baby the day it was over – it was such an emotional high – the intensity of the ride, the crowds, the fun, the food, the entertainment – I KNEW at that moment that I would be back! I’ve only missed 1 year since, and plan on coming back home every summer as long as I can to be a part of this ride. I love the idea of a 200 mile ride in 2046, but I’ll be in my 90′s then. Well. that gives me something to keep working towards and living for!
The adventures and stretching of the mind and body. The excitement, anticipation, and adrenaline. But mostly, as Mel said, it is a complete break from the stresses of everyday life. Where you get to see some of your best friends you seldom see the rest of the year and ride your bike. There is no room in your mind to worry over what happens the other 51 weeks of the year.
I have only done two. I love it cuz I love to watch people. There are so many characters there. I love the sense of accomplishment. At the end of XL I was parked waiting for my spouse to finish and I got to meet and help two different groups of riders wrap up their day. I saw one guy meet his partner and he pointed down to his thighs, “Look at these!” He was so excited and she hugged him mightily. I was fun to see. I love to train for it. too. That part keeps me going. #3 coming up!! Geaux Team will be 4 strong this time!! My daughter and her spouse are coming too! Laissez les bons temps rouler!!
I’ve done six RAGBRAI’s. Four in a row, skipped two, then two in a row. I think I have it out of my system for now. Why? The HUGE number of people who decided that RAGBRAI isn’t a bicycle ride at all; it’s simply a vacation with optional cycling. While the weather was hot (it is Iowa in July!), the numbers of people who obviously hadn’t trained to be ready for the test that to me is RAGBRAI made me feel odd just for riding the entire route every day. My charter was turned inside out by the pressure to convey “tired” cyclists to the next overnight town. I’m ready to ride with people who get more joy out of the bicycle than beer. The people of Iowa kept me coming back, but the “tourists” have driven me away. I’m sure I’ll do it again some day, but for now, I’m off to other adventures.
We ride almost every day. We spend our winters in Arizona, it will be 62 degrees today. We ride self contained on the Adventure Cycling routes. We do weekend camp outs with our friends. Club rides, tandem rallies, mountain bikes and love it all.
Bur Ragbrai is on of a kind. It’s all about the ride-through towns. Another surprise every 10 miles or so. Where else you get that kind of support? Reagbrai is one of kind.
Because I still can. Done 8 so far. The first was a new adventure, the rest because it was so much fun. All the rides included one or more of my adult children. It’s a whole different world out there during RAGBRAI