My son and I are thinking about riding in 2013. I have no doubt that I will love it, but I do have a few concerns in regard to my son. He will be 15 years old next year. I know that he can physically handle the ride; last summer we rode across NY, VT, and NH with fully loaded panniers.
I have to be honest, looking at online photos, I do not see many young people. The prime Ragbrai demographic appears to be people that look like me! My son rides with his “ole” dad a lot! None of his friends ride; I was hoping that he could find a few new buddies and hang with them. He does make friends easily. So… any thoughts, ideas, or opinions would be appreciated!
are you planning on joining up with a charter, team, throwing your bags on the Register truck or going self contained? A larger charter or team might have others about his same age, we have had some in the past but right now that crop just had the youngest start his forst year at college. In the main campground you will mix with a larger group and probably have different neighbors every night unless you meet up with someone and plan on getting in togetherthen findings spots together. The local swimming pool might be a good spot if you get in early. And, on the road during the day look for people about the same age and look at the RAGBRAI “livense plates” people fill out and look for connections. from same are of the country or place you have ridden, or maybe it’s their 2-3 year or they are playing a song you like or in behind someone who is.
Yes, the larger the charter (which means for you, PBV) the better. No offense to the other charters, but the larger the charter, the more likely you find other teenagers on the roster. I’ve done eight RAGBRAI’s, all with PBV, and there are plenty of teenagers there. Get Tammy or Pete at PBV to give you their names ahead of time (if they say it is ok) or, even better, use the PBV tent service and tell Tammy or Pete to put your tent next to their tents.
And that leads you to another point. Using PBV’s tent service is always worth the money but especially when you take a child or a spouse. I used to take my own tent all the time and I have never seen anything start arguments like those which originate with putting up your own tent. You come in at the conclusion of the day’s ride – all hot and tired – or you get up in the morning and the typical 15 year won’t get up – and so it begins. Do yourself a favor with the 15 year old and use the PBV tent service. Plus, if you trust your 15 year old and his new friends to venture into town on their own -and most people do on RAGBRAI – and it frees you up sooner to rest your old, tired bones under the PBV tent with a cold beer or two or three while the kid goes to town.
I rode RAGBRAI for the first time last year. We rode with Siouxland Cyclists and there were about 3or 4 kids you sons age(14-18ish). Those Kids did very well. One of the kids has been riding since he was very young( 8 years old maybe) with his parents. The kids left after us and usually were at the end town before us. Have fun with your son, it is a great time.
The cool thing with RAGBRAI (OK…ONE of the cool things) is that on the bikes, we’re all peers, no matter what age. I took my son twice on the ride. He had a ball. The last time he was 14 so about your son’s age. Will had as much fun talking to my age group as he did others. At that time in his life, he wasn’t as outgoing as he is now at ate 21, but had a hoot with it anyway. This is his favorite picture that I conned these girls into doing to freak out his mom. He wouldn’t talk to them afterwards, the fool!
My then 15 year old nephew and I road our first RAGBRAI in 2009. His mom was concern about me being able to “control” him. I didn’t control him, he controled himself. We talked about what I expected of him, showing respect to the team members and the town people, helping without being asked, showing patience to everyone, and just having a good time. He and I ate breakfast every morning after leaving camp, then after eating I sent him on his way. I told him “get away from me and have some fun” He had freedom, his behavior was his responsablity. On the bus ride home, just before he fell asleep he thanked me for taking him. This year will be our 5th ride. We have soooo much fun and we see a different side of each other. Come to Iowa and have a great time. Summer
I had a similar experience with Will. He would take off me and then I would hear, “Yo Bro!” when he was looking for food money!! About day 2 I made sure he had money to buy his own food stuff, but I would still hear it since he would wait for me at lunch times! I only got called Dad twice the whole week! I was “Bro” and he was “Dude.”