The Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa


RAGBRAI Co-Founder and Syndicated Columnist Donald Kaul Sees the End of the Road Approaching

The thoughts and prayers of the RAGBRAI Nation are with Donald Kaul and his family.

by Kyle Munson
Iowa Columnist for the Des Moines Register

Donald Kaul, the journalist renowned both for his polarizing columns and for co-founding the cultural institution that is the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI), is dying.

Of course all of us inch closer to the grave with every breath. Some of us have felt the end was nearing as we gasped up RAGBRAI’s steepest hills. And I can imagine Kaul feeling like he wants to die each time our president goes on Twitter to brag about his bigger button.

Sadly, I mean that Kaul is sick, so sick that he expects to die within the year. The prostate cancer that he has battled finally metastasized into his skeleton. Treatment has ended.

to read Kyle’s full column,


airman2482, Jan 12, 2018 at 5:13 am

Prayers to him and his family.

BkellyCal, Jan 12, 2018 at 6:33 am

Very sad news.
Maybe two loops this year Kaul and Karras?

mrwonderful, Jan 12, 2018 at 10:16 am

Always sad to hear.

kingkenny, Jan 12, 2018 at 2:53 pm

Don Kahl I want to thank you for what you have done for over 10,000 riders the last full week of July every year. I for one had Prostate cancer and was lucky enough to have a biker friend from Colorado tell me to get my PSA checked. That saved my life, as I am now 7 years cancer free. Thanks for the 27 Ragbrai rides & counting I have done as a result of you. I look forward to the next ride you have planned for thousands of us as we follow you again to our next GREAT adventure. Remember when you ride those trails in Heaven to Keep the Shiny Side Up & the Rubber Side Down. I like thousands look forward to what you have planned for us next. Prayer to you and your family. King Kenny, Team S.N.I.F.F.

JBonte, Jan 12, 2018 at 2:57 pm

I sure miss Don’s columns in the Register. My prayers are with him and his family.

David Trieweiler, Jan 12, 2018 at 3:16 pm

One of my favorite all-time columnists. So sorry to hear the news.

Jayne, Jan 12, 2018 at 5:13 pm

My prayers will be with you and your family.
I completed my first RAGBRAI in 2016 and had the best time of my life. Hoping to do it again.
Thank you for all your hard work over the years.
May God Bless.

tvermeersch, Jan 12, 2018 at 6:42 pm

So sorry to hear about your illness. Back in “the day” (read early 70’s) I read your column avidly as a 9th grader and always looked forward to your point of view. And as a 22 x RAGBRAI veteran, I cannot thank you enough for the institution known as RAGBRAI; my favorite time of the year. God Bless.

PS: our current events teacher “back in the day” was a huge fan of yours as well – we used your column as debate material a number of times.

soianewlee, Jan 13, 2018 at 11:33 am

“. And I can imagine Kaul feeling like he wants to die each time our president goes on Twitter to brag about his bigger button” With a statement like that is why the registers columnists have no credibility or class. Prayers to him and his family.

Mark Bucherl, Jan 13, 2018 at 1:51 pm

Last year was my first RAGBRAI. Enjoyed it tremendously! Thank you for your efforts and legacy for the 1000s and 1000s of riders. I pray for your journey, the one we all must follow eventually, for your peace, loved ones, and for the everlasting joy to come.

bdeltawoods, Jan 18, 2018 at 8:54 am

I pray that your heart will be open for God’s love, His forgiveness through Christ and the fact that human death is truly a transition, not an end of it all. Jesus really is the truth and the life!

If you are like most people under great stress, sometimes even what words to say or ask are hard to come by. But the mere plea, “help me” is always profound and elegant.

I am praying for you,


AndyS, Jan 19, 2018 at 11:39 am

Thank you, Donald Kahl, for your wonderful columns in the Register . . . which I read w/zeal as a young Grinnell College student beginning in the fall of ’77. I got to know Iowa through your words and view, and later, via RAGBRAI. I’m drinking a cup of Joe as I write, so, thoughts and prayers to to you, “Over the Coffee.”
-Andy Strauss

teamloon, Jan 21, 2018 at 6:38 pm

Dear Donald Kaul,
I have you & your family in my prayers. And I’ll add my thanks for 25 wonderful years of “spoilage” on RAGBRAI. Iowans can’t be beat for their hospitality & kindness to TOTAL strangers! We get added to the family tree of almost everyone who’s been our host. We are soooo grateful. We can’t wait to “fly” South for another week of laughs & sights to see in July & all of that Southern charm you spread out! God’s Peace! Mary & her flock of Loons (Aka: Mamaloon)[

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