Advice from kid veterans on pie and other RAGBRAI essentials

  • 25 July, 2019
  • Shelby Fleig

Never — ever — pay more than $3 for a slice of pie.

That’s 12-year-old Karis’ main piece of advice for RAGBRAI virgins. Karis has rode across Iowa for the last eight years with her Ohio family, a tradition passed down from her grandpa to her Iowa-born dad.

She rode her own bike starting at age 7, and has made a century ride for the last three years, she said while relaxing in Bloomfield on Thursday morning.

Her little sister, 8-year-old Katie, has experienced RAGBRAI every summer of her life. She sports a unicorn helmet and hot pink bike decorated with colorful straws.

Given their expertise, the sisters had plenty of tips for young and old riders on food, recovery and fun.

On finding the best slice:

“If you’re really lucky, you will find a free pie stand, and that is the best thing you can get here. The goal of the week is to have as much fun and eat as much pie as possible. But never buy any pie over $3. Four bucks is too much for pie. And church ladies make the best pie,” said Karis, an apple pie lover.

Katie prefers grilled cheese.

On how to power through the long week:

At the end of the day, a hot shower does wonders, Karis said.

“Clean up, rest up, sleep, and get up and do it again.”

On how to gain confidence as a young cyclist:

“If you think you can do it, you can do it. You just have to have the will to go up a hill with a sore butt,” Karis said. “You don’t need to worry about going super fast every day, you just have to make the timelines.”

On how to have fun:

“Find the most cushiony bike shorts you can, because your butt is going to hurt all week. And just have fun. Have a blast. Enjoy it. Maybe even make it a tradition,” said Karis.

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