FAQ to address registration and cancellation deadline


We’ve had several questions come in over the last week about how our registration and cancellation refund extension impacts individual riders, teams, the lottery, and more. We wanted to provide the details for all those questions in this post. Click on the link below for the detailed FAQ.


Like most businesses and events, RAGBRAI is assessing the on-going situation as it pertains to Coronavirus (COVID-19). We are working with our communities, local bike shops, charters, teams, and internal leadership teams to make the best decision for all parties involved including our riders. We haven’t made any definitive changes to our plans at this time. Should that change we will make those announcements publicly.

As always, please email us at info@ragbrai.com with questions. We will do our best to get back to you as soon as possible.

Thank you,



John Osbolt, Mar 24, 2020 at 10:04 am

A lot of teams contact homeowners asking to stay in their homes during Ragbrai week. Our team has been doing this for years and because of our excellent reputation we have been fortunate enough for the past 5 years to get homes via referrals. We usually have all our hosts homes confirmed by mid April or early May… HOWEVER, obviously, this is not a normal year. If we cannot secure homes OR if we have confirmed a home and our host thab decides not to share their home with us we have a major logistical issue. The sooner Ragbrai decides to continue the ride or not would help a lot of teams plan accordingly. Thank you for your efforts in the extraordinary time.

Anne Lawrie, Mar 25, 2020 at 10:55 am


We appreciate your perspective and experience as always. We’ve talked at length about the housing component of the ride with our overnight towns. We will take your advice on making a decision in a timely manner for the benefit of the riders, towns, and businesses involved to heart. Be well. Anne

Bruce Woodrow, Mar 26, 2020 at 1:15 pm

I sympathize with your desire to not pull the plug prematurely, but everything I have seen suggests that an event like RAGBRAI cannot happen this year.

International: Riders from outside the U.S. cannot currently enter the US unless on essential business (yes I know we consider RAGBRAI essential, but governments will not). I do not expect this to change by the end of the summer.

Interstate: I do not know if Iowa has placed travel restrictions on those entering the State, but it is asking residents returning from anywhere, including the rest of the U.S., to self-isolate for 14 days after entering Iowa.

SPREAD: It seems a lot of folks can’t really wrap their head around exponential growth. Iowa has now passed 100 cases, and patterns in other states and countries suggest rapid growth should be expected. Modelling at Ontario universities indicates that #PhysicalDistancing may be needed for another 32 weeks (into November).

So, will it be safe to ride (and congregate in towns) by late July? I personally doubt it. But perhaps more importantly, will the definitive answer be available before June 1st? Probably not.

Since I am an international rider (Canada), in my late 60s with asthma, I can’t imagine that things will change enough for me to decide to participate, and especially to decide by June 1st that it is worth the risk.

My personal feeling is cancel, and do it sooner rather than later. You have my condolences in having to make this difficult decision in these uncertain times.

Robert Donnelly, Mar 27, 2020 at 11:09 am

If the ride is cancelled, I would hope that the route would be the same next year.

mcpartla, Mar 29, 2020 at 3:57 am

Ragbrai cannot possibly endure their safety of riders and communities bringing in many people from all over the world with no anti-virus possible in less than 12-18 months. Why risk a disease that kills and potentially spread to communities and loved ones back home? Cancel now. It’s the responsible thing to do.

Kelli Libby, Mar 29, 2020 at 7:48 am

Thank you for keeping us updated.
These are unusual times and require flexibility, from all.
We hope to see you in July and look forward to a time we can all get together for some much needed participation in a beloved event.
Thank you

Johnnyd11, Mar 29, 2020 at 8:05 am

Where’d you get your medical degree Bruce Woodrow? I will bet anyone $1.00 that RAGBRAI will go on as planned in 2020. By late July, 12% of Americans will not even remember the word, “Covid19.” By the end of 2020, that percentage will increase to 47% and by January 2022, 85%.

Joe Cona, Mar 29, 2020 at 8:36 am

If the ride is cancelled, will we have the option to roll over our current year registration fee to next year instead of getting a refund?

John Osbolt, Mar 29, 2020 at 10:00 am

To Johnnyd11 – one question for you… What if you are WRONG???

Mirjam Dekker, Mar 29, 2020 at 4:51 pm

ehm .. an easy
“Bummer, if you are faced with having to cancel RAgbrai2020 click here” button that would be much easier

Papa T, Mar 29, 2020 at 5:54 pm

Hesus !! Just COOL it for a bit! We may Know A LOT in Just a month from now! Recollect how much you didnt know a month ago!! Maybe things won’t improve (in a Month), But its likely they WILL! There may be a cure, it may go away by itself (Warmer weather), Or it may be as bad as it is now. I think the third option is the least likely . Go Ragbrai!! (Did I mention I cannot wait!)

fozzybr, Mar 30, 2020 at 8:18 am

Think positive everyone. RAGBRAI 2020.

Douglas Claycomb, Mar 30, 2020 at 10:43 am

No reason to worry, speculate, argue or wager. It won’t do any good anyway. So let’s just wait and see.

T. Gap Woo, Mar 30, 2020 at 10:21 pm

Anne and Dieter,

GOBA, the Ohio bicycle ride scheduled for June 20-27, just announced that they are canceling their ride for this year. They cited the same “social distancing” health and safety issues that many Ragbrai posters have mentioned. While the issue of refunds is not yet 100% clarified, they indicated that the registration fee could be applied to next year’s GOBA.

May I respectfully suggest that Ragbrai do the same and postpone the ride to next year.

See you along the I-O-Way next year.

cwmurray, Mar 31, 2020 at 6:47 am

I was really looking forward to the 1st Great Iowa Double Cross. If it has to be canceled I support applying the fee to next year. Keep riding y’all, we will survive this and come back stronger, faster and better then ever.

Amanda, Apr 1, 2020 at 9:28 am

I haven’t missed a RAGBRAI in 21 years. This will be my 22nd RAGBRAI. I know it’s not all about me (what) and I will survive (gasp) if RAGBRAI has to cancel. I will be sad, but will survive. In the meantime, positive thoughts and everyone stay home! And Anne, you have had the WORST year possible! Hoping things go better for you. You are amazing! That goes for the whole RAGBRAI team. and Dieter, RAGBRAI is usually a lot more fun than this. 🙂 Stay safe all!

Official Princess of RAGBRAI

Michael Stevenson, Apr 1, 2020 at 12:52 pm

RAGBRAI organizers…please do not cancel the ride! Just in case, I am gearing up to “bag” this one on my touring bike regardless of an organized ride. A week of self-isolation — me, my bike, my tent, and take-out food. I’ll bet I can do it maintaining a 6-foot distance from every Iowan I encounter. And I can pick my week to avoid poor weather. Could be the best year ever!

Jim Hemphill, Apr 2, 2020 at 1:16 pm

My wife is an epidemiologist with her MPH from Johns Hopkins. She does Big Data for a multistate hospital system. Bruce Woodrow is ENTIRELY correct. I cannot imagine where JohnnyDll gets his “information,” but he is entirely and dangerously wrong. At best, by July parts of the country are partially open, and mostly for folks who are recovered and immune.

I’d be happy to put the committee in touch with my wife, or through her to get you guys in touch with even more senior folks in public health.

20,000 people in close quarters at a time when <15% of the population will be immune = perhaps 14,000 cases, RAGBRAI average age north of 40, I'm guessing, 0.5% to 10% death rate, depending on the state of hospitals back home when you get sick, so somewhere between 70 and 1400 deaths. Not a good look.

You could do the ride for only those folks already immune, but that's a small number by that date, and how would you verify?

Besides, I can't ride this year anyway, my great-grandfather was from Anamosa, so I'm happy to push till next year.

saj 56, Apr 2, 2020 at 3:13 pm

Even if by some miracle it would be safe for large quantities of riders to come into the State of Iowa for the ride in late July (which I doubt), don’t forget that the overnight and pass-through towns will have lost months of planning and preparation time and will have expended their resources in surviving the pandemic. And how can those towns be assured that no COVID-19 carriers will be coming into their towns? I can’t imagine how RAGBRAI could be held this year.

bikemeow, Apr 2, 2020 at 4:25 pm

I am native New Yorker. I have done Ragbra,i 32 consecutive times. (I’m Barry from Hell’s Kitchen). If Ragbrai doesn’t happen this year I can live with it. The only thing that would upset me is that if the ride happened and I missed it. —-I live in midtown Manhattan. So we are especially attuned here to the pandemic. What I can say is that we contstantly hear contradictory things. And I’m talking about info from true experts. So we just stay calm and go from day to day. I don’t think anybody right now can truly predict what late July will be like. I think June 1 is a good date for a final decision.
The important thing is to stay positive and if Ragbrai happens,; Hooray. And if it gets cancelled: So be it
Barry from Hell’s Kitchen, NYC

Scott Barber, Apr 2, 2020 at 4:30 pm

Just want to say I respect everyone’s opinions and feelings about Ragbrai. Obviously a lot of planning takes place for many of you. I will just say I support waiting and seeing if there is a chance. I for one would absolutely ride providing at that point in time no one is presenting a health risk to others. Maybe for some cancelling right now is the best option. Quite honestly, if by some miracle we are able to ride Ragbrai in July it would be a most eventful and memorable time regardless of what takes places. Maybe its just a ride a few of us make and strap a backpack of beer to take along the way. who knows? Best wishes and health to all. Not trying to upset anyone just another perspective because I love to ride.

trombonebiker, Apr 3, 2020 at 6:48 am

With the cancellation of the Olympics and the British Open in July and Wimbledon in June, It makes me wonder if RAGBRAI is going to happen. It’s harder to make that decision with the new management this year. It is understandable, but tough if it gets cancelled. This is a family event every year for me.

Anne Lawrie, Apr 3, 2020 at 8:46 am

Good morning,

Just wanted to send a note and let you all know that we are listening to your threads and comments. We continue to work diligently and in the best interest of the riders, communities and business partners. Thank you for your patience as we ensure all parties are included in the conversation and we determine our next steps. We appreciate all of you! Anne

William Cox, Apr 3, 2020 at 8:15 pm

Ditto to B. W. and J. H. above. I am a physician from upstate NY who was entertaining the thought of my first RAGBRAI. No WAY you can safely operate this event this year. No WAY any sane public health official would even THINK of allowing a mass gathering from people from all over the world–for an entire week–in a CAMPGROUND, no less! According to today’s headlines in the newspaper who employs you, your state’s governor is still pushing back against consensus medical recommendation to stay-at-home. H-E-L-L-O!!?? I know IA could never be a NYC, but I live only 2 1/2 hours away from the greatest public health disaster this country has seen in four generations, and it’s coming our way! You all have GOT to take this SARS-CoV-2 seriously! No matter what we do at this point, it will be sloshing back and forth across this country in waves probably for well over a year. I’m as sorry to say this as you are to hear it as I was really looking forward to it, but you’ll be lucky if you can pull off RAGBRAI 2021. As the main bicycle club in our area has told us–stay safe and ride SOLO!

Jay Daniel, Apr 4, 2020 at 11:23 am

I am still looking forward to my first RAGBRAI this year. Im from California and all our events in April and May have been cancelled so Im ready to go! Naysayers whether they are doctors, Epidemiolgists Husbands or just concerned citizens arent going to change anyones mind in this chat room. Stay Home! or wait and see. But I definately wont look to the White House for my source of timely accurate information.

William Timothy, Apr 4, 2020 at 6:07 pm

I hope Jay from cali is being sarcastic.

Dirttrack13k, Apr 5, 2020 at 9:43 am

I think if there was only one ride, the decision would already be made to cancel. And correctly in my opinion. Stop playing chicken so to speak and pull the plug. How on earth do you think it can be safely done when other events scheduled later, worldwide are cancelled. Vacations, reservations etc. Need to be made/cancelled. Make a decision. Overreacting and being wrong will be way better than under reacting and being responsible for enabling the spread of this crap.

Steve Hexom, Apr 5, 2020 at 12:38 pm

RAGBRAI. I posted earlier in the Forum but felt I had to address my concerns and feelings about this ride. The last time, that I did not ride every day on RAGBRAI was 1979 and in that year, I was the MC for the closing ceremonies in Burlington and in charge of entertainment and public address. So, after riding every day for 40 straight years, I urge RAGBRAI to bite the bullet and cancel this year’s ride. I do not see any scenario that this virus will be gone and close contact and travel will be safe by July. RAGBRAI is close contact and a worldwide event. It requires full support of each pass through and end towns to make it work. It is better to know earlier than later when people are making plans and uncertainty is everywhere. You can delay all you want but you will cancel. Why not be wise and proactive and let people know now.

KenCulwell, Apr 6, 2020 at 7:44 am

Call off RAGBRAI 2020! Follow the example set by other athletic organizations as well as the postponement of the political convention. Certainly the ride is a great money maker for the pass through towns, the Register and your state but it is not worth the risk of the loss of even one life due to the virus.

Angela Stanford, Apr 6, 2020 at 2:07 pm

I’ve ridden 17 complete RAGBRAIs, 13 of which have been consecutively since 2007. I am fully invested in and loyal to this ride. Please, RAGBRAI organizers, wait until closer to the registration deadline of June 1 to make a call. We cannot possibly know by April 15 what July is going to look like. The 2020 towns have already done so much planning and have already made financial investments. After the economic hit that all of our communities have taken, RAGBRAI can help. I understand that this isn’t an easy decision either way and there are a lot of factors to consider both for and against holding the ride. Just please don’t rush it. I’m planning to ride from overnight to overnight…and hoping for smoothies and friends along the way. 🙂

Mark Staudt, Apr 8, 2020 at 12:57 pm

I respect the various points of view as well as the time, effort and expense already invested, but cancelling RAGBRAI is the only logical option. With so many people in pass through and overnight towns, that don’t have the infrastructure to deal with the kinds of challenges this may present, everyone involved with the event will be at significantly greater risk. Cancelling is a difficult reality but doing so sooner rather than later is the right thing.

Don DeHamer, Apr 8, 2020 at 3:28 pm

As a senior, I am still interested in riding this year, and see no reason that a decision whether to cancel or postpone the ride until later, needs to be made before June 1.

kmcx3, Apr 10, 2020 at 2:56 pm

I’ll support RAGBRAI’s decision either way and will attend the ride if it happens. If not, I’ll just take that week to go bikepacking by myself on the GAP trail.

I also encourage the powers that be at RAGBRAI to take their time since the information we have now is so incomplete.

Steve Hexom, Apr 10, 2020 at 5:02 pm

To: Anne Lawrie:
After looking at all possibilities and evaluating all the consequences both yay or nay on RAGBRAI this year. I still do not see RAGBRAI happening this year without severe potential consequences if this virus may be subdued but could flare at any time. The most reasonable suggestion is to postpone this year’s ride with all host towns and all pass through towns the same in 2021. It allows everyone to make decisions with certainty and to plan for a time when we can be certain, the RAGBRAI we know and love can return. Without that, the best that anyone can hope for is still doubt whether it is safe or not for all concerned. We have had enough doubt over the past several weeks to last a lifetime. I work in an essential business as a broadcaster and RAGBRAI’s longest continuous rider-reporter. I have ridden every day of every ride for 40 consecutive years. Fear and doubt are no way to run a ride that has given me so much joy over all the years but reality is overwhelming. Postponing this ride removes the fear and doubt and lets all of us start fresh and enjoy the RAGBRAI we have all loved and cherished. Do the right thing. Postpone now. Remove the fear and also remove for your company the liability. It will return next year better than ever!

Kevin Remillard, Apr 10, 2020 at 7:07 pm

June 1st is a reasonable date, thanks Anne.

Papa T, Apr 11, 2020 at 12:51 pm

So, is it April 16 or June 1?

Dirttrack13k, Apr 11, 2020 at 1:39 pm

Plus if many don’t ride due to virus then less money for towns as well. Not fair for them

Sharon Crowe, Apr 11, 2020 at 9:22 pm

I love RAGBRAI like no other event. Disrespecting our safety by going ahead with RAGBRAI and expecting us to participate will undermine all respect for the event. There is no such thing as going forward as normal. That train has left the station. I look forward to a RAGBRAI in 2021 where we can renew enthusiasm and participate fully and safely.

Bizcontroller, Apr 13, 2020 at 2:49 pm

RAGBRAI has the worldwide reputation for FUN. Don’t tarnish that this year by trying to hold it in light of the consequences….illness & possibly DEATH. I hate to see the great pass-thru & overnight towns INFECTED in the name of making $$$$. Logic and Reasonableness need to prevail.

cscaro@rtptech.com, Apr 14, 2020 at 6:14 pm

I love RAGBRAI! When people ask me to explain the biggest surprise my first year, I always tell them it was pulling into the first town on the first day and being completely amazed at how many people do this ride, and that it always looks like Times square in Manhattan crowds with bikes.
I can’t even imagine the anxiety of joining that same sea of humanity within the coming months. The joy of those moments will be completely lost. The pure escape from reality that RAGBRAI brings would be rife with concern for so many of us about our own health and of travelling from hot spots all over the country and beyond and perhaps infecting each other and the supportive Iowa towns that welcome us so warmly.

Valerie Mahoney, Apr 14, 2020 at 11:38 pm

I don’t envy the decision y’all have to make! No matter what you decide you won’t make everyone happy! But people’s health comes first! Yes, it’s my favorite event of the year, but it is what it is! I like having the choice of rolling over my registration to next year, as I think many would choose that. A lot less hassle for y’all! Best of luck!

Kevin Mahoney, Apr 18, 2020 at 11:24 am

In a vain attempt to believe RAGBRAI might take place I read articles from other sporting events where large groups gather and it seems pretty hopeless that RAGBRAI can find a way to occur and meet the guidelines that will be in place, even at what they’re called stage 3. MLB is saying IF they play ball on July 4th it will be to empty stand.
“As the doc (Fauci) mentioned, MLB has completely accepted that there will be no fans. There are some other tinkerings on the table too, as the National Newspaper Publishers Association reports the leagues is considering an “electronic device to call balls and strikes and, at least for the 2020 season, eliminate the home plate umpire.” There is also talk of players sitting in the stands instead of the dugout to maintain social distancing, and miked up players for a more interesting stay-at-home game-watching experience.”

I am VERY sad to say that I see no way for RAGBRAI to find a way that is acceptable to non-riders, whose risk factors will ultimately decide the fate of the ride — even if we did want to whip out the bandanas and wet wipes and take the gamble it’s hard to believe that the law (local, state and federal) won’t put the kabosh on it. But, foolishly, I remain hopeful. Maybe a smaller ride where riders go out in groups of 10, but that’s not really RAGBRAI.

And, Hello Valerie… Fellow Mahoney.

Leave a Comment