RAGBRAI is about the people.The food is surely an important part of the experience, but the people are the heart of the ride.Meet as many as you can.
-Stop to rest at a driveway where there are a bunch of people in lawn chairs that AREN’T selling anything.Start a conversation.
-Go into the museum or historic house you ride by and chat with the woman who’s running it.She opened up that day just for riders, you’ll be surprised how many others stop.
-Start up conversations with fellow riders. Try to meet riders from 5 different states each day.Our group once had a guy join us whose only ambition was to get to the overnight town as fast as he could, and then tell us ceaselessly how fast he was, what his cadence was, etc. He’s lucky we let him live.We finally told him we wouldn’t let him in camp the next day unless he could tell us that he’d met people from 10 different states that day and their names.The next day he arrived later than normal (for him) and was all excited about how cool it was meeting people.
-Stop to swim in a pond, river or swimming pool along the route. Talk to the lifeguards. They’ll be talking about the day RAGBRAI came through for years.
-Do as many church suppers as you can. The people there are very nervous about having leftovers, even though you know they’ll sell out.
-When you get to the end town, there will be people lining the road cheering.Wave to them and thank them.That welcome on my first RAGBRAI many moons ago, still makes me smile.
Don’t worry too much about the bucket list. Let RAGBRAI happen for you. You’ll have a great time!
This sounds like great advice. We’re certainly not planning to rush through RAGBRAI – but as one person reminded me, I only have one week to complete this ride so we’ll try to keep a decent pace :) I can’t wait! Super excited!!!