13 year Olds

is this event appropriate for 13 year old girls?

35 Replies

Richie Rich, February 11, 2012 at 3:35 pm

My daughter is 11 and I can’t wait to bring her along…in a few years! I plan to purchase a tandem for that year. (BackInTheSaddleAgain)got that one right!!! It will erase all of the problems mentioned above, most importantly it is the safest way for a young rider to navigate large crowds.


cyduke, February 11, 2012 at 4:15 pm

Rode my first RAGBRAI as a 13 year old in 1983 on RAGBRAI 11. Rode it with a friend, and his dad. It was an incredible experience, one that developed my interest into cycling that continues to this day.
I remember saying to myself every day. “If I can make it another 10-15 miles, then I probably can make it another 10-15 miles” so on and so forth. It pushed me every day to see how far I could go literally, and figuratively.
Luckily Ames was an overnight stop, so I got to sleep in my own bed one night, and a couple days later, rode by my Grandparent’s farm in Franklin County. The Thursday night in Grundy Center, my friend and his dad decided to quit, which left me in a dilemma. Do I return home with them quitting the ride, or do I forge on knowing that they said if I wanted to finish they would pick me up in Dubuque in a couple days. I called home to tell my mother, what was up. I remember her telling me “I know what you want to do, and I know you want to finish this ride, finish it” Obviously my mom wasn’t a soccer mom, or helicopter mom.
The next day to Manchester was my first century, a goal I wanted to complete. during the day, my rear der. cable broke on the police auction bike my grandfather bought me so essentially I had “2” gears for 100+ miles.
Getting into town that night I was so tired, I tried to set up this huge dome tent by myself. I couldn’t do it so I rolled up inside it on the dirt at the fairgrounds that night and went to sleep.

The next day into Dubuque was pretty darn memorable. I remember people chanting “Dubuque or puke” Riding to the river is something I always look forward to, and at the end, there were my friend, and his dad waiting for me to take me back to Ames.

After that ride, I was hooked. Ragbrai became summer camp for me as a teen, later it became something else, and as always it’s always evolving to mean something else to me.
As a teen, RAGBRAI gave me a goal, it gave me something to look forward to. It taught me self-reliance, and worth.
RAGBRAI helped me get into cycling, I worked in shops, helped one start up. I raced, RAGBRAI was the best warm up to the Iowa Games as well. I worked for bike companies, and have had the great pleasure of traveling around the US, and the world attending some fantastic bike races.
I’m glad I rode RAGBRAI as a teen; I wouldn’t have change it for the world.


Mark, February 2, 2015 at 8:26 pm

I rode with my 10 year old son on a tandem 10 years ago. We had a great time even during the tornado warnings and heat. We trained together all summer riding bike trails for hours on end. Some great time together. We spent time looking for local root beer and spending a couple of evenings at movie theaters (air conditioned!). He collected so many beads the first half of the week, he looked like a mini Mr. T. I had him start handing the necklaces back out to reduce weight! With the tandem, all issues of getting lost, etc. were eliminated. This year is the first time I’ll do all week again since then. He’s in college now and too busy working to join me so I’ll be going self contained…


TeamPowellMom, February 3, 2015 at 7:23 pm

Well, this is a 3 year old topic, but I like the title, so I’ll join in since I’m sure others have the same question…
My daughter turned 13 on the final day of RAGBRAI last year (2014). I felt like that was really something to be proud of. I know she will always remember it.
Our boys also rode the entire ride with us as 9 1/2 year olds. We were all on singles.
RAGBRAI with kids is hard, and I want you to consider that it isn’t without risks. Some of the ride was scary (I don’t usually let my kids ride 3 feet from a semi truck on a major highway overpass, but they did on RAGBRAI). There is no way to stay together with 5 family members. We had no cell service all week and walkie-talkies didn’t work for us. Our deal was that we met at the start of each town. There is some stress to that, so just make sure you are comfortable with the crowds, and be sure not to lose your kid. There are a LOT of people.
The week went great for us. The secret was 1000 miles of training, beginning in April when we all got our bikes (we’ll start earlier this year, as we are ready to go). Also, allowing them to eat as much pie and ice cream as they wanted helped.
The hardest thing for us was getting in late every night. We just had time for dinner, showers and bed. I will never promise to do anything fun in an overnight town again with kids; there was simply no time.
We won’t be along for RAGBRAI this year as we are doing a different state ride as a family. I get tired just thinking about all the training ahead,. but I know it’s going to be worth it. Riding with kids isn’t for everyone, but neither is RAGBRAI. I am so glad we did it. We had a great time.


Papa T, February 10, 2015 at 6:34 pm

several years ago I talked on a rest stop (Beekmans or otherwise) to a group of young teen girls (13 to 16) riding alone with their mothers driving the support vehicle. I was impressed that they could participate in such an adventurous event (riding across a whole state) safely and not being threatened by anyone. I was convinced this was a great growth for these girls.


mcpartla, March 22, 2015 at 9:11 am

Yes. I took grandsons … both 13 years of age their first year … Alex came with me in 2006 and again in 2007 and 2008 and his cousin Zack joined us in 2007 and 2008. I suggested I could stay with them or we could meet at each town along the route and this worked fine the first couple of hours but both preferred the freedom of the road and setting their own pace so we met less each day as we rode along. I made sure they knew what to do in an emergency and what to look out for. Lost Zack one day when the two of them got separated after swimming in a pond and I could not reach via my cell phone so I checked with the SAG folks (no sign of him) and then called the Iowa State Police and within 5 minutes he called me. I was much relieved … Zack fell asleep at a rest stop listening to music and we were soon reunited. Fun times and I treasure the experiences as do they. With girls I’d probably never let them out of my site the whole trip.


Michrider !!!, May 16, 2016 at 11:35 am

Yes, as long as they have appropriate adult supervision!!!


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