RAGBRAI LI Route Announced on Jan. 27!

Advantages/disadvantages to starting or ending early or late

Hi all,

This is my first ragbrai and I am not part of a charter. I am curious if there are certain advantages to getting going right at 6:00 am or can it be nice to leave later, say 8:00. Same with getting to the host town. Is it best to get there first to get a “good” campsite, first in line for a shower? But then do you end up missing out on the fun in the towns between?

I assume its in that gray area of just depends….


26 Replies

Juan Medium Moose, March 4, 2016 at 2:34 pm

It’s been mentioned, but keep in mind that the RAGBRAI truck will close up and move out at some point, and you have to be packed up before that happens. Same is true if you’re on a charter.

In 2014, on a particularly rainy morning, I put my tent and duffel onto the truck, parked my bike, and hid inside in a building with a group of like-minded riders. We waited for the storms to pass and didn’t leave until after 10am. We did catch up to a lot of our friends who had left earlier; they had been dumped upon by the rains and were soaking wet. Glad I waited it out that time.


Pirate Brewer, March 4, 2016 at 8:41 pm

I’ve started late and I’ve started early. It all depends on your preference. Typically I try to leave the camp site by 6:00 sharp. If you leave at 6:15 or later it is much different. If I do not leave by 6:00 or very soon after then I’d rather wait because the crowd is just too thick and it takes a long time to get past it. Just 10 or 15 minutes later makes a very big difference. Leaving at 6:00 will involve a pack but after the first town (even when stopping for breakfast) it thins out to where I’m very comfortable. Generally the wind will start to pick up about 11:00 or noon and getting an early start means dealing with less wind. If the wind forecast and ride direction work to your advantage, then leaving late to take advantage of a tail wind is sometimes a fun choice. Sometimes leaving late I seem to catch up to the big pack towards the end of my ride day. Either way, I always stop at every town and enjoy what they have to offer because that is most of the fun. Crowded or not, just take your time, be safe, enjoy the ride, and have a great time at every town.


MJA, March 5, 2016 at 6:22 pm

If you like pie, especially rhubarb, better to leave earlier than later.


jwsknk, March 7, 2016 at 8:27 am

I think the personal vehicles include teams & clubs. So all 120 Skunks would be using personal vehicles but in reality it is the baggage truck, the mechanics truck and the SUV which get out of camp earlier and does most of the shopping since the baggage truck leaves at 9:00


Mark Hotle, March 8, 2016 at 7:53 am

I agree with the starting early folk.
Preferably as close to first light (6:00ish) as possible.

+Less crowds = shorter or no lines at Kybos & food vendors.
+Cooler temps & little or no wind = more pleasant ride.

I get up at 5:00AM to start breaking down the tent and am never ceased to be amazed at how many folk are already on the road pre-sunrise in the dark!


jelly0317, March 8, 2016 at 6:29 pm

“Less crowds” compared to what? 7:00? 8:00?


jake d, March 8, 2016 at 8:26 pm

The Absolute Perfect, Without Question, It’s not Even Debatable, time to leave in the morning is…………….
What, was I thinking? If I told you all it would ruin it.


Brian Wallenburg, March 8, 2016 at 8:44 pm

There will be a lot of busy roads this year. Low mileage on multiple days. A couple years ago there was a 42 mile day. Worst decision ever! The roads were so clogged up, we ended up walking our bikes up to a mile or more ahead of each pass through town. The masses obviously decided to leave between 0800-0900. I prefer the 75 or more mile days, riders are spread out for a much greater distance, and for Gods sake, we have all day to get where we are going!


Tom Young, March 12, 2016 at 11:00 pm

Something that helps me decide is how far out of the overnight town is the “Farm Boys” breakfast? Where is “Mr Pork Chop?” Oh yes, and “Beckman’s ice cream. There is so much food on Ragbrai that many people ride across the state and gain weight. Enjoy the pie!


czysk, March 13, 2016 at 10:27 am

I leave early to beat the heat,5:45 to 6:00 am. Some days it can get in the 90’s by 11 am. The last 20 miles can take as long to ride as the first 40.


ltyoungster, March 14, 2016 at 9:09 am

I leave before first light. My favorite moment during RAGBRAI is watching the sunrise a few miles out in the countryside. I don’t ride fast and I stop for breakfast at the first or second town. By the meeting town or the first beer tent my friends catch up to me. I spend the second half of the ride with my friends drinking beers and stopping at my favorite vendors.


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