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Best Charters

Hey all!

First time rider here coming from Charleston, SC. What are the best charters for a solo rider given everything? Do you ultimately need one ?

Cant wait for July.


21 Replies

montestaples, February 2, 2022 at 1:29 am

I have used Central Iowa Charter and Lake Country Cyclists for 15 years. Really the same charter that had a name change a few years ago. I would call them a small to mid sized charter at roughly 120 bikers. Over the years they have added services and hired more crew. They are great people that keep a lot of regulars coming back year after year. Really all the charters that have been around a few years have proven themselves worthy. The main reasons to pick a charter are where it starts and ends up. For example Central Iowa Charter always leaves from Ankeny (Near Des Moines) and also picks up people in Des Moines. It returns to the same place. That makes both the starting and ending bus ride around 3 hours long. We do get quite a few people from out of state that fly into Des Moines. Check each charters web-site for services they provide. More services will cost more. Showers are good. Central Iowa Charter uses Sun Shower bags you bring yourself and fill from the truck so it’s free and adequate. Some charters have their own shower semi trucks so it costs $6 to $8 or is built into your registration fee. You can bring your own tent and set it up or have them provide a tent and air mattress waiting for you. Charging services are likely provided by every charter. If you have an E-bike, make sure they have the capacity to charge it every night. Really just check out the charters web-sites and decide how many services you want to pay for.


Joseph Schlau, February 2, 2022 at 4:25 am

I used Brancel in my early days with RAGBRAI before joining a team. They were pleasant and accommodating even going so far as putting me in touch with someone selling their wristband that year. Their services have grown over the years. Last year when the team opted out of RAGBRAI, several members used Pork Belly ventures.

There is a series on YouTube called Busses Bikes and Beers in which a husband and wife team is traveling RAGBRAI 2021. They are using Pork Belly Ventures and have many segments showing their operation.

Now this team is frequently shown wearing their Pork Belly t-shirts even on non-RAGBRAI videos. So their objectivity and monetizing arrangements with PBV may be skewed.

Even with that, it still shows how the operation works an what optional services are available.


Gary Fox, February 2, 2022 at 10:07 am

Padres Cycle Inn, hands down the best.


Andy Jelagin, February 2, 2022 at 12:01 pm

It’s all about your budget and expectations. From what I’ve gathered most if not all are fine organizations, vetted by the RAGBRAI folks, and focused on making sure their clients enjoy the event.

Personally, I’ve been with Brancel for a number years and couldn’t be happier – Bob and his crew do a great job and I can’t wait to hit the road with them this summer.


Sarah Prudhomme, February 5, 2022 at 12:19 pm

I know some people think it’s too big, but I love Pork Belly Ventures. They do a great job and keep adding awesome things to their service. Showers, charging trailers for your device, dinner, in camp breakfast to buy, endless beer and live music every night. Because I ride this with my 80 year old dad, we don’t venture into town and enjoy our time with Pork Belly. And we crash early, so we can hit it the next day!


Denton Kernodle, February 7, 2022 at 2:23 pm

Nathan, I would encourage you to go with the RAGBRAI campgrounds. They transport your bag and have great campgrounds. The only reason tp use a charter is if you don’t have a tent and if you need transportation from home to the ride and back home.


Jose Medina, February 7, 2022 at 8:04 pm

Hi , this will be my 32 Ragbrai and have used a few different charters. Last year I used Porkbelly Ventures. This is the only charter I will use from now on. They were great. A real large family feeling. Everything you need is there for you in camp. You will not be disappointed.


Jeremy Hase, February 7, 2022 at 9:34 pm

Brancel Charters all the way. Great crew, the heated shower truck is awesome.


Kelly Puster, February 7, 2022 at 10:25 pm

Another vote for Pork Belly Ventures! This will be my 4th with them.


JimCoonRapidsMN, February 8, 2022 at 8:19 pm

Hi Nathan – I agree with Denton – I have used Riverbend Bike Club’s charter for their bus transportation at the beginning of RAGBRAI from ending town where I park to the starting town. Comfortable transportation for both you and your bike for a reasonable price. I camp in the RAGBRAI campgrounds and that has worked out well for me.


Larry Klaaren, February 9, 2022 at 3:46 pm

I have asked about charters during the ride in previous years, and apparently all of the charters on RAGBRAI deliver what they say they will and are a good value for the price. So look em up and take your pick. There is plenty of entertainment and food available all over the towns, so there is that.


Smith.Lyssa, February 13, 2022 at 10:16 am

As a first time rider, I have what may be a silly question….I would like to join a charter that is family friendly with my friend and her husband. However…I would also like to do a little partying, meet some new friends, listen to a band (are the bands charter-specific?), drink some beer. How close are the charters to each other? Thoughts? Thanks!


FastEddy, February 13, 2022 at 11:46 am

This will be my eleventh year with Pork Belly Ventures. There’s a reason why they’re the biggest charter. I can’t imagine riding RAGBRAI with being in Pork camp each night. Beer, music, showers and food all on site.


Jim Herman, February 13, 2022 at 10:28 pm

Is there any other charter company that buses from the end city to the start city on Friday?


Vikki Pickett, February 17, 2022 at 5:15 pm

How ya getting to Iowa? I’m in Myrtle Beach figuring out logistics.


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