The Great Iowa Fall Ride registration is open!

bike panniers or trailer for ragbrai

i bought me a new bike for ragbrai, trek fx. i can pull a trailer with it or use panniers front in back. or i can have just back saddele bags, and attatch sleeping bag and tent on top of rear bags. i have used this kind of set up before, but only for a over nighter. folks say trailers are a bitch going up hills. i would be using the cheap one from wal mart. please give advise . i will be riding this year for sure. i quit my job in sturgis ,and i am not going back to work there. so i can go this year.thanks

21 Replies

SFC JKL 2, November 5, 2017 at 9:46 pm

Unless you are carrying something heavy, I think riding with panniers is easier. Spread out the load evenly and you still have a good ride. Trailers can bump and bounce, changing your ride.


Geoff Butland, January 8, 2018 at 7:50 am

Having used both I would lean toward panniers for RAGBRAI and here’s why:
1. Panniers are probably lighter than the trailer, so you’re dragging less poundage over 400+ miles. The trailer may be capable of carrying more “stuff” but then…is that a good thing??
2. It’s hard enough pushing a bike through the crowds in town…now imagine doing it with a trailer in tow. Granted panniers create a “wide load” situation….but the trailer is going to be tipping side to side….pick your poison.
3. My trailer is a one-wheel BOB type, and it makes parking the bike a bit of a challenge because the loaded trailer’s mission in life seems to be making the bike fall over. If you do go the BOB trailer route do yourself a favor and put a kickstand on the trailer.




John Richardson, January 8, 2018 at 9:10 am

I have rode RAGBRAI self contained for maybe the last 10 years and have never felt the need for a trailer. Many times I’ve encountered people pulling trailers loaded to the max and others with full touring bags tightly packed and I’m always left wondering what all could they possibly be packing? I’ve never needed more than 2 rear bags and I’ve never thought I was making any sacrifices. It’s only a week ride but if you’re trying to add RAGBRAI to your around the world tour that’s different.


RDaryl Daryl, February 10, 2019 at 11:27 pm


In other words – just do the right thing . . . . . . . . .


Linda Wiard-Bauer, February 11, 2019 at 6:52 pm

I rode solo, and used RAGBRAI baggage truck, no charter or team. I was on a tight budget and it saved LOT of money. I had no trouble finding my bag each evening, because I am a slow rider. (At least there are SOME perks for being slow!) ALSO, I met super nice people everyday – great people on RAGBRAI! If you really need to bring extra stuff on your bike (I brought my CPAP and a small cooler full of ice) – I recommend panniers – less rolling resistance.


Craig Parson, February 21, 2019 at 8:04 am

My vote is definitely for the panniers. Trailer adds width, doubles the rolling resistance and is essentially a parachute if you have a headwind.


Viewing 6 replies - 16 through 21 (of 21 total)

The forum ‘RAGBRAI XLVI – 2018’ is closed to new topics and replies.






Gatherings & Meetings

Lost and Found


Clubs, Teams & Charters

Friends of RAGBRAI