Charter recommendations?

Hi folks – first time rider here, looking for recommendations for charter. As a solo first-timer, I feel good about participating with a charter. PBV is sold out at the moment, and they’re the folks everyone has pointed me toward. I’m hoping to find tent service, showers, mid-week laundry, and maybe a mechanic if needed. I don’t need transport to/from the ride. Thanks in advance for any suggestions you might have!

10 Replies

George Williams, June 18, 2017 at 8:26 pm

PBV sent an email today addressing this directly and said that they have some charter groups they like to recommend. Also PBV has a wait list that they kind of indicated it may not be too late to get on. I would shoot them an email and ask them.

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Mike Murphy, June 18, 2017 at 8:55 pm

I have gone with Brancel the last five years, will be going with them for the sixth straight year this year. It’s a family operation that handles approximately 500 riders. They are big enough to provide several services yet small enough to take care of anything you want. We have shower trucks, power chargers, snacks, laundry service, and several other things provided for us.

I have no problem recommending them and have to several satisfied riders over the years.

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Ronnie Goins, June 18, 2017 at 10:19 pm

This will be my fifth year with Brancel. There as good as it gets in every aspect. If there not sold out i would recommend joining us!

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Charlie S, June 19, 2017 at 6:22 am

My situation is similar to the OP’s (first time rider, late to register for a charter). I’ve been on the PBV waitlist for a week or so and have had some dialog with the nice folks there, but unfortunately nothing has opened up. I get the sense that they are seeing fewer cancellations than in past years.

As far as the other charters, Brancel’s website says that they are full for camping. The OOS and Riverbend web sites appear to still allow reservations however.

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mootsman, June 19, 2017 at 8:26 am

You may want to consider a team looking to fill spots also. They are small charters that you are expected to pitch in and do some chores on during the week.

They usually meet at and return to the same staging area in Iowa except for a few out state teams. Plus you have an tribe to hang out with in the overnight towns. The one below stages out of Ames Iowa and was looking to fill spots a couple of years ago, Team Sop-N-Wet. Maybe they have some spots open this year.

https://ragbrai.com/forums/topic/team-sop-n-wet-2015/

This reply was modified 3 years, 8 months ago by mootsman.

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KenH, June 19, 2017 at 8:42 am

I rode with Riverbend last year and I recommend them without hesitation. They don’t do as much for you as the more expensive charters do but they do everything you really need and they do it well! They are a great group and if you end up needing to go with them this year simply because the rest are full you very well might find yourself going with them every year. I’m bringing my motorhome this year, I think, as I have every other year but last. The hassles of dealing with that has me thinking very fondly indeed about the trouble free time I had with Riverbend last year.

An example of that is that over the weekend I got word from one of my riders that his participation this year is in question now because of something that hit him and his family from out of nowhere. There were only going to be three of us and we were going to just split the motorhome driving among us. If he drops out that leaves the two of us doing as much motorhome driving as riding, not a good thing.

So, if anyone would like to try doing RAGBRAI in a motorhome you can contact me. You will be required to drive the motorhome part of the time so if you don’t feel comfortable with that or don’t want to lose any time on the bike it is not an option for you. At the moment I am sure that I have bunk space for up to two people who don’t mind sleeping together in the cabover bunk of a class C motorhome (its a little cozy up there but it is fine for a couple). If my friend does need to drop out I would have a third bunk available that sleeps one just fine and could sleep two but it is REALLY cozy for two. I just ask the people who sleep in the motorhome to split the cost of the gas for the week with me and of course help with the driving. If you happen to have a friend or family member who has always wanted to come along to RAGBRAI but doesn’t want to ride (or sleep in a tent!) but who can drive a small (21 foot) class C motorhome, let’s talk, that would solve two problems for me!

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mootsman, June 19, 2017 at 9:55 am

Additional Info, Team Sop-N-Wet has openings this year also.

https://ragbrai.com/forums/topic/team-sop-n-wet-2017-openings/

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DreamTeam, June 21, 2017 at 10:30 am

I have Bubba’s Pampered Peddler charter service available for the week for $600 for a one person dome tent:
As a cyclist, your host Bubba understands what the bicyclist wants/needs on a multi-day event. Bubba also understands RAGBRAI having both ridden it many times as well as being part of the RAGBRAI staff for several years. So, here is what is included;

Motor coach service to the RAGBRAI start town from the ending town (option available for those not needed this transportation)
Bike transportation provided by a professional moving service to the RAGBRAI starting location from the ending town. Each bicycle wrapped individually with a moving blanket
Reserved camping locations
Tent and air mattress service – we supply you with a quality Kelty tent and air mattress AND we put up them up and take them down every day, even in the rain.
Bubba designed T-Shirt
Our very own Porta-Johns located at our campsites
Also included for FREE are the following. Yes you pay ONE Fee, no add ons with Bubba
Bag delivery to your tent. Two bags per rider each not to exceed 30 pounds
The PAMPER Zone canopies provide shade for sharing your daily RAGBRAI pictures, stories and experiences or to take a nap
Camp chair
Cold drinks (non-alcoholic)
Snacks
Our very own Porta-Johns right at our campsites
Shower Towels and wash cloths daily; This charter works very closely with one of the shower vendors to assure showers are close to the camping locations
Electronic charging (Cell Phones—iPads—Lap Tops–Garmins–Etc)
Bicycle work-station (work stand, floor pumps, shop rags)
Morning Coffee. Oh yea!
Massage Therapist (Extra Fee)

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Charlie S, June 21, 2017 at 1:25 pm

Follow up from a first-timer.

I initially contacted PBV and got put on their waiting list, which at the time already had more than 15 folks. Tammy at PBV was very nice but after spending about 10 days on the wait list, things didn’t look promising. As I noted in my earlier post, Brancel was also so booked up but OOS and Riverbend both had (and I think still do) openings.

Long story short, I spoke with Jonathan at Riverbend and booked with them right after I hung up the phone. Based on my conversation with him, and from what I’ve seen posted about Riverbend on the forum, don’t think I’ll be disappointed.

Riverbend ticks all the right boxes: Shade tent, chairs, morning coffee, air pump & tools, charging stations, a place to lay out wet clothes for drying and a manageable number of campers (about 100). The don’t have their own showers but Jonathan told me that they try to set their sites up close to shower facilities. I also like that they have a quiet policy after 9PM.

So I think I’m set.

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skogerson, June 23, 2017 at 1:36 pm

Team Hee Haw. Best group around. I’d even set your tent up for you if you paid me. 🙂 We have all our overnights lined up and will have showers either on the bus or inside (some nights, both). Several of our team members are bike nerds. I think one year they even did a class. (but after a couple beers, I hear the students were horrible). We have a wide variety of people to hang with, which is the best way to do ragbrai.

skogerson.m@gmail.com if you want more info.

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