RAGBRAI XLIX registration is now open!

Day 1 – Question

Eighteen days out and I’m as excited as a high school boy on his first date. Well, actually this is my first date with Ragbrai.

My questions are solely based on my inexperience, but what can I expect on day 1? Is there some sort of official start or is it ‘get up and go’? What time will most people be on the road?

Thanks in advance

32 Replies

ppayne1959, July 7, 2016 at 3:58 pm

It is one of the most beautiful spectacles you will ever take in! A sea of humanity (albeit a very polite one) with spectators and morning greeting, but the best part is there are no speeches, no loudspeaker instructions or wishes of good luck, no leaders whatsoever. No starting gun, no horn goes off, everyone just sort of figures things out. Sort of sets the tone for the rest of the week.


Jean, July 7, 2016 at 7:25 pm

The first day of your first RAGBRAI is the most exciting memorable experience. My first RAGBRAI was one of the hottest on record, 2011, starting in Sious Center. I remember exactly the start line in Sioux Center, with the Iowa flag flying. Despite this hot weather, we have been back every year since. Now all the RAGBRAI experiences gel together, but I will always remember the first year and the first day the most. Seeing all those bikes in front of you to the horizon and behind you to beyond is breathtaking. Take it in and ride safely. Enjoy!!


D Lohrentz, July 7, 2016 at 11:01 pm

Another newby here with some first day questions.

My wife will be dropping me off in Glenwood on Sunday morning. First question–what will it be like driving into town? Miles and miles of non-moving traffic? Should I expect to bike into town from a few miles away? Will we be able to drive to the baggage truck area? Where will that be by the way?


jwsknk, July 8, 2016 at 7:54 am

main campground is at the high school. as long as your route in does not include or cross the bike route out it won’t be too bad. They haven’t put out the support route out maps, that will be bumper to bumper leaving town probably to the southwest. http://ragbraiglenwood.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Glenwood-RAGBRAI-Map-6-21-15.pdf


D Lohrentz, July 8, 2016 at 12:16 pm

I see on the Glenwood map blue and red shuttle routes. What are those?


BillSpriggs, July 8, 2016 at 2:25 pm

D Lohrentz – The shuttle routes are just that, shuttles that will take you from the camping areas to the expo area. Most of the overnight towns will provide shuttle service, some for free, some with a small charge. Typically the towns that charge will sell wristbands.


jeffreydennis, July 8, 2016 at 7:41 pm

What can you expect the first day??? Lots of people who haven’t quite got the concept of “chill”.


KenH, July 8, 2016 at 11:27 pm

The Register will shortly release the support vehicle maps and maps showing the locations where the Register trucks will park. If you are coming Sunday morning be sure to get to the Register truck before it leaves. I think that is 7am but check that and leave plenty of time to get there. You should be able to get in and out of town on the support vehicle route. Other routes may work too but as said above DO NOT attempt to cross the bike route out of town. Streams of bikes will be converging on the bike route from campgrounds all over town. The support vehicle route should be clear if they thought it out well and there should be police directing traffic, bike and auto, at critical points. You can’t be 100% sure of that but the risks on other routes are probably greater. If you get to town before dawn be very careful of bikes. Some people start in the dark and don’t put lights on their bikes….

Congestion will be high around the Register truck location on Sunday morning. You should be able to get there on Saturday but on Sunday you might have to stop some distance away and schelp your gear to the truck then return to the car to get your bike and kiss your wife goodbye. The shuttle routes are probably passable on Saturday but there are no guarantees on Sunday. A Saturday arrival is probably best for several reasons but if you have to wait until Sunday you probably want to leave in time to get there 90 minutes to 2 hours before the Register truck leaves to allow for congestion. That would be my guess, I have never arrived on Sunday. I’m using a charter for the first time this year and I can tell you that while their baggage truck leaves town at 7am so as to not force people to get up too early, the van that carries most of their crew leaves town at 5:30am every morning to avoid the congestion.


D Lohrentz, July 8, 2016 at 11:53 pm

Can’t get there until Sun. My bakery is all hands on deck on Saturdays, and I’m working the market in the morning.


Lodie, July 9, 2016 at 6:38 am

My first year was also 2011. Oy, the heat! Because we were clueless knuckleheads, we arrived Sunday morning. Our preparations were haphazard at best. What expo? We had our own support vehicles so we didn’t need to find the truck. The key to the congestion would likely be to come toward the truck from the exact opposite direction everyone is departing and you probably won’t have too much trouble. The first day of your first year will be etched in your memory forever. Fortunately people are really patient and kind. Be sure to designate your virgin status on your legs and people will go out of their way to help you. I will never forget the kind gentleman who saw us locking up our bikes at our first stop (Mom always said to do it) and laid a hand gently on my forearm and said, “I think they will still be here when you are done.”
Enjoy the ride! Eat pie, drink beer and dance!


KenH, July 9, 2016 at 11:51 am

D Lohrentz: Ok, ok, we will sign off on your excuse for a Sunday arrival!! The mass of folks arrive on Saturday but you probably are not the only one coming in on Sunday. Here are some other ideas you should try:

1) Contact Glenwood and see if they can offer any advice for a Sunday arrival and meetup with the Register truck.

2) Contact the Register for their advice. Glenwood is a better bet for route suggestions but the Register should at least be able to tell you where the truck will be.

3) While you are talking to the Register ask if it would be possible for your wife (obviously you have to ask her too!) to drive to Shenandoah and drop your luggage off at the Register truck there. This should work and might be an excellent option if the Register will allow it.

4) It looks like the High School which we believe is where you will need to go is relatively isolated from the rest of the town as far as the road network goes. My fear is that your only routes to the HS will be so congested that you won’t get very close very quickly. However that could work in your favor in that the area around the middle school Sivers Road which is adjacent to the HS but separated from it by Keg Creek could be relatively uncongested. You may be able to drive right up to the middle school, park there, and use what appears to be a pedestrian bridge to cross Keg Creek and get your gear and bike to the HS:


You might want to ask the folks at Glenwood about this option to get their opinion.

Good luck, I am sure there is a way you can get this done, we’re just trying to come up with the easiest way for you to do it and I think Glenwood and the Register will be a good resource for you to use to find that way.


LawnchairMan, July 9, 2016 at 7:45 pm

Bracel Charters is camping at the middle school, so there will be 300+ of us there. I pondered using the foot bridge to get across Keg stream, but I think I will take Sivers road to the Sharp st and back up Redbud. I forsee a bicycle traffic jam getting from the foot bridge to Redbud.


D Lohrentz, July 12, 2016 at 11:01 am

It looks like I could get to Glenwood by 8:30 pm on Sat. Will that be less chaotic than arriving Sun morning? And will there be room to set up a tent that late in the day?


jwsknk, July 12, 2016 at 12:47 pm

probably a little less chaos around the campground and the luggage trucks. By then most will be around the beer garden/concert site.


RDaryl Daryl, July 12, 2016 at 3:57 pm

Saturday night will be much better than Sunday Morning. On Sunday all bikes will be heading through town and North East past the High School up highway L45. Support vehicles will be going the opposite direction on Sunday morning.
Become familiar with Glenwood at http://ragbraiglenwood.com/maps/
Patience will be needed as over 10,000 people are navigating through this small town. Saturday shuttles (prior question) take riders from long term parking to downtown expo & main camp at high school. They will likely allow drop off at the high school parking lot (south side). You will probably need to carry your bag to the north side of the High School/Aquatic Center where the main campground & main luggage trucks are located.
Although a lot of logistics will be on you mind, I do suggest heading into the town square once you set up your tent. You will have the time of your life!
Note: even after 22 years of this, it still takes me 4 days of RAGBRAI to figure out where everything is in my duffel.


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