Does anyone ride a decent high end road bike?

This is my Ragbrai ride and wanted to know if anyone brings some high end road bikes to ride.
I just don’t want to bring mine and it really sticks out, but if there are others
that ride some nice bikes it will just blend in.
Also, does Ragbrai have any secure sites where you can put your bike if you go into town
or to one of those concerts at night.
any feed back will be appreciated.

26 Replies

Tom Hotle, February 15, 2020 at 8:37 am

Depends on what you mean by “decent high end”. I would say there’s a lot of late model trek/specialized/giant/etc carbon fiber Ultegra component type bikes. If you’re talking above $10k kinda bike, I would say those would be rare but you do see them on RAGBRAI. I haven’t seen RAGBRAI provided secure sites, most folks will bring their own cable and padlock if they’re looking for an overnight lock-up.


Uncle Kraig, February 15, 2020 at 8:40 am

You will see every kind and quality of bike you can imagine from low end to extremely high end and every thing in between. Bring whatever you are most comfortable riding for a week.

No need for a secure site in town. Ride in to town, find a place to lean your bike and go have fun. It will be there when you get back, no worries. If you a worrying type, bring your old clunker and then you will have one less thing to worry about all week :) See you in July……


jelly0317, February 15, 2020 at 8:46 am

A few bikes are stolen every year; bring a lock.


Larry Klaaren, February 15, 2020 at 9:14 am

I ride a pretty inexpensive Trek hybrid bike. It ain’t fancy, but it’s geared for hills and I don’t have to ride hunched over all week. Whatever you bring, if this is your first year, be aware that there are places in Iowa that are hill after hill after hill. This always surprises first year riders from out of state.


Mike Howe, February 15, 2020 at 10:40 am

Theres old bikes and brand new $10k bikes. Everyone just lays their bike in the ditch, up against a post, a building, a fence, etc. You will see hundreds/thousands of bikes left unattended and not messed with. Its awesome. Ive never heard of anyone having their bike stolen on Ragbrai.

If youre worried, just bring some kind of lock. Doesnt need to be any kind of fancy or expensive lock. If someone is looking to steal a bike theyre arent going to be carrying around bolt or cable cutters…theyre looking for a quick grab n go so even a cheap lock will be enough of a deterant in my opinion.


mootsman, February 15, 2020 at 1:41 pm

A cheap 4 foot cable lock that coils up and fits into your jersey pocket works. A lock doesn’t have to be theft proof as any lock will cause a thief on RAGBRAI to look for another bike without a lock instead.


bmyoungberg, February 15, 2020 at 2:25 pm

Bring a lock and use when you think you should, but in the main camp you don’t worry about it. Enough around that someone doesn’t know if people nearby know whose bike it is. I use mine when somewhere off the main path like McD (I would use the wifi for work). I don’t take it downtown in evenings. Leave it at camp and walk or take shuttles in evenings.


Jonathan Jones, February 15, 2020 at 2:56 pm

Try looking at some of the many photo galleries from past rides to see what people are riding.


2newknees2newbeers, February 15, 2020 at 7:04 pm

I rode with a guy years back from towm to towm, he was riding a beautiful Colnago his wife bought for him years ago for his 50th, it was beyond beautiful. So bring your best bike you have. I was riding my mew Surly Disc Trucker


SFC JKL 2, February 15, 2020 at 9:31 pm

I’m not going to Ragbrai to impress anyone. Ride what you want. Ride what is comfortable. The biggest rookie mistake is going too fast. There’s no prize for getting to the next town first. My theory is everything I take to Ragbrai is disposable. Even my bike. I would really miss it, but wouldn’t get upset if something happened to it.


Scott Barber, February 16, 2020 at 5:29 am

Even though I read post after post about the great atmosphere and how safe everything is you never want to lose your go to bike. I just bought a tiny little cable lock that probably doesn’t weight 7oz and fits in my small lizard skin under saddle bag along with tools and spare tube. You can find them for under $20 and will offer a deterrent which is perfect for stops on your local club ride or in this case RAGBRAI. I carry my lock on every ride now because it is so easy to carry along.


Jboz, February 16, 2020 at 1:10 pm

I’ll weigh in. It’s extremely unlikely that your bike will be stolen. But even if you knew with 100% certainty that it would be safe, sometimes your most expensive bike isn’t the best choice for a 450 mile 7 day ride.

* Your most expensive bike might have hand-built, lightweight wheels with a low spoke count. This is not ideal for repeatedly pounding on cracks, RR tracks, and the occasional pothole.
* Your most expensive bike might have a very aggressive aero geometry…perfect for banging out a fast 20 mile club ride, but a more relaxed geometry might be a more comfortable choice for long days in the saddle where fun is the day’s goal instead of fast.
* Your most expensive bike probably doesn’t have braze-ons for rack mounts, and you might decide to put on a rack for Ragbrai (hint, could come in handy for shuttling your gear to and from baggage truck and your campsite).

Think of it this way. Let’s say you were fortunate enough to own both a Ferrari and a reliable Ford Explorer, which would you be inclined to load up for a really fun week-long camping road trip?


Chris, February 16, 2020 at 5:33 pm

I like JBoz’s answer better than what I was going to say. Ultra low spoke count wheels with race day rubber on it isn’t the best idea on RAGBRAI. A little heavier and a whole lot more durable wins.

To answer your question, though: I’ve ridden RAGBRAI on a Colnago with Campy that’s anything but subtle, and I certainly wasn’t the only one. I’ve ridden it on a battleship grey Trek 520 with Suntour parts. Wanna know what the difference in “Sticking out” was? Zero. True, these days there is a lot of naked carbon and flat-black paint jobs, so if you have a screaming red DeRosa, you’ll end up spending more time at stops and make new friends who want to talk to you about your DeRosa and how much they love theirs.

Bring what’s comfortable to you for the long haul and don’t worry about it too much. :)

See you in July,


Mike Murphy, February 16, 2020 at 6:56 pm

I ride a Cervelo S5 with Zipp Wheels. It will be my 11th ride overall and my fourth with this Cervelo. I never take a lock and never worry about my bike. I do sleep with it in my tent, not due to being worried about it stolen. I don’t want someone to trip over it at night and I don’t like it getting dew on it overnight. The only bikes I have heard being stolen are ones left outside at bars at night. Most of them are found after the joy riders drop them someplace. Also if you are concerned about your bike being so nice it will be the prize one to take, trust me whatever you bring there will be something nicer on the road. I see 20-30 S5 like mine every year. Come and enjoy Ragbrai, the greatest bike ride in the country.


KenH, February 16, 2020 at 9:49 pm

Even though it is rare no one can guarantee that your bike will not be stolen. If you worry about that you should use one of the locks recommended above. The most common theft at RAGBRAI is a town kid taking a joyride and then abandoning it somewhere. Many of those are found so you might get yours back — eventually. If you are worried, lock it. If you make your bike more difficult to steal than the ones around it you have done all you need to do.

I’m not sure that the quality of your bike matters much to the typical RAGBRAI thief. The people who are most likely to recognize your bike as “a decent high end road bike” are your fellow riders and they are unlikely to steal your bike. As you will note above at least some of them left theirs home because they feel another type of bike is better suited to the task at hand….


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