First time old timers

Just wondering how many 65 to 70 year olds (in a moment of insanity) decide to ride a bike across Iowa? Looking for suggestions (besides weekly visits to a psychiatrist) to make RAGBRAI successful and enjoyable for us.

12 Replies

GeorgeKline, May 15, 2017 at 7:23 pm

Susan the majority of the riders are 50 Years of age or older, last year a 90 year old man rode, think he rides every year. They put out the statistics of the breakdown of riders age after the ride. Welcome to the insanity, enjoy your ride.
I did find this statistic after some searching 68% of riders are male; 60% are between the ages of 45-65.


Sandaltan ., May 15, 2017 at 7:31 pm

From a couple years ago those age 60 plus comprised 18 percent of the herd.



William Mugan, May 16, 2017 at 8:11 am

Susan Ketel,

I’m seventy this year and have done about a dozen RAGBRAI’s and plan to ride again this year.

Hope to see you there.


KenH, May 16, 2017 at 8:15 am

I will pass into the lower end of your age range this year and I have been riding every year since 2012. That first year we chatted with a man ahead of us in the Beekman’s line. He was a 75 year old who started to ride across Iowa at age 67 after surviving cancer. From the look of him I would not wanted to have challenged him to keep up with me on the road, I’m quite sure he could! If you are an active person in that age range you will not have any trouble doing this ride.

Two years ago I was passed on a hill by someone I believe to be the 90 year old mentioned above, but he was only 89 at the time! My riding partner and I had both been feeling the effects of all the hills that day so we had dialed back our pace. By the time Mr 89 and going strong (as his RAGBRAI license plate read) passed us the cumulative effect of all the calories I had consumed that day was beginning to kick in for me and I think I could have passed and dropped him but I took mercy on my buddy and just watched him drift past us. My friend is about 10 years younger than me and I have no doubt he can leave me in the dust most days but he just wasn’t feeling it that day. The 89 year old was however and it just goes to show you that as long as the beast within you is ready to rumble your age don’t mean a thing!


Mike Cordes, May 16, 2017 at 10:01 am

There are lots of threads on this forum with good ideas on how to “train” for this ride, but I think it boils down to this: the more miles you ride before RAGBRAI, the more comfortable you will be on the bike during RAGBRAI. And the more comfortable you are on the bike (for seven days), the more you will enjoy the ride. This is true for all ages.


knees36, May 16, 2017 at 10:52 am

Will be 81 the on the 1st of July and will ride my 34th RAG. Yep, this ride grabs you and doesn’t let go very easily. Cheers. Knees.


Gypsy Rose, May 16, 2017 at 6:11 pm

Clarence Pickard


GeorgeKline, May 16, 2017 at 7:34 pm

Clarence Bosenberg, here is the link to the article on him:


Brian Wallenburg, May 16, 2017 at 9:24 pm

Great little write up! Thx for posting.


RoyBoy, May 17, 2017 at 12:57 pm

My best advice to anyone is keep hydrated and nourished. Always carry two water bottles with you and don’t pass up an opportunity to refill before leaving a town along the route. Some times you will see someone giving away water along the route. Take advantage of that opportunity too and make a free will donation. If you feel thirsty you are already partially dehydrated. Another sign for me is when I’m tired and start yawning then I know I’m dehydrated even though I may not be thirsty.
Other good advice:
Gear down and spin up hills. Coast when you can.
Start early on really hot days.
Take a nap in the shade when the sun is high in the sky.
If you are not having fun, lower your expectations.

Some days I can’t believe I’m in my sixties and out-riding some half my age.


jake d, May 18, 2017 at 6:36 pm

Kudos to anyone of any age that wants to try RAGBRAI. You will find many peers your age to interact with.
However, the statistics on rider demographics are bogus, because they only include registered riders. In any given year that leaves out +/- 45% of the total.
Those non registered riders tend to be younger than the 45-65 majority.


Sunflower, May 19, 2017 at 10:56 am

65-70 is the new 40. If you like to ride your bike you will be fine.


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