RAGBRAI LI Route Announced on Jan. 27!

First timer here

Do we need to purchase water along the way or is there place to refill?

11 Replies

rjjensenia, June 30, 2016 at 11:59 pm

Water to purchase will be readily available, but with a little effort you can easily find it for free.


Jack in VA, July 1, 2016 at 1:16 am

Almost EVERY pass-thru town will have a filling station set-up for you to refill your bottles. Also makes a good place to stick your head into the water streams for a quick cool down too.


Craig Parson, July 1, 2016 at 7:08 am

There is usually some pvc contraption that allows 40 people at a time to fill their bottles for free at most towns. You will not run out of water if you top of each time you see one. Carry two bottles, keep them filled you will be fine on the free water.

Yes you can also buy water or whatever beverage you want along the route also. What you are paying for is really the “ice cold”. Sometimes it is definitely worth it.



Nico ZZZ, July 1, 2016 at 7:33 am

Hey FirstTimer,

You will never starve nor die of thirst during Ragbrai! In nearly every pass through town they will have a loooong PVC pipe with 40-50 holes drilled in it, connected to a fire hydrant, so it is a beautiful (to a cyclist) fountain of water to freely fill your bottles. Yes, carry two bottles.
There are also folks out by the roadside between towns sometimes selling lemonade (buy from the kiddies!), bottled water or gatorade. And beer and vodka lemonade maybe at a farm set up with kybos, etc. But always fill up in the towns.
And in some towns people are giving out bottles of water as you enter town. Iowa and Ragbrai is awesome!
Ride On!


Sweetwater76, July 1, 2016 at 7:50 am

Those are all good comments. We were first-timers last year and we missed seeing the water contraptions more than once. The pass-through towns are so crowded! As a result, I ended up buying water along the road a few times. Also, the camping areas didn’t always have free water available so we had to buy water to start the ride a couple of times.


RoyBoy, July 1, 2016 at 9:03 am

Never leave a town without enough water to make it to the next town. I recommend two large water bottles and always top off when free water is available.


Brian Wallenburg, July 1, 2016 at 9:18 am

You will have to look for the free water on occasion. Most commonly can be found on the way out of town, after you passed a number of vendors. Or better, just ask at one of the local food stands. They are more than willing to help you out.


KenH, July 1, 2016 at 10:16 am

I can’t add much to what the others have said but here are a few things to keep in mind.

Free water from those PVC contraptions is great, it is usually nice and cold, and it seldom offends me taste wise. Others more frequently find it bad tasting. So you might want to try a sip before you leave town and the other water options that town vendors afford.

The going rate for water is $1 a bottle, sports drinks are $2. Prices vary occasionally but most places sell at those prices. At least for water, I don’t drink sports drinks so I wouldn’t notice their price variations as much. As someone mentioned the purchased water is generally not just cold but ICE COLD. Just sayin’….

Water is frequently available but there have been a few times when I or one of my riding buddies has really wanted a refill or a nice ice cold one and many miles pass before satisfaction appears in the form of a town or a roadside stand. So most definitely do take two water bottles and when one runs dry make sure you have enough in the other to make it to the next town before you pass that water stand just up ahead.

Now, if you are one of the many folks who carry water in one bottle and a sports drink in the other you really should refill your water bottle at the first opportunity when it goes dry, whether you have to pay for it or not. Last summer one of my buddies told me at one point that if we see a stand selling COLD water he was going to stop. So I assumed it was the cold more than the water he was craving. Well, it was one of those times when nothing appeared and five or six big hills later he stopped and flopped down in the ditch in some distress. It was only then that he told me he had a full bottle of Gatorade but his water bottle was empty and he really needed some. I felt pretty stupid for not asking him about his true complaint before but my spare water bottle was chock full and my main was half full so I was able to get him back on the road quite quickly once I understood the problem. I use electrolyte tablets and only carry water on the bike to avoid this issue. If you use a sports drink be sure to manage your plain water supply carefully.


Denise Hanson, July 1, 2016 at 5:43 pm

THANK YOU for the responses. We are excited to ride!


GORDON BROWN, July 2, 2016 at 10:44 am

I don’t care for most city water supplies taste and I love doing business with kids. I bought most of my water from kids that only had a table and were only selling water and Gatorade. I’d just hand them an open water bottle and a dollar and let them pour it in. They are so excited to have a customer.


SFC JKL 2, July 2, 2016 at 10:23 pm

Water points are normally on the way out of town. I’ll second making sure you have enough water to get to the next town. With that said, you will rarely go more than 3 miles without seeing something to drink (or eat) for sale. There are normally a couple places that miss the boat. Usually unincorpated towns that aren’t really towns. We are going to drop $5ook on the road between point A and point B every day. It’s just a matter of how long they want us to stay in their town. Some people just don’t get it.
Support the people who come out to support us.


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