This was my 4th RAGBRAI. I love everything about it, but as I have gotten older I find camping less and less enjoyable, and I don’t sleep well under those conditions. Call me a wimp, but I like a comfortable bed, air conditioning and a hot shower to end the day and the next morning to start the day. I enjoyed a nice hotel room in Iowa City, and it was like heaven. Got me to thinking, almost impossible to arrange hotel rooms in all the overnight towns….
But, what if someone could be waiting for me every day at the overnight town, drive me to a nearby town (within 45 minutes) with hotel availability, then shuttle me back to start my ride first thing the next morning? The full RAGBRAI experience except for the sleeping on the ground part. Obviously cost-prohibitive, but what if someone could pull together a small group and pool resources?
Might look something like this:
Transportation from ending town to start town on Saturday.
6 riders all sharing a van with driver.
Daily van shuttle from the overnight town to a nearby town with hotel availability, usually 30 to 45 minutes away. (Shuttle departs the overnight town at 8PM, but can depart earlier or later if all 6 riders agree).
Room at quality/budget hotel (usually Baymont, Days Inn, Super 8, Hampton Inn, etc.), shared room with one roommate, 2 separate full or queen sized beds.
Daily van shuttle back to overnight town to start your riding day. (Shuttle departs at 6:30 AM, but can depart earlier or later if all 6 riders agree).
* Daily laundry service.
* Evening van shuttle includes unlimited cold bottled water. Cold beer available at van under awning with camp chairs while awaiting other riders.
* Morning van shuttle includes coffee and muffins.
* Self-service bike maintenance, including Park Tool bike, wheel truing stand, and full assortment of tools.
* Errand services available (negotiated for fee).
I figure the cost, including hotel, van rental, and driver cost would be about $875 per person for 6 people. Not cheap, but you get what you pay for and the ability to start each day fresh, clean and well-rested might appeal to a few like-minded folks. And when you calculate the cost of shuttle to the start town, plus charter services, plus a few extras, the overall cost is somewhat comparable.
So, is this an idea that might find some interest for next RAGBRAI?