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Going alone?

After too many years of trying to find people to go to RAGBRAI I am now thinking about trying it on my own. This will be my first RAGBRAI although I have done one other week long ride. I was wondering about the experience of others who have gone to RAGBRAI on your own. Is it possible to join a group and how does own go about this? Any issues with safety? I am definitely going to join a charter and will rent a tent. Any advice is appreciated.

46 Replies

Sandaltan ., February 19, 2018 at 10:07 pm

Good route Jelly, you know your Iowa, we will ride the Raccoon River Valley Trail to Jefferson then ride the route backwards to Onawa. Unless of course she changes her mind.



Jeff, February 20, 2018 at 11:01 am

Kenneth, I’ve done a few rides to and from RAGBRAI over the past few years. I’ve found that google maps will put you on some busier roads and even gravel at times. The Iowa DOT puts out a great cycling map for free. I’ve used it in conjunction with google to find the least trafficked routes. You can request the free map at:

Good luck!


KenH, February 20, 2018 at 12:05 pm

I’ve found that google maps will put you on … gravel at times.

You say that like it’s a bad thing!

People riding unsupported and people using the Register trucks should consider that the combination of the two is both feasible and a good way to overcome the weight restrictions of either alone….


Barry Schnoor, February 20, 2018 at 12:52 pm

Lawnchair Man, sorry. This was not a question of being in shape. This was a question of needing a charter. My original post suggested I was prepared to go unsupported…without anyone carrying my baggage. (I did a 2-day 150-mile unsupported ride last year). I’m not planning on RIDING the SAG wagon. Rather having them haul my pack…which is part of the fee I’m paying, right?

I’ve seen so many people indicating they’re riding on their own. But with a Charter to support them. That’s not what I had hoped to do. I want to ride alone…using only the SAG services to carry my pack…if I choose to bring a pack. Could be I just ride the thing with my panniers.


Niles, February 20, 2018 at 1:51 pm


I think I get what you mean but you confused the SAGs with the RAGBRAI trucks which leave every morning to the next overnight town and will transport your luggage everyday as your fee has paid for.

On the other hand, SAGs are the vehicles running along the riding route during the day to help riders in case of unexpected incidents.

[quote quote=1282228] I’m not planning on RIDING the SAG wagon. Rather having them haul my pack…which is part of the fee I’m paying, right?

I want to ride alone…using only the SAG services to carry my pack…if I choose to bring a pack. Could be I just ride the thing with my panniers.[/quote]


Barry Schnoor, February 20, 2018 at 2:31 pm

Thanks, Niles.

It’s my first RAGBRAI. The rest of the cycling world uses SAG wagons to haul food, bags, equipment, etc…as well as fatigued riders. I hope I don’t need it for that!

Looking forward to Riding Iowa. I grew up (as much as you can measure growing up!) in Onawa. Can’t wait to get back.


LawnchairMan, February 20, 2018 at 11:43 pm


Sorry to come down on you about the SAG service. It seems like every year somebody brags about riding Ragbrai without preparing, and assume that they can SAG when they can’t ride farther. I didn’t realize you had confused the SAG wagon with the baggage truck.
If you are interested, there is a lot of information under the Ride tab. Under that tab there is General Information. It explains what SAG is and a lot of other logistics of Ragbrai.

I hope you have a great time. My first was a grand adventure!


Tropictrev, February 22, 2018 at 11:22 am

Hi Karen, As a 50yr+ woman, I did RAGBRAI alone 4 few years ago for the same reasons you stated and think it is was the best thing I ever did. I made 100+ new friends every day as people are more inclined to strike up a conversation with you when you are alone….I went and continue to go with PBV which is an awesome charter and now I look forward to meeting up with my RAGBRAI/PBV friends yearly. I have since convinced my friends and family to come with me but still separate myself from them for periods while biking so I can meet others along the road as thats what RAGBRAI is all about. If you want to join a group, you are welcome to join ours…its a name only, just to increase odds of getting into so-called lottery. Do it!! You only die once!! Cheers, Jean


David Imig, February 23, 2018 at 1:03 pm

Rode 3 days last year and will do the whole thing this year. Please say howdy when you see me. I’ll be the one on a bike wearing a helmet. You’ll meet plenty! Have fun and ride on!


bmyoungberg, February 24, 2018 at 9:41 am

No need to spend extra $ on a charter. Use the truck. Easy and free. I do it solo every year. Takes 5-10 minutes to put up tent. Always a short walk. People are quiet after 9pm. Make new friends each stop. Solo is great. Don’t worry about finding someone in masses along route, go at own pace and do what you want. Paying big $$ for a charter is a waste to me.


bmyoungberg, February 24, 2018 at 9:48 am

Use the free truck service. Easy and free. I do it every year. Takes 5 minutes to put up a tent…why pay big $ for that?


bmyoungberg, February 24, 2018 at 9:50 am

Agree. Free truck service works great. I ride solo every year and use it. I think some believe they must use a high-cost charter to ride.


jelly0317, February 24, 2018 at 10:38 am

Listen to the youngbergs: they know what they’re talking about!


William Weber, March 2, 2018 at 9:49 am

As an introvert and having no one interested in riding Ragbrai, I chose to go it alone. What a great experience and I love it. This year will be my 5th in a row. There’s something very freeing and exciting about following your own schedule (or lack thereof) and treating yourself to whatever experiences you want, simply because it’s what you want. At first, the idea of navigating Ragbrai alone can be overwhelming. But it also gives you the freedom to make our own decisions and choose your own path. No one is there to make your decisions for you, you are the one who decides where to go and ultimately, where you end up.

I use Bubbas charter service. He takes care of all the logistics and it’s great to get to the next overnight town with refreshing drinks, shade, nice chairs to relax in. Also, your tent is set up, air mattress is inflated, and your luggage is inside. Did I mention he gets great camping sites!

While relaxing in the shade / nice chairs you will meet many other riders. Within a day or two, groups with similar interest, riding speeds, etc. form and you can be as alone or with company as much as you want.

What’s the best part of Ragbrai beside the ride? In my world, it’s very simple. For a week, I have no boss at home or work. I eat, sleep, ride, stop, meet, talk, and simply do as I please like a single person with no responsibilities.


William Weber, March 2, 2018 at 10:14 am

Bubba’s charter service will take you, your bike, and bags from the end town to start town for a fee. Other charters may as well.


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