RAGBRAI LI July 20 -27, 2024

I don't understand the anger.

Yes, TJ approached this in a way that rubbed people the wrong way. Yes, the DMR could have handled the King thing better. But you know what…sh** happens. Business arrangements morph and change, relationships sour, and sometimes it all blows up. And I suspect that there are no complete saints or sinners in all this.

Nobody posting here really knows all the behind the scenes nuances and details that led to this. Ever had a big fight with a close friend, spouse or family member? They get ugly…sometimes really ugly. And more times than not, after time has had a chance to do it’s magic and olive branches get extended, things start to heal up, fences get mended and new beginnings emerge. That might be happening with RAGBRAI and Iowa’s Ride too.

So why all the arm-chair vitriol? Why are do some posters seem to be so locked into their chosen side, and rooting for a swath of destruction to happen on the other side? We are just spectators…but they are in the middle of it, each with a lot at stake. Isn’t the best approach to just let the natural process unfold on it’s own without spectators getting emotionally invested in it? I don’t know…maybe this just reflective of our current culture, with everyone on a hair trigger waiting to get angry, offended or hurt over something they can’t control anyway. If so, that’s sad. For me though, I’m just going to watch and hope that it all turns out OK.

So Iowa’s Ride, or RAGBRAI, or some alliance between the two creating something really cool? Either way, I’m pretty confident that I will be riding my bike through Iowa in July. I’m hopeful…somehow I think it’s going to be alright.

27 Replies

Jboz, December 1, 2019 at 1:30 pm

Sorry if my lack of outrage has upset anyone. I will work on it :)

Seriously, I have no animosity for those who feel otherwise, I just don’t really get it. But it’s all ok. I think there too much conflict in the world already and I’m trying to just chill a little and not be mad all the time. I’m happy to ride alongside you in July, and regardless of where you stand on this issue, or any issue for that matter, I will consider you a cycling kindred spirit and a friend.


Uncle Kraig, December 1, 2019 at 3:41 pm

Intellectual property??? It’s a big bike ride…..two wheels, chains, spokes and seats. Add in some campgrounds, food and entertainment and there you have it. Seriously, don’t mistake experience, institutional knowledge, relationships, key contacts, etc, with IP. I have no animosity against TJ, in fact, I’m thinking about riding his ride. I have no animosity against RAGBRAI either, will probably ride at least some of it too.

The Hamburglar can open a burger joint anywhere he wants, he just cant call it McDonalds or use their “secret” sauce. There is no secret sauce with RAGBRAI, just experience, institutional knowledge, relationships, key contacts, etc…..all of which the new director and his team will gather up in no time. See you all in July….heading east and west probably :)


KenH, December 1, 2019 at 9:22 pm

TJ used to talk about how when he came on board the outgoing director took him under his wing and showed him the ropes, for a year I believe. When TJ left how did he honor that great gift?

TJ says he worked on IR on evenings and weekends at home between when he took the decision to leave and when he made his announcement to his employer and us. How hard did he really work on RAGBRAI’s behalf during that time? He should have been preparing those who remained behind to take over for him and putting as many loose ends as possible in order. Is there any evidence he did that?

Yes, RAGBRAI does have IP. Among other things they have a list of clients which TJ used to make his announcement and hint at his new ride. This was wrong. The list of towns that had applied for the host positions in 2020 and the applications themselves were both IP. Can TJ really claim to have not used any of that? How could he not have used this information? The only way he could have done that would have been to hire an independent team, give them general directions about what to do, and let them contact towns and develop a host city list. There is zero evidence that he did this. He almost certainly stole RAGBRAI IP to put IR together.

During his early interviews about IR he talked about all the support that he had gathered over the years and how they were committed to helping him launch the new ride. He continued to talk about the RAGBRAI nation as if he were still a part of it even though he had just nuked us. These and many other clues over the years indicate that this was a long planned move by a man who felt that he owned RAGBRAI, that he was RAGBRAI.

There are plenty of reasons to feel angry about the way that TJ left his post and tried to steal RAGBRAI from the Register while it was in a vulnerable state. There is no mystery here.

Is it time now to let go of that anger and get on with planning for our participation in RAGBRAI next year. In my opinion, yes. We have a new director who has the chops to pull this off. Both he and the Register appear committed to the event in the long run. The Register has pulled in more experienced team members than we knew about until today. TJ has simply become irrelevant. Energy spent being angry with him is just wasted energy.

TJ’s behavior over the past few weeks do not reflect well on him but he is still a decent human being who is better than the part he has played recently. I hope he is beginning to see that and to return to the honor and decency he has shown in the past. I hope he does well in the future and if there is room in Iowa for two large bicycle rides to survive and thrive then I hope IR does well too. I’m too excited about RAGBRAI’s future to waste any more time thinking about him. He can take care of himself, I’ve got RAGBRAI plans to make!


Jose Medina, December 2, 2019 at 12:11 am

Well said Ken. Count me in. Ride Right !


Joseph Schlau, December 2, 2019 at 6:58 am

One opinion on the ease of running a ride

Intellectual property??? It’s a big bike ride…..two wheels, chains, spokes and seats. Add in some campgrounds, food and entertainment and there you have it. Seriously, don’t mistake experience, institutional knowledge, relationships, key contacts, etc, with IP.

Another statement, this time from TJ, on how things are going. From yesterday’s meeting.

He called an era of two statewide rides a “new chapter” for Iowa and said he wished Drake well, going forward. He added that coordinating the inaugural Iowa’s Ride has challenges different from operating the 48th RAGBRAI. “It’s hard the first time out,” he said. “We’re going to die trying to make it happen.”

Die trying? I heard this was easy.

Even TJ, with his institutional knowledge, had to admit there is more to this than two wheels, chains, spokes and seats. Add in some campgrounds, food and entertainment and there you have it.

You will find his quote here



Joseph Schlau, December 2, 2019 at 7:20 am

[quote quote=1313489]. I’m too excited about RAGBRAI’s future to waste any more time thinking about him. He can take care of himself, I’ve got RAGBRAI plans to make![/quote]

Yes, the danger has passed. Ragbrai has a team assembled that promises to honor the past tradition and bring new ideas in as well.

They are addressing charitable and town funding, thus taking the initiative on this issue.

Their registration numbers were mentioned in yesterday’s meeting as well and are on track with past years. An indication of continued rider loyalty.

This is an important safety issue for me because a large number of riders on the route tends to discourage cars.

Now, the only issue remaining is which way my team follows. I’m optimistic on that one.

Now we look forward to the route announcement party.


Joe Chavis, December 17, 2019 at 9:49 am

Whew!!! More lashing on a dead horse? Outsider view to follow – I will be brief. I do not have any IR or Register ties. I simply come to Iowa on vacation – that was until my retirement in2016. Now I drive out for a bike ride no vacation needed. I was not ‘angry’ about the decision of another RIDE… op to ride across Iowa (twice). My RADAR was blipping, however, about the first decision to have the ride, the same week as RAGBRAI. Usually if it has feathers, web feet, waddles and quacks…it’s a duck. I’m over my angst about that now. I hope there was/is no intent to ‘derail’ RAGBRAI. Lastly: There need be no understanding of one persons anger by another. I stay pissed off about many things about 95% of the time. Best thing to do with another’s anger is to realize it, don’t try to make it fit your views and steer clear of it. AMEN


stuckinmizzou, December 19, 2019 at 9:11 am

Not so much anger as frustration. Even holding the rides on separate weeks has caused some splitting of traditional teams – making it more difficult to ensure there are enough riders to support using a team bus on either of the rides.


Ken Reed, December 19, 2019 at 9:18 am

I’m still not convinced the IR will actually happen.


J L, December 27, 2019 at 2:13 pm

I second that. And even if it does get off the ground, will it last? From all accounts, it’s not getting the draw and excitement I think he hoped for.


J L, December 27, 2019 at 2:17 pm

Coming to this late. Sorry. In regards to the anger – I was angry. PISSED in fact. I ‘m past that and have settled into slightly annoyed now that I see RAGBRAI will pretty much go unaffected I think. I was never a fan of what TJ did to RAGBRAI for years now. As an Iowan who loves the history and how the ride began in the first place, to have TJ – who isn’t even an Iowan – do this to the ride, and Iowans, it was just irritating as hell. It’s not politics for me. It’s that I felt that he did this for himself. Not Iowa. Not for the love of “the ride”. Not for charity. Not really. I think that was his excuse when he saw potential for a nice bunch of followers to kick start his little dream. He of all people should know how hard RAGBRAI alone is on our state and how much he asks of the communities. SO he starts a ride the same week?? He saw an opportunity and made a selfish move. I am a pretty empathetic person. I am always willing to hear the other guy out, but no matter how I looked at it…this one just STUNK to high heaven. He handled it poorly and then tried to play it off as his “standards” when all signs point to his having this idea of starting another ride for some time now. It was just shady and wreaked of BS. Good, decent Iowans and past directors don’t operate that way. TJ apparently does. And that just makes me crabby. My loyalties are with RAGBRAI. Not the Register. RAGBRAI. Never Iowa’s Ride. To me, it will always feel like a ride started out of pettiness. Not the fun loving, carefree Iowa spirit that RAGBRAI was founded on.


Ken Reed, December 27, 2019 at 4:06 pm

JL, I may have said this before on this post and others, but my anger on this entire situation stemmed from how it divided a previously undividable (if that’s a word) biking community. The people in the biking community here in Iowa hold all kinds of political views but when you are out biking together none of that political division comes up. I think TJ is a good guy and a wonderful ride director but I also feel his motivation in creating the IR was misguided and probably not a good career move. RAGBRAI is Iowa. It’s not one individual person. Sure, it’s owned by a corporation but so what? It’s been owned by Gannet since 1985 and all of a sudden people have a problem with it. Very hypocritical behavior. My anger has gone from 100 to zero over this because I know RAGBRAI will be in great hands. Dieter and company have a goal and a vision to keep RAGBRAI going for another 48 years. Long live RAGBRAI!!!


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