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Internet access during the week?

Hello! I’m new to RAGBRAI and am planning on registering for the first time this year with some or all of my siblings. However, we all live in multiple states and have some coordinating to figure out. I’m looking for help with one question in particular: one of my siblings wants to participate, but would need to spend a day or two skipping the biking and working their 9-5 from a place with a decent internet connection while the rest of us biked. Would this be a possibility at all? We expect to have a car so he could drive early in the morning to the next pit stop.

9 Replies

SFC JKL 2, April 14, 2021 at 12:48 am

It should be pretty easy with a little pre-planning. Contact the overnight towns and they should be able to help you. You’ll need to tap into a hard line as cell phone are useless during most of the ride. Too many phones crush the systems in rural areas (no matter how much they tell you they do things to fix the problem). Texting works well. With a car, you can always get away from the crowds if you have to.


Sandaltan ., April 14, 2021 at 7:44 am

Public library may be the answer. If you drive to an off route town you would be assured of very little traffic to contend with. Or, maybe use the library in your current overnight town then drive to the next overnight town. Be sure to have a paper Iowa map, the RAGBRAI route map and the truck route map.



mootsman, April 14, 2021 at 9:40 am

It sounds like they don’t have a network device from their employer to provide their own connection. Now would be a good time for them to ask their employer about getting one. I had a Verizon Jetpack from my employer. Then they could work from the team support vehicle (bus, RV, etc.).


bugs11, April 14, 2021 at 11:38 am

VPN from a public library or coffee shop. We have someone on my team that regularly joins meetings from a Boston area Starbucks, the background noise from his connection can be very annoying at times.


bmyoungberg, April 14, 2021 at 12:37 pm

I often had to do an hour or two of work early before riding. I typically went to the local McDonalds as most towns had one. I would park my bike right outside the booth I sat in so I could watch it. Usually would have to ride a mile or whatever off the route to get to it.

If no McD, I would scout out a diner or something on google maps and call them to see if they had wifi. Also can contact the town coordinators also. This year, Sac City will be the only overnight town without a McD based on a casual look.

This reply was modified 2 years, 7 months ago by bmyoungberg.


mootsman, April 15, 2021 at 9:31 am

Peter is saying the person will work 1-2 entire days skipping the ride. I assumed they would ride some type of group or team transport during that time which rules out a fixed location. They could use the mobile hotspot on their phone to connect also but really their employer should pay for a mobile network device if they want them to work. Most companies already have those available to their employees. The biggest issues on RAGBRAI is when no one can get a cell connection at all during peak periods when we overwhelm the local cell capacity.


Peter Wood, April 15, 2021 at 10:52 am

Thank you everyone for all the advice! I think we might end up having some siblings register for select days, alternate driving our car, and work from the locations you’ve all suggested. The biggest question was how easy it would be to find internet access with decent bandwidth!


Chris, April 29, 2021 at 7:39 am

” I had a Verizon Jetpack from my employer….”
“Too many phones crush the systems in rural areas (no matter how much they tell you they do things to fix the problem)”

Lemmie expound on that a little bit: Whispering softly on the Iowa Wind, you can just hear the sound of a cell tower crying when we all roll into town. It sounds remarkably similar to frying bacon on a hot skittle combined with the hum of cooling fans that are wondering out loud what they ever did to deserve punishment like this.

In reality, it works a little like this:
4am – Full cell service, great speed, everything is nice.
4:30am – Sort of good service, speed is going down.
5am – forget any kind of bandwidth. Text messaging still works.
6am – Hit or miss.
6:30am – whatever time. 10pm?: Good luck. Texting still works, usually. If you have a signal at all. Verizon is hit or miss, AT&T seems to be a little better. A JetPack isn’t going to be handy unless it’s overnight. As SFC said: a hard line is the only good option. Anything wireless is going to be iffy.

See you in July.


Derek Eilderts, April 29, 2021 at 8:39 am

That’s pretty spot on Chris. I find that 2:30 AM is a great time to use the toilet and send texts, emails, etc. Not at the same time though, that would be gross. I have AT&T and don’t even attempt to use my phone during the day, except for Strava which works even on airplane mode.


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