Iowa State Patrol closing towns down early…again

Witnessed this first hand a few times along the week. Service time would be 4:30pm but cops would shut everything down at 4:00pm to “move people along”. Of course it was the hottest day of the year so that excuse doesn’t make any sense. If anything they should’ve kept things open an extra half an hour.

When it’s this hot out like it was, us riders need resources. We need water, electrolytes, food, shade and a break. Beer is nice but it’s a want, not a need. When you are running on fumes coming into town knowing you have 30 minutes to get these resources only to find cops screaming at you to leave it can became extreme frustrating and downright dangerous. Who makes this call? RAGBRAI or the Iowa State Patrol? Where is the common sense in doing this? When riders complain to the cops they say “you should have planned accordingly”. WE DID! It’s hard to follow the rules when they can be changed at a moment’s notice.

This action pisses off the vendors, the businesses, the locals and the riders. There are four groups of people that are against this decision by the Iowa State Patrol. Besides, they know once they leave the town everything opens back up again, so what’s the point?

As hot as it was this year its only a matter of time before someone gets injured or killed because of lack of food/water during the supposed “service times”. Unfortunately that may be the only way to get things changed with this. In 2020 RAGBRAI had a town hall meeting with riders and this was the riders number one concern. RAGBRAI promised this would not happen but here we are discussing it AGAIN. We’ve told TJ numerous times that Iowa State Patrol turns off the free water in towns but he kept his head in the sand and denied it ever happened. We’ve all seen it. This is not acceptable in any shape or form. I heard a story of a 87 year old struggling to stand up and a cop yelled at him to leave town only to have a local scream back at this awful officer.

If you have any stories like these please share below. We need to get things changed with RAGBRAI on this. They may promise not to do this again but actions speak louder than words.

14 Replies

Joseph Schlau, August 7, 2021 at 4:15 pm

“you should have planned accordingly”

Let’s see. RAGBRAI opens he route at 6:00 am and it is now 10 hours later. You say you have seen this a few times during the week so this is not a one time occurrence, it’s a habit.

Maybe you can explain why such a slow pace. Consider what you can do in the way of training, equipment, and time management to speed it up a bit. Make that your goal for 2022.

But don’t blame the police. They were just saying what I would have told you.


RDaryl Daryl, August 7, 2021 at 5:17 pm

The original post commented on PUBLISHED service times versus ACTUAL service times. Many riders plan the last half of their day using the published service times because they would rather spend extra time in the pass-through towns rather than arrive in the overnight town “early”. Our team’s best day was Thursday on XXVI when it took us 14 hours to travel the 46 miles from Eldora to Cedar Falls. It’s about the journey – not the destination. As for the riders who arrive in the overnight town after midnight – THAT must be an interesting RAGBRAI journey . . . . . . .


RDaryl Daryl, August 7, 2021 at 5:24 pm

One of our team members had once made it his goal to be the first to arrive in the overnight town. His RAGBRAI life was transformed on XXIV. So many GREAT memories that year.


LawnchairMan, August 8, 2021 at 3:23 pm

I see both sides on this. If there are posted service times, then they should be observed. I get upset that quiet times are not observed. It used to be 9 PM according to both online rules and the Participant Guide, but newer Guides now say 10 PM. You plan your ride according to the rules, but they change! Frustrating! Unfortunately, I don’t think that Ragbrai officials are going to complain to the state police for a thirty-minute change. Are there a lot of riders there at that time?
On the other hand, knowing the days are going to be hot I would be out early. 2012 was brutally hot, so on Century Day I started at 0430!
So I see three solutions:
Start earlier, get in better shape as Joseph suggested, or shorten the time you spend in the pass-through towns. I hope you find a solution that works for you.


KenH, August 9, 2021 at 9:00 am

The ISP should not be closing down services before the published cutoff time. They can park at the entrance of town and warn cyclists of the impending cutoff town. But they agreed in advance to the published cutoff times and they should abide by them.


Randy Kurt, August 10, 2021 at 11:26 am

Got 34 RAGBRAI’s under my belt. Don’t believe I need to explain my pace, but I’ve been really fast and I’ve been really slow. Seen it all. Finished some days at noon and finished a bunch after dark. The latter were EPIC DAYS. It’s a ride not a race after all. But when the IHP closes things down it’s no longer a surprise, but leave the food/water stands alone. When they cut the music and the beer about 90% of the riders will leave quickly. Leaving riders without the basic needs of food and water is wrong.


longtimerider, August 11, 2021 at 11:59 am

To those saying “just get there earlier”, you are missing the entire point of this. There are service times listed for each town. They need to be followed.

I was there 30 minutes before service time but ISP shut down the town. “Get there earlier”…ok what if I was there an hour before service time and ISP shut it down? What is your limit before it becomes unacceptable? For me, and many riders, ANY time shutting down before service time is unacceptable.

This isn’t about me, this is about the struggling riders. The children, the elderly, the ones who are running slow because they had a flat tire earlier or just couldn’t get up that big hill. If there are rules then they must be followed otherwise no rules matter.

RAGBRAI promised us this would not happen again but nothing has changed. I am very disappointed in this. I have always registered for RAGBRAI but until this changes I will not register anymore and I wish others will do the same. This is the only way to get them to change this problem. Effect their bottom line.


Joseph Schlau, August 11, 2021 at 12:48 pm

This isn’t about me, this is about the struggling riders. The children, the elderly, the ones who are running slow because they had a flat tire earlier or just couldn’t get up that big hill. If there are rules then they must be followed otherwise no rules matter.

Looking at the maps, I saw only 1 day with a 4:30 time. The rest are 4:00 or 4:15.

I’m doubting 15 minutes is going to make a lot of difference to the children and elderly if they are struggling with another 20 miles to go. The SAG wagon was waiting to take those folks to the end.

Your complaints in the past to JT Juskiewicz are interesting. At the time you were crying to him in 2019, he was already planning to take over RAGBRAI with his Iowa’s Ride scheme in 2020. Covid and common sense wrecked his scheme.

It is all about you. Your just looking for a forum to bash the police. If it wasn’t for ISP, there would be no RAGBRAI. That officer that told you that you should have planned accordingly was probably also muttering other thing to himself as he walked away. Grow up could likely be one of them.


jelly0317, August 11, 2021 at 1:36 pm

Oh no! How can RAGBRAI possibly survive if longtimerider doesn’t register?


stevecycles200, August 12, 2021 at 10:01 am

A potential solution for the future? 1 hour before the end of published service time no more adult beverages; sort of a “last call.” 30 minutes before the end, the music is cut off. At end of service time, water only, anyone coming in or still there is strongly encouraged to sag to the next town.


LawnchairMan, August 12, 2021 at 9:43 pm

I have been reading and re-reading this post and comments. Century day was the only day with a 430 cut-off. That was at Central City. I estimate that to be about sixty miles from the day’s start. So you have from 6 am until 4 pm, or ten hours to get there. If you are ‘getting there on fumes’, I suspect there is something wrong with your bike. Have you checked it thoroughly? Did you have a bike shop check it? You might think that I am a fanatic about lubing my chain, but at Ragbrai I do it every day. I can actually tell the difference. I use Rock N Roll lube. I think it makes me go faster than the Pro Gold I used to use. Hot paraffin is the fastest, but harder to use.

There are a number of things you can do to have a faster bike:
Start with a lightweight road bike if you can afford it.
Use quality tires. Continental Gater Skins are great to avoid punctures, but they are not very flexible, so they are slow. I use Continental Grand Prix’s. I use the 4000’s to train, but will use the 5000’s for my next Ragbrai.
Use latex inner tubes rather than butyl, and use a liberal amount of talc to coat the tubes.
Better yet, tubeless is even faster.
Put the proper amount of air in the tubes. I have learned that filling to max pressure isn’t faster than just enough to avoid pinch flats. Less pressure doesn’t beat you up as much. I used to go with 120 lbs, but now I do 95 in the front and 100 in the rear. I think there is a formula so that your tire compresses 15% when you sit on the bike. I’m not sure, so look it up. I’m riding on 700 X 25 tires. 28’s would probably work as well with even lower pressure.
if you have a dirt bike with fatter tires, use slicks instead of knobby tires.
Along with tires, do your wheels turn freely? Referencing the top of the wheel as 12 o’clock, position the valve stem at about 2 o’clock. When you let go the wheel should start to rotate and swing back and forth several times before it finally stops. On the first rotation, it should almost climb back to the ten o’clock position. If it doesn’t, lube the bearings or have your bike shop do it. Check the entire power train for any unnecessary drag.

Trim anything that flutters in the wind. Anything on the bike or on you. Having flags, streamers, or propellers may look cool, but they create drag. Same way with loose-fitting clothing. Don’t be afraid of wearing Spandex shorts and close-fitting jerseys. Make sure they are moisture-wicking so your sweat can escape.
Use aero wheels if you can afford them. I used to use Zipp 404’s, but went with Enve’s and got a free half-mile per hour speed gain. Before that, I went from a steel recumbent with standard wheels to a carbon recument with the Zipp’s and gained 1.5 mph. So aerodynamics works.
Oh, if you can do it safely, get a draft from the rider ahead of you. Pacelines are discouraged at Ragbrai!
But even riding slowly, one rider ahead of you can shield you from the wind. If you are heading into the wind it makes a bigger difference! Just make sure you pay attention; ready to brake or swerve if there is a sudden move or stop. Don’t draft off someone you haven’t ridden with! Be careful! If you get in trouble I will disavow I suggested drafting.
There are probably other tricks or practices to make you faster, so I encourage others to post tips they know.
Stay safe!

This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by LawnchairMan.


LawnchairMan, August 12, 2021 at 11:33 pm

In my last post, I said, “it should almost climb back to the ten o’clock position”. Strike the word “back”.

I thought of another trick to speed your bike. If you have bladed spokes, make sure they are aligned properly.
Truing your wheels will also help. If your wheel is oval-shaped you will be doing mini up and downs that waste energy.

Of course, the big thing I would recommend is to ride a recumbent. Unless the route is really hilly, a recumbent two-wheeler is faster. That is why they are banned from most races. Not only faster, but more comfortable. At the end of a long ride, my muscles may be sore, but I don’t get saddle sores, and my neck and shoulders are not stiff. My hands or other body parts don’t “fall asleep”.

Going back to aerodynamics and drag, I recently mounted an airhorn on my bike. It has a refillable canister that straps to the bike frame. I will remove the horn when I get to Ragbrai because it sticks out from my handlebar to create a little drag. A while back I thought that my brakes were rubbing my wheel. It turned out that the air bottle was rubbing my chain. So make sure brakes or other parts don’t create unnecessary drag.

I hope you can use some of these suggestions longtimerider. Some may sound like basics, so I hope they don’t offend. I am aware of several basics, but I keep learning or re-learning things that I should have known.

This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by LawnchairMan.

This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by LawnchairMan.


Derek Eilderts, August 13, 2021 at 8:08 am

Wow. Not one but two long-winded posts that do nothing to address the fact that ISP closed a town before they were supposed to. Didn’t affect me because I’m an early riser that uses GP5000 tyres, LOL! But I sympathize with those that are not early risers and do their best riding in the PM. There’s more than one way to enjoy RAGBRAI.


LawnchairMan, August 13, 2021 at 12:31 pm

Yep, I didn’t address the ISP complaint, but the original post did mention getting to town on “fumes”. Just trying to help ease that issue if it is possible. I agree that the State Police should not close towns early, but if we can’t change them, we have to adjust what we can.


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