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Iowa's Ride could be a different vibe

I hope this takes a break from the DMR/King drama, and avoids the “TJ is a good guy vs TJ is a monster” debate. This is me just pondering what the ride vibe will be for Iowa’s Ride, and how it could be unique from RAGBRAI. I already know what the RAGBRAI vibe is like. I like it a lot otherwise I wouldn’t be posting here. But there are also elements of the overall vibe that I personally don’t care for. A few of my dislikes include:

* Charters with big, militaryish encampments (won’t name names). I know they have their loyal fan-bases, and they are great for many folks but they don’t appeal to me. It feels like a gated community…sort of part of a community, but really not part.
* Larger organized teams/clubs that ride and socialize only with each other. Many may like that, but I just don’t care for that vibe.
* Traditions for the sake of traditions. Beaded roadkill is one such tradition that doesn’t float my boat. I don’t get the appeal of rotting animal corpses. They make me sad, smell horrible and would prefer that they be removed from the road.
* Some of the heavily hyped vendors (won’t name names here either) serve food that to my taste borders on institutional. Not worth a 45 minute wait when I can buy from a smaller local vendor and have the same quality.
* I love my beer, but the whole craft beer tent thing feels a little forced and corporate to me. Can’t put my finger on it, but it doesn’t really feel RAGBRAI to me.

Like I said, the pros outweigh the cons otherwise I wouldn’t be a repeat rider who looks forward to it every year. But each year I ride it, RAGBRAI feels a little less like a close-knit rolling community, and a little more like something else that I can’t quite define but doesn’t feel right. I’ve been feeling this way for awhile now. Maybe others have too. So I’m willing to give Iowa’s Ride a shot. Some things will be the same regardless…the nice people from Iowa and the pure enjoyment of pedaling across the state and unplugging from my day-to-day life for a week. But I am assuming that Iowa’s Ride will take on it’s own unique vibe right from the start. I might end up hating the vibe, but I might love it. We shall see.

2 Replies

Sandaltan ., October 19, 2019 at 10:06 am

I love a northern route…not so much the southern routes. Iowa’s Ride could be a step back in time…hopefully I will never again see a poo pyramid in the morning. I am really interested to see where the members of the “RAGBRAI Crew” show up. You know…..those couple dozen guys and gals in blue shirts that have volunteered for years, even decades, to do the unsung tasks that we riders take for granted.



BarryTantlinger, October 19, 2019 at 11:18 am

Wow, you don’t like a lot of things about Ragbrai.

Is beaded roadkill even a thing? I’m not sure I remember even seeing any roadkill.

Ragbrai, as has often been said, is what you make it. We charter (PBV) because it makes the logistics of coming half way across the country easier; I have my favorites of the well-known vendors I’m sure to stop at at least once, but like to eat with the locals if possible; the craft beer tent is great, though the lines are too long.

If your’re doing something that doesn’t make you happy, stop doing it – kind of a personal motto. (Just because you started watching Game of Thrones doesn’t mean you have to finish it). But this Ragbrai/IR split is going irreparably damage the world’s largest rolling county fair, which I why I come to Iowa.


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