RAGBRAI XLIX registration is now open!


When I look at the Google map for Lansing IA, it looks like there is one 2 lane bridge. Sounds like getting out of town might be a problem. Anyone have info?

75 Replies

prince page, January 24, 2017 at 9:04 pm

wow, 2 lane bridge uh.!! well let’s buy some wings for our bikes!! ha ha!! ya’ll i am sure the ragbrai folks have it figured out. i hope sp anyway for everybodys sake!!


mootsman, January 25, 2017 at 7:01 am

As far as a hotel the Friday night before RAGBRAI, look north only 33 miles to La Crosse Wisconsin. Its a 45 minute drive to Lansing from there before considering any traffic jams in Lansing. Cross the river at either of the two La Crosse bridges instead of the one in Lansing to avoid traffic. Its a great place to spend a night in also. I really like eating at “Buzzard Billy’s” downtown. Same chain as the one downtown Des Moines. And if your looking for a beer or 2, downtown’s Bodega Brew Pub is Great. And up on Granddad bluff the Alpine Inn is a long time UW La Crosse favorite.

For flights, La Crosse is big enough for a regional airport. So probably the best spot to fly out of for those flying from RAGBRAI.


Sandaltan ., January 25, 2017 at 12:31 pm

LaCrosse is a great beer drinker’s town and the Alpine is a fine stop on the way up to Grandads Bluff. That was years ago for me of course but the memory is clear.



“Bicycle Bill”, January 25, 2017 at 3:59 pm

And of course it’s the hometown of yours truly.


brewmeister.us, January 25, 2017 at 8:36 pm

If one’s “stuff” including bike magically landed in La Crosse, what are logistics of riding to Lansing before ride (to catch team bus) and back to La Crosse after ride?

Distance seems reasonable. Crazy? Has to be safer than riding on the road in Florida…



“Bicycle Bill”, January 25, 2017 at 11:53 pm

We’re talking a piece of cake here.  Should be able to go one-way from La Crosse to Lansing, even loaded, in three hours or so easily.

In fact, our bike club used to host a metric century ride from La Crosse to New Albin from 1977 thru 2000 which we billed as “The World’s Laziest Bike Tour” (with an optional 20-mile add-on, if desired, to take one to Lansing and back).  We called it this because you’re on a good, two-lane paved road with a 3-foot paved shoulder/bike lane and it was as flat as riding on a pool table; in fact, the largest hill one had to climb was the ramp to the main channel bridge across the Mississippi as one left and returned to La Crosse!!



jwsknk, January 26, 2017 at 7:44 am

we used to hold the Tri-State ride there, Start at the brewery in Lacrosse Wisc. (worlds largest six-pack9?)). Stop at the Sand Bar Bar in Minnesota and the bar in New Albin. As BB said an easy ride. And now hasn’t the open steel deck bridge been replaced? Nothing like looking straight down into the river.


“Bicycle Bill”, January 26, 2017 at 5:35 pm

Nope, skunky, it’s still the open grid deck.  Maybe you were thinking of the Main Channel bridge in La Crosse?  When it was refurbed in the 1980s they did it with an open-grid deck but put the grates in upside down … so they had to weld a couple hundred thousand little steel studs to the decking to improve traction for the cars.  Then the guy who built a hotel under the bridge pitched a bitch about the noise, so after about 15 years of this they finally ended up pouring concrete and paving it like it used to be.

The Sand Bar at Brownsville is long gone but the Shellhorn (south of Brownsville) has been remodeled and re-opened, and the guy who ran the bar in New Albin just off the town square has sold it to someone else, but with those couple of exceptions things are more or less as you remember it.  The “Six-pack” is still there, although instead of being painted to represent cans of Heileman’s “Old Style” they now wear plastic wrap-around sleeves (the world’s largest can koozies?) so that they resemble cans of City Brewery’s “La Crosse Lager” beer.


mootsman, January 26, 2017 at 6:45 pm


I’ve ridden the Tri-State and the Killer Hill. We talking the La Crosse Wheelmen then which I thought disbanded years ago. I miss the KH. Last I (tried) riding it the sheriff showed up and told the LAX-wheelmen not to do it because of storm damage. We went anyway despite it being officially cancelled and no issues.


“Bicycle Bill”, January 26, 2017 at 9:07 pm

Mootsman, I was the one of the guys the deputy was talking to that time.  Part of what he had to say made sense; they were already spread thin clearing debris and downed trees, and restoring power and telephone lines from the previous night’s storms and if they had needed to get an ambulance or other sort of emergency response out on the route because of an accident or something they would not have been able to respond in a timely manner.  As it turned out they were over-reacting, but since it was necessary to get their OK in order obtain parade permits from the county each time we held these events — and any pushback on our part would have probably had repercussions further on down the road — they had us between the proverbial rock and a hard place.  We weren’t pleased about it to say the least, and it was I who actually made the decision to “officially” cancel the event at the behest of the sheriff’s department but (since the roads were technically still open) to allow those people who wanted to ride it anyway to go ahead — with the full understanding that there would be no support from the organization along the route itself (the rest stop at the top of the hill, for example, or a sagwagon) and that they were assuming any and all risks themselves.  For the record, all the people I spoke to who did ride experienced no issues or problems and came back with stories similar to your own.   

And the Wheelmen actually did disband around 2001 (our last event was the 2000 Oktoberfest 100).  To put it bluntly, it just stopped being enjoyable.  We had too few people to put in the necessary time and work to put on the three events every year and make sure everything ran smoothly.  I still hear from people like yourself who miss the events, and they do live on as self-guided mapped routes published about ten years ago in a La Crosse County bicycling guide.



CyclingCyclone, January 27, 2017 at 8:45 am

I for one miss the Oktoberfest 100 put on by the La Crosee Wheelmen. I only rode it three times, but it became one of my favorite centuries. I still have the old route maps, and have thought about riding it solo or with friends. I was living in Ames at the time so getting to ride hills was fun. HH outside of Bangor (i think) was quite a climb.


“Bicycle Bill”, January 28, 2017 at 12:27 am

That’s actually on county highway II at about the 75-80 mile point.  It’s not all that bad as far as hills in the area go (I can, off the top of my head, think of at least three tougher ones in terms of elevation gain or grade), but since you’re hitting it so late in the course some people don’t have a lot of gas left in the tank and have a very hard time of it.



LawnchairMan, January 28, 2017 at 8:08 pm

The only way I come close to the 44.8 miles on the way to Lansing is as follows. From Waukon South onto the 76, North onto X32 though Waterville, and on to A52. Take that East to X42 and go South to Harpers Ferry. Then pick up the Great River Road X52 to Lansing. I get 42 miles this way, so there may be some extra miles getting out of Waukon. This means that we would come into Lansing on X52.


mootsman, January 29, 2017 at 6:00 am

Coming down the Wisconsin side I get 33.5 miles. The Minnesota side is 39 miles. At least according to google maps (on 26). The Minnesota side if I recall is more ride-able (less traffic) and the side the Tri-State Metric Century took to New Albin. Hwt 35 I think had a narrow paved shoulder but BB would know the current state of the road. The Lansing Bridge though sounds like it should be avoided by bike.

As far as driving, the Minnesota side avoids the narrow bridge and is estimated at 49 minutes.


“Bicycle Bill”, January 29, 2017 at 10:03 am

Definitely would recommend the Minnesota/Iowa side (highway 26) if planning to cycle to/from Lansing to La Crosse.  Road conditions are in fact comparable — both sides now have a roughly three-foot striped-off section of pavement; not a bike lane per se but usable as such — and there’s a few more places to stop if you want food, drink, or a bathroom break (or a booty bar!) on the Wisconsin side, but the traffic on Wisconsin 35 is definitely heavier, especially at the start and end of the working day as a lot of people commute into La Crosse along that route, and generally traveling at a higher speed than on highway 26.



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