RAGBRAI LI July 20 -27, 2024

Let the discussions begin! RAGBRAI XLIV – 2016 talks can commence

Sorry for the delay folks! Enjoy!

41 Replies

Stephen Paine, October 15, 2015 at 8:52 am

Last time I did gravel on 23’s (not by choice; middle of a route was torn up for repaving and could not turn back), I ruined two brand new tires. I don’t see how 25’s would fare much better.


“Bicycle Bill”, October 15, 2015 at 3:00 pm

Mootsman, the Root River Trail is one of those trails I was thinking about when I wrote about being paved ‘to highway standards’.  According to information I received when the trail first opened back in the 1980s, the asphalt on that trail is no less than eight inches thick … and it *HAS* held up to the harsh conditions of the Minnesota winters.

As for the metro trails in the Twin Cities, I’ve ridden my share of them over the years, and they seem to be holding up OK as well.  But does the repair and maintenance budget for them come out of public works monies — the same funding that would cover repairs to sidewalks and walkways within the parks system, for example — or do they have another separate source of funding?  I ask this because being located as they are in an urban environment they could probably be constructed to a lesser, i.e., cheaper standard because local funding would be more readily available for maintenance and repairs as needed.



mootsman, October 16, 2015 at 8:03 am


The maintenance budget depends on what government entity owns the trail. Some are city owned, some are county owned and some are state owned. They do maintain them well. Some are considered commuter routes and may even qualify for federal funds. The commuting routes are even plowed in the winter.

All seem to be well maintained. The Root river system had such a positive economic impact to the towns it connected that other towns in the area started clamoring to get connected to it, and did. It has expanded a bunch.

No doubt Iowa is tapping into the economics of bike trail systems as they are expanding theirs aggressively also. All paved. I’ve done those Wisconsin trails including the Elroy-Sparta both when it first opened and now. They haven’t even maintained the crushed limestone very well. Wisconsin should go paved as the border states have left them behind trail wise.

**1 month to RAGBRAI registration opening**


KenH, October 16, 2015 at 12:09 pm

Oh I know that you could do that gravel loop on 23’s and that people did. But judging from the survey results roughly 95 out of 100 people decided to skip the gravel rather than try it on 23s or, oh the humanity!, run on wider tires for the day. And I did not see anyone on 23s wandering all over the road looking for the more challenging bits like I did. And I don’t think anyone on 23s could have taken the gravel road I used to train on in central Illinois at any speed. It didn’t have any compressed tire tracks to ride in and even with tubeless tires you’d have risked damage to your rims if you rode it on 23s at the speed I rode it on 38s with 20-30 psi less than I use on the road. If they elect to include gravel loops in the future there is no guarantee that they would not be as bad as my training road and it would in fact be more in the spirit of the thing if they were!


mootsman, October 19, 2015 at 7:56 am

We need to start suggesting our favorite overnight towns from past RAGBRAIs to TJ. Keeping in mind this year we’re due for a southern route I’d like to add Red Oak, Ottumwa and Burlington (with a Snake Alley option) to the wish list….


RoyBoy, October 19, 2015 at 9:08 am

I hope the gravel loop option is kept in every year. The 2015 gravel loop was flat and fast. I averaged 18 mph running 32s at 65 psi on a steel bike. And I was passed by an older couple running 25s on carbon bikes.
If a hilly southern route does happen in 2016, a gravel loop will be much more of a challenge as gravel routes are always more hilly than the asphalt routes.
I’m up for it! Let’s do it!


KenH, October 19, 2015 at 3:57 pm

I pledge my support for any southern route that includes Ottumwa!! I don’t have enough RAGBRAI experience to have a list of favorite southern towns. The most southern route I have ridden was 2013’s and best as I can recall the towns we ran that year did a fine job so that is the best list of candidates that I could offer. We went a bit north out of Council Bluffs that year and passed through Des Moines so it wasn’t a pure southern route and of course we bypassed Ottumwa. I would suppose the first part of the route is out then and while I certainly have fond memories of Knoxville, Pella, and Oskaloosa they are in the third tier of counties north of the border and might not suit a southern purist. Or would they? Fairfield certainly did a fine job and should be on the short list of any route that goes to Burlington. I’d enjoy Mount Pleasant purely because I have a personal connection to it and the same for any town on US 34 really. Red Oak of course is one of those towns. I have neither good nor bad memories of the towns between Fairfield and Ft. Madison but in a way that is good because the last day towns in 2014 definitely impressed me as phoning it in, although some much more than others, so the fact that I don’t have that memory of 2013 would suggest that they are all good candidates and most work as well for a Burlington end point. Eh, start in Council Bluffs or some town farther south and consider the last two days of 2013 plus Ottumwa is the best I can do!


Thoreau, October 27, 2015 at 10:34 am

I’ve just started looking forward to the 2016 ride. When my work life starts to get too frantic, I think about Ragbrai and how I know that I am going back to Iowa in July to ride. I skipped the gravel loop last year, but wish I had tried it out (my friends said they had a great time on it) and hope there is a gravel loop in 2016. And I always hope for longer days rather than the short days we saw in 2014.

My team trains in and around San Francisco, so we are already getting in miles to get in shape for the 2016 ride.


Fatih21, October 27, 2015 at 11:06 pm

I know routing riders past the same route vendors twice has it’s upside but it does make that potion of the route extra crowded. Unlike the Karras loop we’re not looking for added miles to fill out a 100 mile day. How about no loop, just and alternate route forward on gravel?


mootsman, October 28, 2015 at 8:05 am

I did like 2015’s Karras loop that avoided all overlap with the main route. The lack of a part of the route that was ridden twice was nice.


mootsman, November 4, 2015 at 6:46 am


Are there hints about this year’s route contained in the logo like last year or was that a 1 time deal? Just so we don’t waste our time looking for clues that aren’t there.


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