RAGBRAI LI Route Announced on Jan. 27!

Map Errors?

I think have found some inaccuracies in the daily route maps for this year’s Ragbrai. I assume these maps are just to give us the idea of the route with all the bugs worked out later.
On Days Three and Four we will be riding near Emmetsburg on road B55. What is labeled as D55 is just another part of B55.
Day Five is missing the label for road B35 or 245th street. This is as we leave Mason City and it connects Kentucky and Thrush streets.
On Day Seven the Yellow River Road does the ENE heading section after Postville. This joins X 16 at a T intersection. X 16 goes mostly North and is labeled I76 on the Ragbrai map. We are only on 76 for about half a mile before we turn onto 9 which takes us into Waukon. Finally, we finish the ride on x 52 or the Great River Road which is not shown.
I know we have lots of time yet to verify the maps, but I don’t want others to be wondering about them as I was. Let me know if what I pointed out is confusing or if I have made a mistake. I’m just getting the fever.

26 Replies

David, April 9, 2022 at 8:20 am

It is a nice gravel route as well. A bit of flex for people that want to try gravel but not commit to the entire day. A tiny bit sad it is shorter.


LawnchairMan, April 10, 2022 at 11:36 am

I have found more route surprises on Day Three.
Cummings road is posted as road 10. We are on 10 for a mile. 10 and county road C26 don’t meet so be sure to turn into Havelock just past the big grain silos.
When we get close to Rolfe we turn right onto 290 which is posted as N65. It looks like the main drag in Rolfe is about a half-mile down just before the rail tracks.
We come out of Rolfe on 15 and stay on it until we get to B55. So 15 takes us through West Bend.
I can’t find an official C12 anywhere between Rolfe and West Bend.


Uncle Kraig, April 10, 2022 at 1:41 pm

Unless your the first one out, there will be no surprises. Just follow the thousands in front of you and then the thousands behind will follow you, etc, etc. It all works out splendidly. And to be fair, I think the final “official” route wont be out till July after the pre-ride is complete. I remember in 2018 they changed the route maybe a few days before the ride because of some major flooding near the Ledges. It always works out, one way or the other.


LawnchairMan, April 11, 2022 at 2:16 pm

I started this thread because I was surprised that some of the road labels seem to be incorrect. My purpose is threefold: Let Ragbrai planners know there are corrections to be made, let those who do lead know, and let followers know when not to follow. If not the lead rider, I have been early enough to be riding by myself. I think the Ragbrai signs are hard to see, so I like to study the maps to know when a turn is coming. I understand that route changes could happen before July 24th, but what we are given now should be accurate. I worry that if there are errors in these maps, then there could be errors in the final maps.


Joseph Schlau, April 11, 2022 at 5:43 pm

The Ragbrai map has certain road labels as indicated. What source are you comparing the route with?

Agree with UC, the initial route as published is tweaked when the final maps come out. A group called Geobike used to provide mapping info in conjunction with Ragbrai. They would publish GPS files shortly after the initial route came out. When the final maps appeared in early July, I would go back into my map editing software and verify the initial route with the final route. Often there were a few minor changes. To a majority of riders, this went unnoticed.

This year as well I put the route into the mapping software and will update as soon as the final version hits the newsstand.


LawnchairMan, April 11, 2022 at 7:00 pm

Originally I use Google Maps, but I have found several errors with them too. That is the only place I could see a label of C12 between Rolfe and West Bend. I do rely on Google Map street views if they are clear enough to read the county or state road signs. The street view of the place Google labeled C12 showed a county signpost that said C20. To confirm I use Iowa DOT maps.
Could you tell me which mapping software you use? I would like something with accurate grades. Thanks.

This reply was modified 1 year, 10 months ago by LawnchairMan.


Joseph Schlau, April 11, 2022 at 9:33 pm

I was going to suggest the DOT maps. The more detailed ones by county. I also use an Iowa Atlas & Gazetteer by DeLorme, paper copy.

My GPS mapping program is Ride With GPS. Good detail on road types and elevation profiles. RWGPS has a number of maps you can use. The route stays but only the map overlay changes.

Another thing I have seen is every Google Map has the current year as the copyright date. Google Earth has the year the image was photographed. Sometimes there is a big change between satellite view and street level view.


LawnchairMan, April 12, 2022 at 2:51 am

I hadn’t thought of using paper maps. I have some old road atlases around somewhere.
I too use Ride With GPS, but I get 4 or 5% higher grades on my Garmin, so it scares me when I see a 7% grade. Does it seem accurate to you? Perhaps I’m not using the program correctly.

This reply was modified 1 year, 10 months ago by LawnchairMan.


Joseph Schlau, April 12, 2022 at 4:36 pm

Ride with GPS provides a detailed explanation on the ways elevation (and resulting grade) is calculated. I found the answer in the help section HOME/SUPPORT / GRADE AND ELEVATION

Essentially the grades you see on a planned route are based off mapping measurements taken from space. The grade number you see on your Garmin is based on GPS or altimeter sensor depending on the Garmin unit. Since there are so many variables with the Garmin, I tend to rely on the grade figures on a RWGPS planned route.

This is the online source for county maps I use along with the atlas



cannontandem, April 15, 2022 at 1:38 pm

To make matters worse there is a bridge that is to be replaced between Wesley and Britt on Wednesday’s route just before county road R26. It isn’t suppose to be done until September.


LawnchairMan, April 16, 2022 at 1:32 am

Thank you for your link to the Iowa DOT maps, and especially the explanation of grade calculations. This gives me more respect for the hills of Day One and Seven. Ride with Gps says Day Seven has a 7.3 % grade. Ottumwa also has a 7 % grade that we did a few years back. My Garmin said it was 12 %. I did that, but it was tough. Since then I went from a triple to a double on my recumbent and lost range on both ends. I will be switching to a larger cassette to regain some of my granny leverage. I hope it will be enough. At least now I know the kind of hills to train on. Thanks!

Thank you too, for the update on the 225 bridge. That’s a bummer. I was planning to fly on that route. This should slow me by adding at least two turns on the detour unless we forgo 225 entirely. At least I’m forewarned.


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