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“Moderate” Team or Charter?

I did a few RAGBRAIs 10+ years ago, moved to NC, had kids, turned 38, got vax, and am feeling a longing to return this year. Thing is, all of my experience was frugal bachelor vomit-in-a-ditch-style, whereas now I am more interested in riding and can appreciate “all inclusive”. I don’t want to wake up at 5am, but also can’t quite close the bars every night. I don’t want to average 25 or 12 mph. Who knows a team and/or charter (are charters “teams”?) somewhere in the middle? I don’t need full spa treatment, but I also don’t want to arrange every little shuttle/campground/equipment from a distance.

This topic was modified 2 years, 7 months ago by WIIANC. Reason: removed broken table

18 Replies

WIIANC, April 26, 2021 at 12:10 pm

Is there really no way to show a table on this forum? I can’t seem to embed imgur as HTML img or link even though there are buttons for that??


NYC Highwheeler, April 26, 2021 at 12:12 pm

Why not just go with baggage truck? I have done that three times, and it’s idea for my style of travel. You meet the nicest people, 50lbs of gear is transported for you every day, and you will always have a camping spot. You can basically do your own thing at night, and I’ve never had an issue getting my stuff on the truck by 8am. If you do what something more, you could probably arrange a night or two during the trip at a house or something like that. During the day, everyone on the ride is on your team, and friends are everywhere.


WIIANC, April 26, 2021 at 12:25 pm

I also enjoy the company of “regular folk”, but I think the standard bracelet means I have to pack/procure tent/bag/pillow, food/water/beer, and contract some other org(s) to shuttle to/from some airport, and maybe charger, shower, etc? I think i could spare a couple hundred extra for something closer to “turnkey”.


KenH, April 26, 2021 at 12:25 pm

Charters and teams are similar in many ways but I think there are technical differences between the two classes so not exactly the same. Teams can be more flexible than charters. I have mostly ridden with a small team that is a group of friends and we pretty much do things as we please because there are few enough of us that we can normally accommodate everyone. The larger a group becomes the harder that is so large teams and charters have more rules and schedules than we do.

I used a charter one year, ARGO-Riverbend Bicycle Club. They might fit your requirements nicely. They will take good care of you without constantly being in your face about this or that. You might have trouble sleeping much past 5am in any campground and theirs is no different. The noise level begins to rise pretty quickly after about 5:30. If you want all inclusive then Pork Belly Ventures can do just about everything you would want a charter to do for you. ARGO-Riverbend is much cheaper and a bit more DIY. Your choice, and there are several other good charters to choose from, see the list RAGBRAI maintains. Generally the more you pay the closer to full spa treatment you will get!

You won’t be forced to ride with anyone at any pace as far as I know. Perhaps some teams are more regimented but I think that in most cases you can ride alone, at the pace you prefer. If you want to ride in a small group then I think that you will have to make new friends when you arrive at your charter’s camp and find people you are comfortable riding with on your own. But it is entirely possible to ride on your own and never be lonely because there will always be gregarious people around you when you want them.


Rob Fuller, April 26, 2021 at 12:33 pm

The baggage truck is a good recommendation. Each evening and morning you’ll meet dozens of cyclists in a variety of styles and intensities. You may find just the right “team” or teams throughout the week. Nothing is catered but you have maximum freedom .


Joe Dorobek II, April 26, 2021 at 8:22 pm

Hi Rob, We are North Iowa Touring Club Charter. We are a small charter with riders from all over the US. We leave from and return to Mason City, Iowa. Our weeklong ride is $250. This includes bus transportation, baggage transport, charging station, and coolers of drinks (charitable donation). All of our campsites are in close proximity to showers. We have are varied age, experience, and speed set of riders. If you have any questions or are interested, you can contact us at NITC.RAGBRAI@gmail.com


WIIANC, April 27, 2021 at 9:09 pm

Thanks for the ideas. I found Pork Belly too convenient to pass up, but promise not to let the massages go to my head ; )


Anna628, April 30, 2021 at 5:13 am

I’m excited about PB too – I’m a newbie, and I want everything to be as easy as possible for my first time. Way too convenient to pass up! I’m hoping I move up on the wait list for tent setup… not my favorite thing to do. Out of curiosity, where in NC? We used to live in Winston Salem.


WIIANC, April 30, 2021 at 6:53 am

I’m in Cary (Raleigh (Triangle)). I thought a tent service that cost more than a new tent was a little excessive, but did think CIC’s assembly for ~$12/day looked more tempting.

I think one of the reasons baggers poo-poo pretentious princesses (as I’m becoming), is that I remember “full immersion” being important to really embracing the culture… As long as you strive for comfort/cleanliness/plans/electronics/normalcy, it is hard to fully embrace the exceptional beauty/community/freedom/oddity of the experience.


Anna628, April 30, 2021 at 9:03 am

Do you think PB is that separated from everything else? I’ve talked to Tammy from PB about details a few times and I feel confident that we’ll be pretty immersed in a lot of monkey business *except* we’ll also be showered and charged and a little fed and caffeinated and I may, if I’m lucky, I MAY not throw out my back putting together a tent after riding 80 miles – not so worried about missing out on that stuff, because it sounds like it happens in the middle of all the other stuff? Maybe I’m wrong? I do want a pretty real experience, but as I type that my husband’s laughter is ringing in my ears…


WIIANC, April 30, 2021 at 9:43 am

Dunno, never registered for bracelet or charter so my immersion comment was pure ideology. Some self-sustained people PERCEIVE “charter people” as being uptight, but I trust PB will provide us as much fun as we can handle, even if we miss out on some particularly harrowing dark alley experience. Perhaps the shower will liberate our decision to wrestle that pig knowing the KY-PBR-feces mix won’t be in the sleeping bag all week?


LawnchairMan, April 30, 2021 at 8:49 pm

Hi Anna628,
Isn’t your husband coming with you? It seems like he would be the one to pitch the tent at the end of your ride. Your back should be fine. I prefer to put up my own tent as I usually get in early and find shade to keep my tent cooler. I also enjoy meeting new neighbors each day. Well, each to their own. I hope you have a wonderful time!


Anna628, April 30, 2021 at 11:00 pm

He’s working that week, but is meeting me for the last day’s ride. I’ve only pitched a tent twice in my life… NOT great at it. We’ll see how it all shakes out!


Jim Kuhn, May 1, 2021 at 6:24 am

I have done 15 Ragbrais and have used OOS each time. Have great family that does a great job.


Zac Henderson, June 1, 2021 at 7:53 am

I saw this post about moderation, and laughed because it sounds a lot like me–minus the kids. I’m in Raleigh and my two friends who I’d convinced to register in 2020 bailed on me in 2021. That said, I’m probably gonna go the charter route too. I figure it’ll be easier to make friends that way. I’m leaning toward PBV as well because it seems to cover all the logistics and lets me use my Southwest points to fly in and out of Omaha.


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