My favorite charter, Pork Belly Ventures!

PBV sent out their invitation email today. Of course I registered right away! With the route announcement and PBV, I’m getting excited!!! PBV does an awesome job!!!! Maybe I should start training!

29 Replies

kellyfornia, January 31, 2012 at 11:43 pm

Can anybody provide a ballpark figure for PBV or the others????


Michrider !!!, February 1, 2012 at 6:30 am

kellyfornia said: Can anybody provide a ballpark figure for PBV or the others????

You can check out PBV at,


Tony, February 1, 2012 at 10:57 am

In general full service starts at $300 and goes up with options. Check with the charter services listed at.

Most of these cap the amount of riders they have and sell out quickly. QCBC full service starts at $160. As with all charters. You must have a RAGBRAI tag to use the service.


IdaGrovian, February 2, 2012 at 7:20 am

PBV itself was a pretty well run organization, but there are some things that should be taken into consideration. There will be some times when PBV will be pretty far away from the town and the site won’t be ideal. Last year in Carroll (I think that was the town) we were so far out of town that some riders missed the signs (4-5 miles before the town) and they rode into town and had to double back several miles to get back to camp. There were some places we were not anywhere close to the bus routes into town and we had very little bus service in some sites.  For every time we were by a nice lake there were other times when we were in an open field or parking lot with the only shade coming from the transport trailers!! They are all very friendly and they do take care of you – for instance dinners on the days when they are out of town. But, be prepared for some adversity if you’re going to really live like a pig – it’s Ragbrai after all!!!!


pmac, February 2, 2012 at 8:41 am

I agree that PBV has mostly pluses and a couple of minor minuses due to the size of the charter.  If you’re going alone or with just a couple of people you can count on them really taking care of you.  Because of the size of the group they can have things like their own shower trucks with unlimited showers and a mid-week laundry, which were really great.  I also liked the tent service.  While it seems a bit pricey at $400 on top of the charter fee, it was worth it to me last summer.  I did think the “free” beer was a bit overrated, but hey if you like what they are serving its a real plus.  If you don’t drink beer or don’t drink much, you’re paying for it anyway.

All in all you can’t go using PBV.  I haven’t used other charters, but my guess it that they all pretty good.  For the ones like PBV and QCBC who have been in business for years,  it seems like they all have it down to a science.


BillPierce, February 2, 2012 at 8:51 am

I have not traveled with Pork Belly Ventures (I’m part of another group with roots that go back to 1974), but I have watched PBV grow over the years and camped next to them on a couple of occasions when I talked to the organizers.

I suppose it was inevitable that something like this would arise, although I’m not sure the original RAGBRAI organizers envisioned it. Not everyone appreciates the more rustic, primitive aspects of RAGBRAI. There are those whose idea of a vacation includes air conditioned sleeping, maid service and long hot showers, and who don’t want to feel as if they are part of a refugee camp or Woodstock revival. Moreover, others don’t have a team or club and don’t want to feel left out or alone.

PBV does a pretty good job of accommodating some of these people. They can’t quite make RAGBRAI a luxury vacation at a posh resort, but their highest level options approach that in the context of a bike ride in Iowa. Yes, it’s a little on the expensive side (and I feel they are too coy about fully disclosing their pricing), but not wholly out of line with what you get for the money.

The PBV group is a large one, which has its advantages and drawbacks. The numbers allow them to provide a host of services not available to smaller groups, but it requires a lot of space to house this many people and all of the support vehicles and equipment. Sometimes this means camping rather far from the main part of town and other groups. It’s also not the most intimate of groups; you will still find smaller sub-groups among the PBVers, just as occurs with RAGBRAI itself.

If PBV sounds like what you think you are looking for in terms of the RAGBRAI experience, it’s worth investigating. The testimonials from satisfied PBV riders speak to its success. Those who have other priorities, especially the more “value oriented,” are likely to make different arrangements.


RonB, February 2, 2012 at 10:04 am

iceman said: I am somewhat puzzled at the comments about PBV…..

Say what? 
This thread was started about PBV, so wouldn’t you expect the comments to be in reference to them?  I don’t read anything very negative about them, mostly positive and as far as I can tell, quite accurate.

Most are just pointing out their pluses and minuses, and asking folks that are considering a charter to determinine their needs and choose accordingly:

Services range from high end PBV to low end Register baggage truck, with a bunch in the middle:
If you need or want “full service” and want to pay for it, PBV is the way to go.
If you want less than “full service” there are other options, all the way down to using the Register’s baggage handling service that is included in the fee.

I’m certainly not negative on PBV, just trying to explain to newbees that there are other options all along the price/performance line, TO INCLUDE BANDITS that don’t pay for shite.  There, I said the majic word, let ‘er rip !!!


Michrider !!!, February 2, 2012 at 11:07 am



“Bicycle Bill”, February 2, 2012 at 12:14 pm

BillPierce said: I’m part of another group with roots that go back to 1974

I know which group you are referring to, Bill, and always looked forward to each year’s shirts (especially loved the “Late Night with Team XXXXXX” one back in the late ’80s) — do they still exist, or do they only live on in the memories of some of us old-timers?



BillPierce, February 2, 2012 at 2:11 pm

I didn’t think I was dissing PBV, merely trying to provide a candid observation based on my perspective. After all, if they weren’t doing things right in the opinion of those who travel with them, they wouldn’t have experienced the growth and success they have.

I don’t love absolutely everything about RAGBRAI itself, either. I’m still mad at the organizers (and at myself for not following my instinct to pick another route) for the absolutely miserable, and avoidable, final miles into Davenport on Saturday last year. Yet I eagerly continue to make it the central experience of my summer. I’ve been riding every year since 1978, with the exception of 2007 when I was abroad.

BB, yes, we have had two versions of the “Late Night with Team Sprint” shirts, the first in 1989 and again in 2007. By the way, I would like to speak with you regarding a totally different subject related to an article I’m writing for which you may have some information. I have a phone number for you that I’ll try some evening if you don’t mind.


“Bicycle Bill”, February 2, 2012 at 2:36 pm

BillPierce said: 

BB, yes, we have had two versions of the “Late Night with Team Sprint” shirts, the first in 1989 and again in 2007. By the way, I would like to speak with you regarding a totally different subject related to an article I’m writing for which you may have some information. I have a phone number for you that I’ll try some evening if you don’t mind.

Probably better to try either mornings or weekends as I work second shift now.  On top of that, any number you have for me that is more than a year old is obsolete.  Wait until the PM feature comes back up, and I’ll contact you with a correct number.



Michrider !!!, June 26, 2012 at 5:49 am

In a mere 25 days, I’ll be climbing on a Pork Belly bus in Clinton, Iowa, just about this time in the morning!!!!!! I can’t wait!!!!


Iceman, June 26, 2012 at 1:06 pm

Mich – PM to you.


SFC JKL 2, April 16, 2020 at 11:34 pm

Another reason to love PBV (I thought this is what this thread was going to be at first)

CHI Health Immanuel (Omaha, NE)
April 9 at 1:28 PM ·
We continue to be AMAZED by the community’s support for our healthcare staff. Today, Pete and team with Pork Belly Ventures LLC delivered and set-up two of their PHAT trailers on the Immanuel hospital campus. These trailers are typically used for sleeping accommodations during RAGBRAI. Knowing that the hospital may have the need for on-site sleeping arrangements for staff while dealing with COVID-19, Pete so graciously donated the use of two of their PHAT trailers to Immanuel hospital. Each trailer has the capacity to sleep up to 20 people in 5 different units.
These trailers are amazing. Please check them out at
We are so grateful for Pete and his team’s generosity and hard work setting them up.


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