My pitch for East to West route

This is part of my post on another thread. I hope we go to Guttenberg since, realistically, I don’t think we’ll ever see Lansing again as an end town.

I still would like to go all the way to Lansing but I hold little hope of that ever happening. And that’s ashamed – the end town always gets, it seems to me, less of an economic benefit than the start town does (which – I think – is the best reason for alternating West to East and the next year East to West).

People could take their time getting into a small, start town on the Mississippi. Some enterprising charter services could make some money running shuttles from the airports in Chicago, Milwaukee, Davenport, etc. Still, I think the DMR will not go to Lansing as it is tiny. But they should consider STARTING in Guttenberg and going WEST.

65 Replies

Dan in Iowa, September 10, 2013 at 12:21 pm

I have absolutely no reason for wanting an east to west route except that it would be fun to mix it up a bit!! (how’s that for illogical reasoning!) I’ve espoused this idea for several years. I’d never thought of the sun in your face concept, but I don’t think that would really matter. Hot is hot. Most of us finish before it’s “in our face” anyway. It’s always on top of me even when I get in at 5 like I did coming into Perry this year. I’ve always heard the prevailing wind idea as a reason not to do it, but the last 2 years, the wind hasn’t obeyed the rules anyway.

It would be fun. Maybe just to shake it up for RAGBRAI L.


Michrider !!!, September 11, 2013 at 9:16 am

If we head from East to West, I wonder how that will affect my Kurb forecast?????


Iceman, September 11, 2013 at 10:21 am

Fair to ditzy with periodic bouts of incoherent behavior – Mich.


trknight, September 14, 2013 at 9:10 am

Aren’t the prevailing winds in Iowa more west to east than east to west? This year it seemed like we had more tail winds and very few head winds. More head winds encourage forming more pace lines which, for this ride, becomes a nuisance and safety issue.

Isn’t one of the reasons RAGBRAI goes west to east is to take advantage of the prevailing wind direction? I’m not opposed to an east to west route, per se, but I think the masses would be opposed if there is a higher probability of head wind.

Riding into the sun in the morning doesn’t bother me on RAGBRAI since it’s pretty much all cyclists going the same direction with no vehicle traffic behind us. Now, going out on a training ride by myself is different. I’ve seen too many incidents of cyclists killed (from vehicles/drivers blinded by the sun) riding by themselves into a rising or setting sun.

However, for the “curb” forecast, I don’t think the ride direction matters. Either way works!!


jake d, September 14, 2013 at 2:27 pm

The whole prevailing wind thing really only applies to the Jet Stream, not what happens on the ground. Ride enough RAGBRAI’s and you’ll swear the wind is in your face more often than not.

The problem is that when it is really blasting, 25-30-35+, its usually from a westerly direction. SSW when its hot, NNW when it’s cooler. We’re talking Saggy Thursday type of wind. A couple of days like that would do in most riders.


knees36, September 19, 2013 at 9:06 pm

Here a suggestion:
Sunday~Prairie Du Chien, Wisc./Marquette to Decorah
Monday~Decorah to Osage
Tuesday~Osage to Hampton
Wednesday~Hampton to Eagle Grove
Thursday~Eagle Grove to Emmetsburg
Friday~Emmetsburg to Sheldon
Saturday~Sheldon to Hawarden

So, whatch’ya think?


Michrider !!!, September 20, 2013 at 6:42 am

I’m betting my money on another West-East route but I’ve been wrong before! We’ll all know on January 25, 2014, at the RAGBRAI Route Announcement Party!!!!!


Iceman, September 24, 2013 at 12:56 pm

I spoke recently to a business owner who spoke with “a DMR official who shall go unnamed” (his description) at a conference. Quoted DMR as saying “there’s not a chance in hell we’ll ever go east to west.” Hope that’s wrong. It’s so narrow minded on so many levels.


Michrider !!!, September 25, 2013 at 5:27 am

If we ride West to East, I’d have to drive to the West coast of Iowa, in order to have my car available at the end of ride. I’m OK with the current format & PBV’s bus ride across Iowa! Iceman, sounds like RAGBRAI has no intention of changing the format!!!


Iceman, September 27, 2013 at 9:04 am

I see from his response in one of the other threads that TJ is reading the forum.

TJ, would you please tell me why the ride has never gone from east to west? And please, “tradition” is not enough of a reason to justify going west to east 100% of the time. I really think it’s unfair to the towns on the Mississippi to never get the chance to be the start town. Plus, I think the novelty of going to the west from the east would be a nice treat for the veterans.


“Bicycle Bill”, September 27, 2013 at 1:19 pm

We ride RAGBRAI from west to east for four very good reasons:
1)  Prevailing winds (both at jetstream level as well as surface winds) in the USA generally blow from west to east.
2)  The “sun in one’s face later in the day” thing.  All due respect to Jake D, but not everyone is busting their butt trying to get to the overnight town ASAP.  Many of us do tend to poke along and dawdle in order to see what there is to see in the pass-through towns.
3)  There are more cities and towns on the east side of the state located right along the river to facilitate the traditional ride-ending tire dipping in the Mississippi.  In comparison, look to see how many times the ride has started from towns located a good distance from either the Missouri or Big Sioux Rivers (Missouri Valley, Rock Rapids, or Sioux Center, just to name a couple of them).   If we did RAGBRAI XXXIII in reverse and ended instead of starting in Le Mars just how many people do you think would ever get anywhere close to the Big Sioux River?
4)  And of course, the one no one wants to acknowledge — “It’s traditional” or “We’ve always done it that way.”  Since when is changing something merely for the sake of changing it automatically going to be an improvement?  Look at the Kentucky Derby, for example, or the Indianapolis 500.  They’ve run the Derby every year since 1875, and the Indy 500 97 times since 1911, and the race has always gone counter-clockwise on the track.  But you don’t see/hear USAC, the IRL, or the Jockey Club whining about running any of these races in the opposite direction.

If you want to go east to west across Iowa, there’s nobody stopping you.  Or maybe you can contact the other big newspaper in Iowa (the CR Gazette) and see if they’d be willing to start and put on a ride of this magnitude just so you can find fault with it.



Iceman, September 27, 2013 at 2:03 pm


I’m not buying any of that.
(1) I’ve ridden into many headwinds on RAGBRAI.
(2) If you are worried about the sun in your face, get some sunglasses and sunscreen.
(3) Regarding the number of cities for tire dipping, you don’t have to go from east to west exactly 50% of the time – do it, say, 1 of every 5 years.
(4) As to tradition and RAGBRAI’s comparison to horse/auto races – well, we have heard it a million times. It’s a ride, not a race. The tradition is Iowa and if the DMR is going to be true to its stated goals – it’s for the benefit OF ALL THE FOLKS IN IOWA. All you folks in the flat earth society need to show a little more empathy with the eastern towns.


Michrider !!!, September 27, 2013 at 2:43 pm

Iceman, you or anyone else can contact TJ!!! Anyone can find his email info by clicking on the “contact” tab on the top of this page!!!


Iceman, September 27, 2013 at 5:55 pm

No Mich – no emails directly to TJ. I want an answer in a public forum.


TJ Juskiewicz, September 30, 2013 at 10:05 am

Iceman – I’ll indulge you.

I called up John Karras and asked him did you ever consider going east to west? He said, “No”

Any reason I asked? “Tradition” was his answer.

Good enough for Karras, good enough for me.


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