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

Iceman, September 30, 2013 at 2:11 pm

Come on, TJ, you know that’s not an answer. That’s just a convenient excuse for not answering the question. I readily admit – not being from Iowa – that I’d like to go east to west just for the sake of variety. But if I were from, say, Guttenberg or Burlington, I’d absolutely leap at the chance to be the start town rather than the end town and you know that would be the fair thing to do. I’ve stayed in the ending towns before and I don’t believe for a minute that the financial impact of being a start town versus an ending town are the same. So, try it. Tell me that Davenport would turn you down – you know they would not? Once is fine just to see what happens. Run it from, say, Davenport or Dubuque to Council Bluffs. Both have lots of hotels and restaurants. What are you guys so afraid of?


Sandaltan ., September 30, 2013 at 2:20 pm

Grandfather RAGBRAI has spoken, he says “tradition” and he rules.



Michrider !!!, September 30, 2013 at 2:44 pm



rjjensenia, September 30, 2013 at 3:18 pm

Iceman, you are nothing if not persistent, but I think you are fighting a cause that has ZERO chance of success. It ain’t gonna happen, the fat lady has sung. Time to give it up. Keep pounding your head against the wall and all you will get is a headache.


trek15rider, September 30, 2013 at 5:35 pm

Iceman, you wanted TJ to respond on this forum and he has! Sure looks like the route will remain west to east. Persistence is an admirable quality but as much as you may disagree here it appears tradition is most likely going to trump persistence.


Davy Sprocket, September 30, 2013 at 9:24 pm


I say screw the east-west or west-east routes and let’s go circular. Honestly, who cares about the rivers? A circular route would give a north, south, east, west component to the ride and would incorporate town combinations not possible under the current format. The start town could be in the center of the state or far east or west. Hey, let’s do it in 2014.



“Bicycle Bill”, October 1, 2013 at 2:50 am

Davey Sprocket said:
“I say screw the east-west or west-east routes and let’s go circular. Honestly, who cares about the rivers? A circular route would give a north, south, east, west component to the ride and would incorporate town combinations not possible under the current format. The start town could be in the center of the state or far east or west. Hey, let’s do it in 2014.”

Careful, Davey — that’s liable to rouse the rabble and you’ll end up branded a troublemaker!!!



Davy Sprocket, October 1, 2013 at 7:20 am

Who me? Go Ahead,...make my day!


Iceman, October 1, 2013 at 7:35 am


I like your thinking on the subject.

It’s ashamed that one person dictates the preferences of thousands of people but you can see the response from TJ. My latest suggestion – put it to a vote. The DMR could easily use their email database and – without any lobbying or leading questions – poll the riders. Yes or no – would you like to go east to west ever? Once every 4 years?


Michrider !!!, October 1, 2013 at 8:42 am

The ride belongs to DMR. TJ is the ride Director. Sounds like we’re going West to East again this year!


jwsknk, October 1, 2013 at 8:47 am

yep, it’s their ride they can do it how they want. now if you want a Iowa loop ride, TransIowa 10 is coming in April. 300 +/- miles of gravel, 24 hr time limit. But only 120 riders.


Iceman, October 1, 2013 at 9:42 am

You say it belongs to the DMR but how many times have I heard “it belongs to the people of Iowa.” I’ve heard that used as justification for many different aspects of RAGBRAI including such things as city and county vendor fees, etc. And I suspect the DMR turns to TJ on all issues and says, “What’s your recommendation?” and he gives it and they follow it. So, until someone proves me wrong, I’m willing to bet that on most issues that it’s TJ – or whoever is the current ride director – that’s driving the bus. I’m sure there’s some issues – mostly legal – that DMR refers to others for opinions and decisions, but I’m relatively certain the direction of the ride is not one of them. Continuing to go west to east is nothing more than playing it safe. I’d like the variety of occasionally going East to West but I’m just a rider, and not even a rider from Iowa. But somewhere along the line I’d think the DMR would at least take the pulse of its riders and find out if they’d like to do that. Even more importantly, I still think the ending towns are getting the shaft economically in comparison to the starting towns in the west.


“Bicycle Bill”, October 1, 2013 at 1:41 pm

Ice – I’m sure you’re correct that the businesses in the start towns on the western side of Iowa do reap a financial windfall when we start in their city.  After all, we are there (in some cases) as early as Friday, all day Saturday, and the AM hours of Sunday.  So if the ride were to go east to west, did you ever stop to think that the towns in the west — especially the smaller ones like Haywarden, Onawa, Akron, Mo. Valley, and Sioux Center — realizing that they were at risk of losing their cash cow have also lobbied against the idea of going east-to-west?

And then there’s the possibility that some of the east-coast towns that we have finished in, like Guttenberg or Sabula or Bellevue or Lansing, might have come to the conclusion that it would be overwhelming to deal with the logistical problems of being a start point — finding places to put all of us, necessary services, dealing with the vehicular traffic for a two-day period, etc, etc.  They may have already told TJ and company that we can handle you for a few hours on a Sunday but if you ever go east-to-west and want to be there for a whole weekend then you could count them out.

Lots of nuances to consider besides just “Hey guys, let’s do something different!”.


ts, October 1, 2013 at 1:54 pm

iceman, in the course of this thread you’ve gone from amusing and thought-provoking to rude and boorish. You’ve called people who disagreed with you “narrow minded” and “flat earthers”. You’ve called TJ a dictator. You’ve categorically rejected 100% of opposing opinions while refusing to budge on any of yours. This is not the way to win friends and influence people. I don’t really have a horse in this race – I’d ride RAGBRAI wherever it went – but I think the contributors to this forum deserve more respect than you’ve shown.


TJ Juskiewicz, October 1, 2013 at 2:26 pm


Since you are not getting your way and not accepting that, I’ll jump in here one last time to clear up the many misperceptions that you throw out.

We do a survey each and every year of registered riders. We had over 5,000 people that responded to the survey. One of the questions asked was “What changes would you like to see us implement for RAGBRAI XLII?” Do you want to take a stab at how many of the 5,000 people even made a fleeting reference to changing directions of the ride? Yep, you guessed it. A big fat ZERO! Yes, we read them all and have implemented wise and necessary changes to the event as needed to insure the enjoyment and safety of our riders, not the whim of one.

In those surveys, emails and phone calls to our office, many riders made mention of the lack of free water on the last day (except for West Point). This is something that we will work diligently to improve for safety of our riders. We implore all towns to provide free water, but we need to do a better job of pushing towns to make it available in an obvious location.

We have reacted in the past when there was a lack of food vendors due to county restrictions. I remember Papa T telling me that we need to fix it after the Ida Grove to Audubon run with very few vendors. There was a problem and we did our best to work with the counties to help solve that problem.

You have this conspiracy theory of sorts of how bad the vendors have it. It was so nice to see how Oskaloosa gave back the vendor fees to all of the non-profits that set up for RAGBRAI to feed the masses. Just so you know, no one forced your beloved Mama’s not to return. It was their choice, plain and simple. I saw that Fair Trade Coffee returned this year, which is great. I see each morning an amazing choice of vendors to choose from each morning from Farm Boys, Breakfast Delights, Breakfast Guys and Gals, Chris Cakes and Dad’s Belgium Waffles to rattle off a few that are typically set up with the first 15 miles. I see so many vendors later in the day it is impossible to count. Do I love to see Iowa-based businesses doing well? You bet I do. They are employing hundreds of young Iowa kids to work hard that week of RAGBRAI. They are also helping our Iowa economy.

On your theory about feeling bad for the ending towns suffering financially, do you want to take a stab at which overnight town committee did the best financially? You probably wouldn’t believe it as you are just so convinced that the ending towns are “getting the shaft” as you put it.

Yes, we claim this event “belongs to the people of Iowa” because it does! From day one when Karras and Kaul and 144 others rode their bikes across Iowa in 1973 it is was to visit with the people and towns of Iowa. It is Iowans and those wonderful communities that make the event what it is and hopefully will continue to be.

Is the ride and event perfect? Of course not! But I will tell you this, you will never find a staff, crew, townspeople, volunteers, supporters, cycling enthusiasts, agencies and city, county and state officials that are more dedicated to doing everything possible to put on the BEST BICYCLE RIDE IN THE WORLD! You will never find a group that works harder to make the masses happy that they are spending a week in Iowa. I personally made a vow to my predecessors (Jim Green and the late Don Benson) that I will do everything I can to uphold the standards and traditions of this iconic Iowa event or die trying.

If that is not good enough for you maybe you need to lead the charge to replace me and our wonderful staff and crew (since in your words you are “ashamed” of my decisions). Or if that doesn’t work, there are plenty of good rides throughout the country to participate in that might offer you that bicycle ride that you are longing for.

Now, we need to get back to work putting together next summer’s event, RAGBRAI XLII.

In the words of an Iowa friend, “I’m out!”


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