RAGBRAI LI Registration is Now Open!

New girl from MD joining her cousin's group for a day or 2–help me?

Hello everyone,
I’m new to RAGBRAI–as if you couldn’t tell. My cousin did this last year, and as a result, more cousins are doing it this year and I couldn’t be left out. I’m going to do at least one day, maybe 2, I can’t do the entire week due to work and really, I’m not going to be able to ride that much in one week this soon into my bicycling life.

So, if I am going to be a part of his group to ride, how do I register? Is it with him? I will talk to him at some point before Sunday, but he’s a busy person so I was curious now and wanted to know where to begin.
How much is the cost for one day–or do you pay just one fee?
Sorry if this is redundant or silly. I just want to be part of this great RAGBRAI group–my dad died this summer and I want to ride this for him since he would be exceptionally proud of me.

38 Replies

Sara Eastman, November 17, 2015 at 7:42 pm

WOW. Thanks for all the information. I just read everything twice to make sure I didn’t miss anything!!

I signed up with my cousin’s group. Now I have to figure out the Pork Belly Ventures deal….I need to do some more looking into that whole deal.

So I’ve got this straight: you get up in the morning, ride the route, eat along the way etc, then mostly everyone camps, like, in tents (Sorry I’m not much of a camper but I CAN BE if I have to lol) or are there other options? I’ll re read this website because I’m sure I missed something. Sorry, I’m a ditz when it comes to this planning out a trip–I really never go anywhere and certainly haven’t done a bike ride in another state. If its not the local beach I know nothing. So forgive me for my stupidity!

When would someone like me who is new start “Training” or doing the serious riding? At least start now, then get through winter (Md winter isn’t so bad) and then start as soon as spring rolls around doing the longer rides?


Juan Medium Moose, November 17, 2015 at 8:49 pm

Ms. Sara,

Your questions are good. Look at all the wonderful conversation you started!

I would start training whenever it feels good to get out on the bike. Winter time, while you’re not likely to ride, is a good time to get the bike tuned up.

In 2014, I started riding short rides in April, building up to longer rides through May with a handful of 50-mile rides in June and July. I had 500 miles total before doing RAGBRAI, and I made it the whole way.

In 2015, I found that I was enjoying riding more, so I did a lot more training rides, and several of them were longer (I aimed for 100KM rides, which is about 62.5 miles, give or take). I had 1000 miles by the time I did RAGBRAI and had a much better time.

I chose my charter based entirely on the fact that it was the one my college alumni office uses. They have a “RAGBRAI in Style” option that puts you in a hotel room each night: Bikes to You

All of the charter services, as well as the other options, have their pros and cons. My experience with Bikes to You is that they’re smaller, the group is very friendly, and there’s good personalized service. One down side is that Kyle never seems to know how to find the best showers. They also provide shuttle service to/from the Des Moines airport.

Too many options.

Rule 1: Have fun!



Iceman, November 18, 2015 at 9:55 am

Sara, you can do three or four days with some training. Believe me, over the years I have seen many, many people who clearly did not train at all ride for all 7 days. I don’t suggest that but as you will hear many, many times – it’s not a race. Do a little training and you will be able to do the 4 day version without a problem.

As to the Pork Belly Venture deal, I’m not suggesting that they are the only/best outfitter to use, it’s just that if you fly all the way from Maryland then I’m thinking you’ll want to do at least three or four days and if (and you NEED to check with Tammy at PBV to make sure they will be doing it again in 2016) PBV does the half-hog deal again, that’s the outfitter that comes to mind that has logistical travel related support aimed specifically at a 3 or 4 day rider. If other outfitters do that as well, I’m sure this Forum will point that out. Also, PBV has its own SAG bus that you can sign up for each day if, for any reason, you just cannot do that day’s ride.

And two other things. (1) PBV can accommodate you with a rental tent (as can other outfitters) so that keeps you from having to buy a tent or put it up/take it down every evening and morning. (2) Also, PBV has a shipping service for your bike (essentially you fedex it to PBV and they will have it waiting for you at your first overnight camp spot and at the end, they ship it back to you). Trust me on this – never take your bike on an airplane. Ship it with either PBV or High Country. The airlines are more expensive, are more prone to bang up your bike, more prone to lose it, will not pay you adequately if they kill or lose your bike, and on and on. Keep reading this Forum. That topic will come up sooner or later as it does every year.


T. Gap Woo, November 18, 2015 at 1:01 pm

“Bicycle Bill”: I am there with you in spirit every day, in the sun that warms you in the morning as it burns away the newly-fallen dew, in the gentle winds that assist you on your way, in the softly-falling rain that cools your flushed and fevered brow, and in the moon and stars that look down on you at night as you rest your weary bodies. I am the person in front of you that you have been futilely chasing all day; I am the person alongside of you sharing a water bottle and some good conversation; I am the person on your wheel who is grateful for the chance to tuck in behind for a while. I am the little girl along the road offering to slap hands as you ride by; I am the young man in the pickup truck handing out $2.00 bottles of ice-cold Gatorade; I am the Amish wife who has spread out a bounteous smörgåsbord of fruits and home-baked goodies (OK, so ‘smörgåsbord’ isn’t Amish but you know where I’m going here); I am her husband who has brought a couple dozen hay bales out to the front yard to give you something to sit on while enjoying some shade and the food; and I am the retired couple sitting in their rockers on their front porch, waving until their arms get tired. I am the townspeople who welcome you into their communities; I am the volunteers who see that you find your way around; I am the firefighters, the EMTs, and the police who put in long hours to make sure that everything and everyone stays safe.I don’t need to be physically in Iowa on a bicycle in July, for wherever two or more of you are gathered in the name of RAGBRAI, I am already there.


That was, indeed, beautiful. I can picture Henry Fonda as Tom Joad in The Grapes of Wrath speaking those same sentiments.

Sara, see what you’re in for? You’ll have a wonderful time. One of the highlights of RAGBRAI is meeting all types of people, both riders and local Iowans.

I’ve ridden only the last 3 RAGBRAIs, with Mrs. Woo driving the support vehicle and arranging the overnight accommodations, so I cannot speak about charters. But if Mrs. Woo and I can figure out the logistics and still have a good time, then anyone can.

See you along the I-O-Way in July. Look for my TGAPWOO license plate and keep an ear out for my ooga horn!


Sandaltan ., November 19, 2015 at 8:28 pm

Beebs, you are incredibly eloquent today, I read your post twice and may revisit to further absorb the import.



Ken, November 20, 2015 at 9:24 am

Hi Sara,

Just a thought. You might like to do another ride prior to RAGBRAI that will get you accustomed to riding in a group etc. The link below is for the North Carolina Coastal ride that will take place in April. We did it last year and it was a blast. Similar to RAGBRAI except only three days and since each day was a loop you did not have to break camp each morning.




RustyC, November 21, 2015 at 3:11 pm

Last year was my first year, and I lucked into a group from the Pittsburgh area. The group had a pretty good routine, and they greatly eased the confusion I had about everything. Your cousin should be able to brief on their day to day routines, and then you figure how you fit in.


scootsup, November 25, 2015 at 10:52 am

If I can add my two cents, and it’s only worth that! I did my first RAGBRAI last year, but was only able to do the first three days due to some other committments I had later in the week. I too, was worried if I could “do it”. I did it, and loved every single second of it. My lone regret, that I didn’t blow of the prior committment and do the entire ride. I guarantee you that will not happen this coming year as I plan to do the whole thing. I went with a buddy, and we just pitched a tent each night (I hate camping as well, but this works – I guess one is so tired that you just need a place to fall down!), and it was smooth as silk. RAGRAI 2016 cannot get here soon enough, and I am also planning to do my homes states ride as well. Good luck!


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