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New to RAGBRAI…looking for Ohio riders to join up with

I’m interested in riding in RAGBRAI 2020 and hoping to find anyone else riding from Ohio. Also I would appreciate and and all suggestions/information anyone cares to provide as this will be my first time doing RAGBRAI. Thanks. Scott

15 Replies

KenH, October 6, 2019 at 5:54 pm

This is the dead period on this forum, the interregnum between one year and the next. You can get an answer to any question at any time but when this place heats up again next January and especially as spring rolls around you will get more answers more quickly!

I don’t think most newbies have much trouble learning the ropes so don’t fret over it. You can do RAGBRAI on the cheap by letting the Register truck haul your gear for the week. You’ll tent camp in the general campground and meet new friends, probably every night. You can pay the big bucks to travel with one of the premium charters and you’ll be pampered every night and you’ll get to know a consistent set of new friends. Other charters, clubs, and teams offer prices and amenities between those extremes. A team can be as small as three people to qualify for a support vehicle pass so it’s feasible to form you own with a couple of friends.

If you don’t have a support vehicle you can park your car in the end town for the week and catch a shuttle from one of the charters for you and your gear to the start town. Charters will post details about all their services early next year and some may have details about this year’s ride still online to get an idea about what’s offered at what price.

Give some thought to how you’d like to camp for the week and then ask specific questions related to that option. If ther are other details you have specific questions about ask them. The few of us who hang here year round will try to answer them.


Uncle Kraig, October 6, 2019 at 8:35 pm

I grew up in NE Ohio (Ashtabula County) but now call Des Moines home. I’ve ridden RAGBRAI 4 times now and would be more than willing to help a fellow Buckeye with any questions you may have. Feel free to shoot me a private message if you’d like as well. All I can say is you will have the time of your life. It is unlike any other ride you have ever done. Welcome!


Nico ZZZ, October 7, 2019 at 7:51 am

Hola Scott!

I’ve ridden five RAGBRAIs out of the last six years, and plan on doing them year after year. I have used a charter company every year, Pork Belly Ventures. Whether you use them, another charter, a team, basic RAGBRAI truck style, etc, PBV has some great info for any newbie: “VIRGIN” is the proper term for RAGBRAI newbies. Their website is pkbelly. This forum will indeed give you an avalanche of info as RAGBRAI nears, because as KenH mentioned, this is the quiet time on this forum. But you can dig around through the forum archive here to find every question imaginable answered: camping, showers, food, water, training, etc.
PBV has a good packing list on their website, and you can find more in the forum here.
Training is all over this website. So many variables: your age, your own fitness outside of cycling, your weight, etc. I am hitting 60 this year, always need to lose 10 pounds (harumph), workout outside of cycling, and ride about 500 miles from January until RAGBRAI. I live in FL so I ride all year round. Used to humidity but no hill training, so those “mountains of Iowa” are my most difficult part of the ride.
Camping depends on what you want to do. I go with PBV because I don’t own a tent and don’t want to, so I pay for tent service. BTW, hotels are mostly out of the question, as they book immediately, and we stay overnight in small small towns.
Riding alone? No you aren’t! New friends all around you, the great thing about RAGBRAI.
Food and beverage is not an issue, as the pass through towns have a party waiting for you about every 10-15 miles each day. But you need cash. No price gouging on RAGBRAI, $1-2 for water/Gatorade, but most towns have free water at a fire hydrant or two on the edge of town. Burgers, sandwiches, tacos are $3-6 depending. We like to frequent the town restaurants when possible.
PBV has the best hot showers, not sure about showers for the rest of the RAGBRAI world.
In every town you will find bev/food and bike mechanics with darn near everything you need. I had a minor bike flip accident and bent my derailleur in 2014, gave a mechanic a $20 bill to fix in the next town (I was able to ride but with limited gears until the repair).
No one locks their bike (for the most part). In every town you have to walk your bike through town as it is so busy. You just set down your bike in a grassy area, or lean against a building/fence, and get a root beer float, and maybe take a nap under a maple in the town square. Grab a beer at the volunteer firemen’s beer garden and chat with those at the table. Awesome!
This last year I spent more time stopping at every local kid’s stand I could. I bought a lot of $5 (free will donation) waters, lemonades and Gatorade to fund school trips, college funds and city park jungle gym repairs and got to talk to kids about their travel or college plans. Sat in an Adirondack sipping on a lemonade while a 93 year old woman told me the history of her lovely town. I visited an underground railroad museum and sat on the porch while someone played the banjo.
I go to work five days a week but think about RAGBRAI seven days a week…it is a magical week in the corn! Welcome to the madness.


SFC JKL 2, October 7, 2019 at 6:15 pm

Welcome. Without knowing anything, I’ll give you my normal virgin advice. It’s a ride, not a race. The biggest rookie mistake is riding too fast. Not speed, but not stopping to look around. Where most rides avoid civilization like the plague, Ragbrai goes from town to town. Stop, walk around, talk to people, and see what they have to offer. The lasting things you will remember will be something you find unexpectedly or off the beaten path. You have all day to get to the overnight town. There is no prize for coming in first (unless your goal is to maximize your book reading time).


Scott Hagy, October 7, 2019 at 11:05 pm

Good evening. As for PBV, what is the typical price for the week long service? At what point can you expect to find out the actual route with start/ end towns? Also, is the lottery something to worry about not being selected for? Thanks again for your responses



jwsknk, October 8, 2019 at 7:45 am

By the first week of Feb the overnight towns will be out. full route not until months later. As for the lottery, chancers are no problem getting drawn. If by somehow you don’t, there are always people looking to sell theirs, right up until the ride starts. The route is officially open 6am-6pm. Meaning that when the sag wagons start and end, along with the other services such as highway patrol, repair shops, FOOD on route. Each town has a closing time, based on 10 mph from the ending town. So a town 20 miles out would close at 4:00


Nico ZZZ, October 8, 2019 at 8:50 am

PBV has prices listed on their “Invitation” page. It is all modular: shuttles from a couple of different cities to the start town, shuttles from the end town back usually to Des Moines and Omaha, bike shipping, tent service, etc. They also respond to e-mails fast as lightning.
If you should not get your RAGBRAI registration in on time, their are at least 100 people selling their registration in the months leading up to July start. I sold mine one year due to pre-ride injury.
There will be a Route Announcement party in FEb that will livestream on the internet. The Start, End and Overnight towns will be announced. Later they will announce the specific daily routes that will include the Pass-Through towns. Later, perhaps in May or June, T.J. and his team will ride the route for a week, each day reporting on the website suggestions for food, sites to see, etc. The build up after the route announcement party is wonderful, as you (hopefully) are training harder, getting your packing list together, picking up a few random things for your camping and cycling.
Some random bullet points:
– as mentioned before, it is a ride, take it easy and smell the roses
– the more you train, the easier the ride, so you can spend more time smelling those roses
– everyone over-packs the first year. Everything you need for cycling is available in nearly every town. Pack quick dry clothes so you can pack less.
– The ride is a bunch of 10-15 mile rides, broken up by towns that will feed you, entertain you, and provide you tons of pie, ice cream, pork, tacos, steak sandwiches, beer, water…everything. Every town is a town festival atmosphere. People will cheer you, and kids will high five you. Truly a magical experience.
– Riders from all over the world are at RAGBRAI; I met over a dozen Colombians riding this year (I wore Colombian cycling jerseys). Get to chatting with your fellow riders, chat with your waitstaff and bartenders in all the towns, stop and have a lemonade and chat with the family that is out there roadside.
-RAGBRAI is immersing yourself in conversation in camp, on the bike and in the towns.

Obvious I could go on forever about RAGBRAI, but being at work, I suppose I better close this page and get some work done!
Ride On!


HillsAngels1, October 9, 2019 at 8:53 am

Team Hills Angels is from the Cincinnati area I PM you with my info


Roy Trent, October 17, 2019 at 8:22 pm

Hello Scott,
My wife & I live in the Powell Ohio area (just north of Columbus beltway) and have ridden RAGBRAI each of the last 3 years. We have a small group here in Powell that ride together on weekends. If you are close by and are interested in joining us just send me your e-mail address and I will add you to the contact list. Most people in our group are over 50 so we are not necessarily melting the pavement when we ride but we move along OK. Our typical ride is between 30 and 60 miles and usually average about 16-17 mph as a mixed group. Sometimes we are a little faster when just the guys are riding. No one gets dropped and we have many routes with minimal traffic.

Now, regarding RAGBRAI, you will be fine as long as you are at least a good recreational rider. There are plenty of places to rest and refresh on each day’s route. You will need to put in some training miles and keep your “soft tissue” in shape but very few people struggle from the actual physical requirements. I usually ride about 3000 miles each year and have been way over trained for RAGBRAI each year. I think if you get 1000 good miles in before RAGBRAI you will be fine. As we get closer July you will see posts where people only get in a few hundred miles in for training. Two years ago we took a new rider with us and she did just fine on the ride. Her biggest struggle was dealing with the logistics of RAGBRAI. She just could not understand why she had to go pick up her bag from the truck and then ride and carry that bag to her host housing location after riding 65 miles. She didn’t understand why there was not a taxi available for her. 3 years ago, on the north route, we were able to stay with relatives a few nights and in host housing the remaining nights. 2 years ago we tent camped 1 night and had 2 hotel nights and host housing the remainder. Last year, we used a pop-up camper with AC and were able to stay in nearby state park campgrounds. Our son transported the camper from site to site. We have lucked out the last 3 years with very good weather. I am not interested in tenting in excessive heat all week and trying to ride hard each day. We usually start early in the morning to avoid the heat of the day. We spend some time in the pass thru towns by pre-selecting what we are willing to trade time for to see. But, you will need to decide for yourself how long you want to be out in the sun each day. Physically, I find I am great for 4 or 5 days but some fatigue will set in on the last days if I don’t take care of myself during the first part of the week.

If you are close to Powell and want to ride with us, send me your contact info. If you have other specific RAGBRAI questions you can reply to this post or contact me directly.



Scott Hagy, October 23, 2019 at 7:17 pm


Thanks for your email. What are your teams plans for the 2020 ride, given all that has transpired over the last several weeks? I’m not sure what my plans are as of right now. I live near Cleveland and am interested in participating in the ride or the Iowa Ride. Let me know what you think since you have participated in this ride previously. Thanks and have a good night. Scott


Scott Hagy, October 23, 2019 at 7:21 pm

Thanks for your email. Given all that has transpired with RAGBRAI in the last couple weeks, what do you anticipate happening with the ride this year. Do you expect many people to stay with RAGBRAI or leave for the Iowa Ride? What plans do you have for riding in 2020? Thanks.



Sandaltan ., October 23, 2019 at 7:43 pm

Scott: No need to do anything until both routes are announced. Unless you are PBV fan and then you are going RAGBRAI…if you are a Bubba’s Papmpered Peddlers fan you are going IR. Until then enjoy the fall weather and get in a last ride or two until winter.



Sandaltan ., October 23, 2019 at 7:44 pm

Scott: No need to do anything until both routes are announced. Unless you are PBV fan and then you are going RAGBRAI…if you are a Bubba’s Papmpered Peddlers fan you are going IR. Until then enjoy the fall weather and get in a last ride or two until winter.



KenH, October 24, 2019 at 8:46 am

I will be on RAGBRAI this year and every year for as long as it continues and I am able. I will never be on IR unless it is changed so that it does not compete with RAGBRAI and that starting in 2020.

Simple as that.


Roy Trent, October 25, 2019 at 7:26 pm

As of now, we are planning on doing RAGBRAI in lieu of IR. I don’t get too caught up in the politics and personal feelings of people associated with the recent news. My wife didn’t like some of the aspects of the IR announcement and the fact that it is scheduled for the same week. I look at it a bit more pragmatically. I just figured it was easier for TJ sine all the planning was already underway. I am not opposed to doing a new ride but I let them get a year or two under their belt to get the bugs out before I join in.
Currently, our group is just my wife & I but we have some friends that are considering going along.
Maybe this Spring we can get together for some rides. I have a small group here that rides together most weekends. I use ZWIFT during the winter. You can find me simply as Roy Trent- Col Ohio. I am also on Ride With GPS, Map My Ride and Strava.


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