Newbie Practical Questions

I’m riding for the first time this year, and would appreciate your insight and advice! I’m bringing my own tent, sleeping bag, etc.
1) Do you keep your bike outside your tent when you’re not riding, or are they all kept in a central spot (seems more practical)?
2) What is a typical schedule? About what time do you get up, pack up, start riding, eat breakfast, shower, go to bed?
3) How much cash should I bring, and where is the best place to keep it?
4) How far are showers/bands/festivities typically from the campground, and do you ride your bike to get there, or are there shuttles?

Any help is much appreciated!

12 Replies

Ryan Kaiser, June 12, 2016 at 10:49 am

Welcome! I would assume you are using the RAGBRAI truck to transport your gear?

I myself am part of a team, and travel with them

1) Most keep their bikes outside their tents. There is no central location for bikes in the main campgrounds.

2) I personally like to have everything packed up and leave no later than 7am, I like to eat breakfast in one of the first pass through towns. Shower when I arrive at the overnight town, and go to bed whenever I get tired 😉

3) Cash, I plan for around $40 per day and carry in a Ziploc bag in my jersey pocket.(I usually carry $10’s and $5’s)

4) There are shuttle buses typically in every overnight town, most everything is within walking distance

Hope that helps you. Definitely do your research on the forums here as there is TONS of great info from many veteran riders. Find what works best for you and your needs. Happy Riding!!

#1153669

“Bicycle Bill”, June 12, 2016 at 11:12 am

Wanted to add to Ryan’s remarks about shuttle buses — there is generally some sort of shuttle available; however I have seen occasions where it is cram-jammed full and you need to wait for the next shuttle … which is ALSO cram-jammed full, and so on and so on.  And some communities will not let you board the shuttle unless you have the Register wristband or a button/pin/wristband that the host community sells to defray some of the cost of the shuttle(s).  It’s probably a good idea to leave yourself open to riding your bike to the showers or the food/entertainment areas rather than relying solely on the shuttles.

As for what time to get up, a lot will depend on what time you sacked out the night before.  As the saying goes, you can’t soar with the eagles first thing in the morning if you were out hooting with the owls all night.  But generally people are moving around — taking down their tents, hitting the KYBOs, maybe topping off their bike tires, and getting an early-AM breakfast — as soon as it’s light enough to see by.  I’ve seen people on the road already as early as 5:30 AM, and the campground is usually completely empty (with the exception of a few stragglers and the non-riding support people/drivers/etc) by 9:00 AM.

-“BB”-

#1153719

Nico ZZZ, June 12, 2016 at 2:31 pm

I found myself waking by 4:45am without an alarm, due to light and excellent sleep on my air mattress, and stirring of others in tents around me. On the road by 6:30-7am.
Have breakfast in the first pass through town where all the breakfast vendors are. Of course reward yourself every morning with a good healthy blast of vitamin C with a mimosa or Bloody Mary – must always think of your vitamins and supplements!!!
Bike is left outside the tent. Bring a cheap shower cap to cover your seat so it is protected from overnight moisture, and dry for you in the morning.
For my money, ID, and credit/debit cards I carry them in a lanyard with a zipper pouch inside my jersey when I ride (seems uncomfortable but it is comfortable knowing it is right there!) Cash is the way to go of course, and maybe $40 will cover you just fine.
Showers are best after the ride, not in the a.m.
Shuttles to the festivities.
Ragbrai is defined by you. Honestly. You can enjoy this ride as a non-drinker, vegetarian, mad-drinker, meat-eater, god-fearing or heathen, and everything in-between. I am a moderate drinker and big lover of all things pork, leaning toward heathen, so I think I may be part of the plurality of Ragbrai. = )
Read all the blogs, check out Pork Belly Ventures website for the list of what to bring (a great resource). Everyone on this website brings something to the table, and they all helped my enjoy the heck out of Ragbrai 2014. Ragbrai can so easily become a Beautiful Addiction. I am addicted.
Ride On!

#1153767

Nico ZZZ, June 12, 2016 at 2:36 pm

I found myself waking by 4:45am without an alarm, due to light and excellent sleep on my air mattress, and stirring of others in tents around me. On the road by 6:30-7am.
BTW, not sure what part of the country (or what country!) you are from. Iowa nights start hot (bring a “disposable” bedsheet) and then can get darn cold at night, so at 2am (never checked the clock!) you sleepy-eyed slide into your sleeping bag. Nights are very wet with condensation, so if you make a nighttime trip to the KYBO, have footwear ready for the wet grass. Have an identifying marker (glowstick, flag of your fave team or state) on your tent, and have a “miner’s flashlight for your trip, as it gets awfully dark in Iowa small towns at night. Pack accordingly.
Have breakfast in the first pass through town where all the breakfast vendors are. Of course reward yourself every morning with a good healthy blast of vitamin C with a mimosa or Bloody Mary – must always think of your vitamins and supplements!!!
Bike is left outside the tent. Bring a cheap shower cap to cover your seat so it is protected from overnight moisture, and dry for you in the morning.
For my money, ID, and credit/debit cards I carry them in a lanyard with a zipper pouch inside my jersey when I ride (seems uncomfortable but it is comfortable knowing it is right there!) Cash is the way to go of course, and maybe $40 will cover you just fine.
Showers are best after the ride, not in the a.m.
Shuttles to the festivities.
Ragbrai is defined by you. Honestly. You can enjoy this ride as a non-drinker, vegetarian, mad-drinker, meat-eater, god-fearing or heathen, and everything in-between. I am a moderate drinker and big lover of all things pork, leaning toward heathen, so I think I may be part of the plurality of Ragbrai. = )
Read all the blogs, check out Pork Belly Ventures website for the list of what to bring (a great resource). Everyone on this website brings something to the table, and they all helped my enjoy the heck out of Ragbrai 2014. Ragbrai can so easily become a Beautiful Addiction. I am addicted.

Ride On!

#1153768

SFC JKL 2, June 12, 2016 at 9:54 pm

1. I have never kept my bike in a tent. Find yourself a cheap lock if it gives you peace of mind.
2. I have an extreme internal clock, so I’ll wake up at 5:30 no matter what happens the day before. We normally help pack up then gt on the road somewhere between 7-8. Eat breakfast in the first town or at Farm Boys so I can get a Diet Coke. Bed at 11 unless I go see the band. Always take at least 1 nap during the week (I am getting old…)
3. We drink alot so I always take at least $100 for the day and a credit card just in case. Doesn’t mean I spend it, but I have it.
4. Depends on how the town is set up. Most have shuttles and you can always ride your bike(have lights).

#1153794

Sandaltan ., June 12, 2016 at 10:11 pm

I don’t ride the shuttle. I have a head light, tail light and find riding my bike much faster than most shuttle operations. Cram-jam is right and everyone talking or yelling at once on the shuttle is quite unpleasant.

RIDE RIGHT

#1153797

navychief01, July 7, 2016 at 3:41 pm

I’m kind of late to this party, but here goes. RAGBRAI is exactly what you want it to be. Some nights I go see the band and eat where all the vendors are. Some nights I don’t. Last year in Eldora, we stayed at a state park, so our team showered after the ride that day and drove over to Marshalltown and found an awesome Mexican place to eat. We also weren’t the only large RAGBRAI group in there. I go to bed when I feel like. In the morning, I sleep until I’m not sleepy, and then get on the bike. I’m not a breakfast person so even though I leave around 830-9, I ride fast and don’t stop for food until around lunchtime, and even that’s a very light meal. IOW, don’t worry about what works for others per se, just have fun and relax. We keep our bikes nearby. I can assure you that central bike locations would be a disaster. It would take until 11 to get everyone out in the morning, and I guarantee someone would mistake your bike for theirs. I’ve never taken a shuttle, but I’ll bet a bike is quicker. Good luck.

#1160371

skogerson, July 12, 2016 at 10:18 am

Clearly the answer to this and all questions is to join a team. Team Hee Haw, specifically. We are a diverse group of fun-loving of people. Your stuff will always be waiting for you at the end. We have most of our overnights set up. You can be as much with the group, or as little that you like. But the more the better….

And we take care of our virgins…Seriously, we want you to have fun, but we also want our virgins to learn the landscape….

I tried the charter one year (similar to RAGBRAI) and my bags sat out in the rain. On our bus, we use totes. Your stuff is protected from the elements and getting it on/off the bus in the morning is super easy. We don’t have an automatic, set loadtime, it just evolves by working with each other.

Load/unload in Clive, so your ride to the start is taken care of.

Yeah, we are a bunch of assess, but you’ll have that. email me skogerson.m@gmail.com if you want more info…

#1161499

Juan Medium Moose, July 12, 2016 at 11:38 am

Bike Parking: I like to turn my bike upside-down and rest it on the handlebars overnight. It seems more stable that way. I bring a small pile of Handi-Wipes and wipe down the seat and handlebars in the morning. Works for me.

I could be remembering some other ride, bit I think I have seen some charters set up a rope so that riders can “hang” their bikes in a central location. That seems to work for a smaller group, but it gets a little crazy when there are thousands of riders.

Shower: My typical order of operations is: ride => set up my tent => shower => eat => sleep => pack up => ride. Again, it works for me.

Breakfast: Last year was my second RAGBRAI, and I discovered a little secret. Find a good old-fashioned breakfast place in the overnight town, and have your breakfast there on your way out. It won’t be too crowded, because most riders wait until they’re on the road or in the first pass-through town before they eat. You’ll catch up, because the other riders will stop for breakfast too. That said, I also really like some of the food stands that set up along the way.

Schedule: I think others have said it better already. It’s your ride! 🙂

Cash: I usually get by on less than $30 a day, without cheating myself out of all of the fun. Much depends on what you like to eat…and drink. I’m not a drinker, and that makes a big difference in the budget. I have a small water resistant pouch-type wallet I got at a sporting goods store. It keeps my cash and cards protected and fits in a jersey pocket.

Showers: The Mad Shower Hunt is one of the great traditions of RAGBRAI. I’ve done two RAGBRAI’s now and it seemed harder to find or get to the showers last year than the year before. I recommend bringing a small pack-towel with you. They ran out of towels at a couple of places last year.

I’m a fan of Joe’s Wet Shack, but sometimes the towns will open up the showers at the high school or the swimming pool or something. Prices vary from free to several dollars. It’s always worth it. I am always grateful for the shower at the end of the ride, even that time there was only cold water and no towels.

Shuttles: If available, these will take you to and from the festivities. Again, they’re sometimes free and sometimes cost a little.

Have fun!

#1161513

RoyBoy, July 12, 2016 at 3:00 pm

In some towns there will be showers with no hot water. Having the ice cold water come out at full blast is very shocking. But if you can set the water to come out at a trickle, it changes to the experience to bearable.

Good luck and have fun.

#1161537

Ken Askew, July 13, 2016 at 12:53 pm

Bring a credit card with you in case of mechanical issues. The bike mechanics will do a lot of things for free or on the cheap, but any emergency replacement parts need to be paid for. You may be surprised what can break at the least opportune moment. Waiting for the shuttle because of a mechanical can be long and lonely.

#1161725

Jack in VA, July 13, 2016 at 10:36 pm

Re: bike repairs; I forgot to pack my credit card one day last year and only had about $40.00 cash with me. I suffered a pretty bad mechanical breakdown on the route. Fortunately, I was able to find one of the shops to take care of the repair; I explained my $$$ situation to the tech, and he told me to come see them in the overnight town to take care of paying them- which I did. I won’t guarantee that every repair crew will go this far, but for Gods sake, if one should do that for you, make sure you go find them when you get in to the overnight town and pay them.

#1161829

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