No Vendors outside of towns in first two counties

Here it is, all about the $’s. Discuss.

115 Replies

CharterOak DayOne, May 18, 2018 at 11:06 pm

Monona County still has the out-of-town vendor ban in place and I’m told they have no intention of lifting it because their towns are close enough together to not create a dangerous situation for riders. The Monona-Crawford County line is between Ute and Charter Oak, which are six, flat miles apart. After Charter Oak, you have twelve miles of hills to Denison. Charter Oak is the last pass-thru town on Day One.


mootsman, May 20, 2018 at 8:01 am

12 miles, no stops, no big deal. Time to adapt as all bicyclists do frequently. I’m sure all of us go a lot further then 12 miles at a crack. Let’s leave this thread in our rear view mirrors.

Thanks Monona County for hosting RAGBRAI!


“Bicycle Bill”, May 20, 2018 at 3:05 pm

“One rider even suggested sending a “Thank you” email to the board and let them read happy emails instead of the ones they read last weekend. The email we gave you for Crawford County was Eric is a nice guy…”
Email sent:

Thank you for hearing the voices of we part-time Iowans, the citizens of RAGBRAI, and for heeding our concerns and being open to modifying your original stance on vendors outside of incorporated areas within Crawford County. I’m a old RAGBRAI veteran (21x between 1978 and 1999), and while it’s been almost 20 years since my last trip across the state I keep hopes up that some year soon I will be able to return. The willingness of the Crawford County Board of Supervisors to reconsider this matter has me confident that reasonable people can and will work together to ensure that RAGBRAI will remain a reality in Iowa for years to come.


ppayne1959, May 21, 2018 at 8:29 am

This is what I sent to both

Please forgive my bluntness but your shortsightedness and greed WILL kill ragbrai. We don’t come from around the country because Iowa offers fantastic tourism opportunities. We come because two men had an ingenious idea of creating that from nothing and it was successful beyond their wildest dreams. It has benefited your state for decades as shown by your desire to become hosts. Now that you’ve won that chance your base need to grab every last penny possible is revealing of your character. Shame on you and your county, you have no respect for your state and the opportunity you’ve been given.

Sent from my iPhone


Andrew Lietzow, May 21, 2018 at 9:19 am

This Bulletin Review link is no longer working. Sorry, the page you’re looking for cannot be found.


Mark Keele, May 21, 2018 at 11:20 am

Does anyone recall a related problem when Perry didn’t allow outside food vendors? It resulted in the local restaurants not being able to handle the massive crowd and running out of food.


Andrew Lietzow, May 21, 2018 at 12:08 pm

(Sent 5/21, 11:46AM)
To the Monona County Board of Supervisors:

At face value, the intention of the (proposed) ordinance appears to promote a worthy cause, that is:
To Promote Commerce within the incorporated towns of Onawa, Soldier, Ute, and Moorhead (four among 10 in Monona County),
To Promote Biker Safety, by forcing congestion that might otherwise occur along routes which are unincorporated, perhaps ill-equipped to monitor and control two-wheel and pedestrian traffic,
To Provide ROI for in-town vendors, the vast majority of event sponsors. The register may have statistics on the average spend in each town, and what the unincorporated vendors may “steal away” from the formally established “host cities”. (While it may be a factor to consider, it should be way down on the priority list, in my opinion).
An Attempt to keep everyone happy, especially the squeaky wheels. (A failing undertaking, at best. At worst? Beware the “Law of Unintended Consequences”. (Witness the Des Moines Ordinance for “Time of Sale Restrictions on Transfers of Real Property” voted unanimously in favor by the City Council in 2017, three times, but struck down via Legislation at the State Capitol in 2018 in the form of HF2286. The General Assembly of Iowa thinks “BIG PICTURE” and you should, too!)
My executive summary of what is above, and below: Let free enterprise reign, and charge a minimum fee to git a permit (as little as $10 for kids), or modest but based on sales. This event has grown to be about the State of Iowa now, not about individual counties, towns, vendors or sponsors. It has grown to become the largest event of its type — in the WORLD! Isn’t that amazing? Please rescind the ordinance, if it has passed, or find an alternative that provides a better outcome. Focus on marketing your county and the towns and farms where riders we will be stopping.

Promote, Promote, Promote your county. Make this a time to remember for those who are riding through Monona County. Many have never been there, and most will not pass that way again. Give them some awesome memories!


mootsman, May 21, 2018 at 12:28 pm

Monona didn’t ban rural food vendors to favor in-town vendors. They are not trying to get rid of outside vendors either. Read TJ’s blog on the subject. They were concerned with rider safety both in terms of the terrain and food safety. So let’s stop the rumor mill whether you agree with the county’s concerns or not.

RAGBRAI is a great fun event. No need to fret. It’ll still be a great time. And THANKS Monona County, from the other 99.99% of us!


ppayne1959, May 21, 2018 at 12:51 pm


Explain the unsafe conditions?


mootsman, May 21, 2018 at 1:02 pm

That’s what the CB said. And they know the area. And promoting in town vendors does not exclude other vendors. I usually see Tom’s Turkey in pass through towns each day. Even though Tom’s is from another town. Nothing that will eventually take down RAGBRAI to worry about.


Andrew Lietzow, May 21, 2018 at 1:45 pm

mootsman — “12 miles, no stops, no big deal.” & “I’m sure all of us go a lot further then 12 miles at a crack.” Are you crazy? :-) Last year was my first RAGBRAI. I was 65 at the time, and rode all 431 miles, including KL. You may think I am kidding, but these little roadside vendors were my saving grace over and over again. You can run out of water, you know. And, if there are no vendors in unincorporated regions of Monona County, what could happen is a lot more dehydrated, nauseous, even heat stroke prone people along the way are going to be at risk. Maybe even this old duffer. Talk about a safety concern … what if it’s hot this year, unlike last year? Put this in my rear view mirror? I’d sooner boycott the County! How totally selfish of the Board of Commissioners! They’re recommending the cops dismantle mom & pop roadside water vendors? You think 99.99% of us agree with that, mootsman? Seriously???


ppayne1959, May 21, 2018 at 2:09 pm

I’m not buying rider safety. I really dislike when anyone plays the safety card to defend another agenda. That is chicken. I don’t know what the rules are about who gets to set up in town but I do know that the county tax laws last year caused Fair Trade Coffee to locate way into the route. Hurt their traffic as it is typically a morning stop. If I recall it also eliminated one of the craft beer tents. I stand by me previous assessment.


RDaryl Daryl, May 21, 2018 at 2:12 pm

As a guest to these towns and counties, I sincerely appreciate their hospitality, not demand it.
I doubt the ordinance is aimed at the “residential” lemon-aid or cookie stand set out by a family.
Along RAGBRAI, I try to always be prepared and not depend on others for food or water requirements for any biking stretch of 30 miles or less. The day I cannot sustain myself as such, I will withdraw from such activity and take on another more appropriate activity.


Jeremy Olsen, May 21, 2018 at 2:57 pm

My primary question is this: How is this fair to everybody involved? Why are the rural folks not able to participate in the profiteering from all of the cyclist coming through? Why is their offering being devalued and decided by the few of these small towns?

We wonder why our rural communities are drying up and this is an opportunity for those of us who live outside the state, get to lavish our thanks in the form of commerce. You provide the hospitality, and the riders provide the money and also determine what is hospitable.

I, for one, prefer the farm houses on the side of the road and try to get away from the hustle. It’s that experience that makes this ride so unique and you are tinkering with it’s success. Good luck to ever getting the ride to come back if this follows through.


Jeremy Olsen, May 21, 2018 at 3:07 pm

I don’t buy the safety argument either. Since when are they so special in terms of terrain? I’ve ridden 10 of the last 20 and am from the state. There is nothing special about these two counties roads. The mother hen approach from these lawmakers is what is sickening and makes me wonder what the backstory is.


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