Registration is now closed for RAGBRAI XLIX. Transfers are now open!

Questions from a first time RAGBRAI rider…

Hi all,

I’m new to RAGBRAI. And, full disclosure, I’ve never even been to Iowa before. I’m a little anxious about trying something new, but I hear RAGBRAI is a blast. I’ve been cycling for about 12 years and I’ve done more MS 150s than I care to count. I’ve never done this long of an event and not stayed in hotels before, so this is all new to me. I’ve read through the FAQs and Blogs, but I’m finding everything to be a little overwhelming. Can any veteran riders offer any insight into some of the random questions I have so far? Thanks so much in advance for the help! Looking forward to a great ride!

1. I’m driving from Pittsburgh, PA to the ride. I’ve read about charters available for hire, but do they operate before the race? Ideally, I’d like to leave my car at the finish and charter to the start before the race begins. Also, it sounds like I have to wait to reach out to a charter to make arrangements until I find out if I got picked in the lottery? Is that right? Is there camping available the night before the race starts somewhere near the start?

2. So this lottery thing. It’s my understanding we find out on May 1 if we’re in. What happens if we don’t get in? Do we get a registration refund? I read about the split and birth of Iowa Ride…is it more likely to be accepted to RAGBRAI because of that?

3. I’m seeing posts about people making arrangements at campgrounds. Is that necessary? Each town does provide a designated camping area, right? Is there a reason people opt not to do that and go to their own campground?

4. On the note of camping, is it safe to camp in the designated area? All the races I’ve been to have been full of super awesome and friendly people. Is there any reason to be concerned about safety?

5. HOW DO I FIT ALL MY STUFF (camping gear included) IN ONE BAG?!?! I’m all for roughin’ it, but for real. I’m nervous about this.

6. Stupid question, but how do people charge their phones? Or do people bring their own power banks? I’m doing this alone, so I won’t have a personal SAG van or any sort of amenities to use. I don’t need to use my phone to meet up with people on the ride or anything, but I’d like to be able to use it to let people at home know I’m still alive :)

7. Back to the idea I’m doing this alone… can I do this alone? Like, do people do that? I’ve done MS150s alone and left with lots of new friends. I realize, though, this is much, much bigger than any MS150.

8. Anyone have any advice/tips/tricks/whatevers you’d like to share that you wish you’d had known before your first RAGBRAI?

Thank you all and I hope you have a great ride!

36 Replies

Andrew Berman, February 28, 2020 at 9:29 pm

Share away!


Andrew Berman, February 28, 2020 at 9:30 pm

Scott, I am here for you!


Scott Barber, February 28, 2020 at 9:40 pm

Hey thanks!! You’re a good sport Andrew. I elected to go with a charter service but just can’t wait this sounds like so much fun. Plenty of tune up rides before then but Ragbrai should be the highlight of summer. I even booked up a hotel and everything for the day before the Trek to the starting city. Great info…thanks.


Eric Strobel, February 28, 2020 at 10:14 pm

Oh my gosh…how do I determine bra size? LOL


Jose Medina, February 29, 2020 at 12:14 am

Lauren, In 30 years of Ragbrai ,I will try and get in about 600 miles before Ragbrai. I will do 15 to 20 mile days in the heat. After you ride stay out in the heat. Go wash your car, work out in the garden. Do not go back into air conditioning. Most people I have seen have trouble because of the heat and humidity, not the miles or hills. Every pass thru town will have food ,drink and entertainment usually 10 to 15 miles. Drink alot. One of the best kept secrets is chocolate milk. The line at Caseys seems longer every year for milk.One year there was a semi handing out free chocolate milk on the route Pickle juice is good too. For my bottom ,I use Desitin with zinc. I use Degree non marking under arm . It holds out better than anything else in the heat all day long. You will need a good sunscreen 30+.I carry a small travel size spray can with me. Sports bras seem to be the norm now a days. As I have mentioned in the past ,I wear Shimano 2 strap sandals with recessed cleats. I will never go back to a shoe again. Hope some of this helps you. See you at PBV.


Andrew Berman, February 29, 2020 at 3:36 pm

Eric, har-de-har-har. : )


Viewing 6 replies - 31 through 36 (of 36 total)

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