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Ragbrai boycott

What happened to the discussion about boycotting Iowa due to Steve King’s remarks? Was that whole thread deleted? I know there was a lot of name calling, but the initial statement / question was completely civil.

I was really looking forward to another great ride across Iowa this year, but the more I thought about it I realized that if I participated I would condone congressman King’s bigoted attitudes. Iowans say that King is only one person, but if other Iowans didn’t share his views, then he wouldn’t have been elected. I hope that a loss of revenue in King’s district will inspire his defeat in the next election.

I look forward to riding Ragbrai in the future, either on a route not in King’s district, or when he is replaced.

90 Replies

mootsman, April 18, 2017 at 7:10 am

LawnchairMan (Scott), Is your whole team (Gnarley with 25 members) boycotting also? Just wondering how you know the 500 people you say are not going on RAGBRAI because of this rep’s comment.


KenH, April 18, 2017 at 9:03 am

Life is a complex thing and when elections don’t go the way we hoped or thought they should go we look for answers to the question why. I’ve seen all kinds of answers to the questions that have been asked about our recent national election and since they are meant to explain my behavior in many cases I can tell you that in those cases they are all wrong, dead wrong. They are far too simple to explain my behavior or anyone else’s. If you want to know why people did what they did you have to talk to them. Boycotting them won’t tell you anything. Going to them, talking to them, will help you understand them and will help you to understand how your position could be modified to accommodate their legitimate needs and perhaps attract their votes next time. Your boycott just tells them that you don’t understand them and don’t care to devote any effort to helping them.

The innate complexity of life even allows for the possibility that the quickest way to change them might be to go to them, spend some money among them, and thereby help to improve their economic outlook and that may in fact be their biggest concern. Addressing that might easily change their votes next time. No guarantees, life gives none.

If “more than 500 families” have decided to boycott all things Iowa this year, how many really will? How many were really intending to go to Iowa, deep in the heart of “flyover country” in the first place? And isn’t the very existence of the term “flyover country” one of many cultural factors that drive the discontent that results in votes like the one you detest? Do you want to feed that discontent further, or help? I suspect that out of every 500 people who say they are boycotting Iowa this year it is mostly just you that really does it. Out of every 500 people who said they would leave this country if the vote last fall turned out the way it did basically none of them did so.

You need to come to Iowa this summer and ride this ride with the rest of us. The people of Iowa will learn from us and we will learn from them. Our money will help them to do a great deal of good. Good that will lift their spirits and make them feel more generous in the next election down the road. We will all be changed for the better. Plus, there’s pie! Many, many glorious pies, ice cream churned on site, pork chops, lemon slushies, and fabulous home cooked church dinners lovingly prepared by people who, in many cases, think just like you. Your presence will encourage them to keep fighting the good fight. Your absence will make them feel isolated, discouraged, hopeless.

Come to Iowa. It’s the right thing to do!!


Luv 2 Ski, April 19, 2017 at 10:43 am

I will be in Iowa this summer with the other 9,499 riders supporting all the local economies.

Let’s put this tread to rest.


stuckinmizzou, April 19, 2017 at 11:23 am

Thanks, George A!


Carl Anderson, April 19, 2017 at 5:45 pm

Iowa politics are only for Iowa only. If you want to be involved in politics then go to your own state leaders with bills to make cycling safe in all 50 states and even go national. Quite frankly I would like to see more laws concerning cycling go national. I am a amateur cyclist, but when I retire I would like to cycling out to the pacific ocean then back to the Atlantic, but it would be nice if we had a cycling trail interstate systems . I am from Iowa and specifically North Central Iowa, two types of people I dislike is people that text while driving and cyclist that think the rules of the road do not pertain to them. Now enough of my rant. I love all kinds of pie so I will not be to picky.


Papa T, April 20, 2017 at 8:18 am

Living in a democacy means sometimes people you dont agree with will hold political power. DUH!! Suck it up buttecup!


mrwonderful, April 20, 2017 at 11:07 am

Down with rhubarb!!


Brian Wallenburg, April 20, 2017 at 7:00 pm

All this fruit pie talk is making me hungry for pecan with ice cream!


Carl Anderson, April 20, 2017 at 7:22 pm

I agree with the ice cream and the pie


LawnchairMan, April 20, 2017 at 11:55 pm


Here is a rough breakdown of my typical expenses:

Registration 175
charter 385
massages 150
in-Iowa gas 100
ten days food in Iowa 400
souvenirs 200
bike repair / supplies 30
camping fee 15
tip to charter crew 100
Muscatine melons / corn
to bring home 55
dry ice 35

sub total 1649
subtract half of charter
that goes out of state 193

Total 1452

Of course this varies quite a bit. One year I had to buy a $200 wheel. Last year I had to buy window cleaner for a car window that got strange goop on it. Oh yeah, I bought a cooler to keep the water melon. There are all sorts of incidentals.

I also spend $450 in gas coming from Vegas, and a couple of hotel stays on the way to/from Iowa, so it does get close to $2500 give or take.

As for contributing to King’s opponent, I will send some, but not $2500. I will probably use the money on a different vacation.

I couldn’t find the report of 500 people boycotting again, but found this:


Shawna Lode, manager of the Iowa Tourism Office, said officials there have heard from hundreds of people through phone calls, emails and social media posts stating they are changing their vacation plans in the coming spring and summer months.

Ken H,

You have a lot of great ideas, and I would love to talk to the people of Iowa about King and other topics if I didn’t spend anything while in King’s district. I don’t want my money contributing to his opinions.

Papa T,

I think that living in a republic, as we do, means that I can spend my money where I want to. Since I have taken my stand, I would be a “buttercup” only if I let somebody else tell me what to do.


The rest of Team Gnarley can choose to go or not as they please. I have stated from the beginning of this thread that this is my decision: for myself. I am not trying to get anyone to join me. If by reading this thread someone else learns of Steve King and decides to boycott too, that would be fine with me. I also respect the decision of all who choose to go. I hope to be back next year with no hard feelings. And I WILL miss the pie!


mootsman, April 21, 2017 at 7:33 am


I misunderstood your 500 family statement. I thought you knew 500 families that are not going on RAGBRAI as the context of this forum is RAGBRAI. But you meant total vacations in all of Iowa not limited to people you know. Seeing how many hit Okojobi alone in a year, that’s a drop in the ocean. I don’t think a boycott will change a single vote though. King’s statement alone will change someone’s vote or it won’t. I think we’d all encourage you to re-evaluate the impact of your boycott, come along and join the fun that is RAGBRAI. Social justice warriors need vacations too.


Sandaltan ., April 21, 2017 at 9:26 am

Kim Weaver is the Democrat front runner to challenge Steve King for his congressional seat. However, there will be a primary and she will have to best two other Democrats who hope to unseat King.




LawnchairMan, April 21, 2017 at 4:39 pm

Hey Mootsman,

Thank you for the encouragement to reconsider and ride this year. My course is set though, and I’ve already received some of my refunds. My only regret is that there may be non-King supporters who would have made a few bucks from me were I to have gone. I don’t really expect my absence to make a big difference, but there is a hope that wouldn’t exist at all were I to go. I think the biggest part of this is that for once I am taking a stand. I’m 65 and it took me this long. I will miss the fun I’ve had there the five times I attended. I will just look forward to 2018 all the more.


Thank you for telling me Kim Waver’s name. I had seen it a few times, but didn’t remember. I will contribute a couple hundred to her campaign.

I have to correct some of my expense accounting. I had planned to spend eight full days and two half days in Iowa this year not the ten days I had said, so that would be $40 less spend in Iowa. I forgot, though, that I paid $20 for laundry service. I wasn’t planning to use the luxury bus this year, but I have paid the extra $75 in the past, so there are a lot of hidden costs. I probably don’t spend exactly $2500 every year, but that is what I set aside for Ragbrai.

The five watermelon and five dozen ears of corn I took home were fabulous last year! I was considering returning to Muscatine to get more this year.

With this, I am signing off this thread. Hope to see you guys and gals next year!


Sandaltan ., April 21, 2017 at 5:49 pm

LCM, you will be welcome no matter who is elected.

RIDE RIGHT Yeah…….that Iowa sweet corn is excellent!!!!


RDaryl Daryl, April 21, 2017 at 7:57 pm

Funny thing is that our friendly Curmudgeonly biker that started the original thread (which got deleted because of name calling) implied that she was not boycotting this year despite King’s statements. BTW I really appreciate Rhubarb pie lovers – – – – – more apple for me !!! I also love Bud Light drinkers – – – – more IOWA craft beer for the rest of us !!!


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