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First ride. Already booked with Bubba’s P. P. for the charter from end to start and camping. Seemed like a good option when I registered a few months back. Anyone with first hand experience to offer an opinion?
Thanks, Michael

30 Replies

Juan Medium Moose, March 14, 2016 at 4:02 pm

I had been saying to my buddy for years that we should do RAGBRAI. I finally got up the nerve to sign up, but he had an off year and wasn’t ready, so he didn’t come along until my second RAGBRAI. I learned a lot watching him go through everything I’d gone through my first time out.

The way he put it, there’s a “Zen” to RAGBRAI; it takes a while to find your groove. He got it on his third day, and that’s when he started having fun.

Regarding your charter: That’s not the one I use…which means absolutely nothing. Any charter should do a good job of rounding off the rough edges so you can enjoy your ride. Have fun!


MichaelB, March 14, 2016 at 4:50 pm

Thanks for your comment Juan. I like how you put that, finding your Zen. I’ve done several long distance, multi-day rides before. The distance and ride don’t concern me at all. The RAGBRAI numbers do make me feel a little uncomfortable. I always ride alone, not much of a team sport guy, so riding with some 10000 others??? that will be my personal growth and challenge across Iowa. Have a great ride.


Juan Medium Moose, March 14, 2016 at 6:27 pm

If you’re used to long rides, but not used to crowds, do the loops. Fewer people do those, so it will provide you with a break from the masses.

The 10K (or more) riders around you aren’t exactly a team. Sometimes you’ll get a paceline zipping along. Mostly, there’s ebb and flow as some riders pass you and others fall behind and still others pull off the road to take a leak in the cornfields.

Took this ‘photo last year: https://www.dropbox.com/s/j6hxppwjlmi6nsk/20150720_102638.jpg?dl=0


Mark Hotle, March 15, 2016 at 8:27 am

Don’t let 10,000 riders concern you too much, it’s worse than it sounds.
They are all not on the road at the same time…. and they are spread out over 50-60 miles.
The only time it’s a little bad is the first few miles in the morning as you leave the overnight town and as you go through towns.
A little advice, leave early in the morning.


Ragbrai Nation, March 15, 2016 at 2:07 pm

Well if your first Ragbrai isn’t the most painful, it is sure to be the most expensive! :D


RDaryl Daryl, March 15, 2016 at 10:19 pm

If your leave early, plan on spending 3-4 hours in a town and watch the pack go by. Then you can REALLY experience RAGBRAI. Slow down, turn off your smart phone, let go of everything in life and talk to the locals & other riders. Chat with other teams at their team buses in the meeting town. New lifelong friendships may result. Just don’t get behind the sag wagon schedule and never go into the overnight town hungry.


Stephen Paine, March 16, 2016 at 2:55 pm

I’ve ridden (on non-RAGBRAI rides) with Bubba and you’ll like him. Great guy. After you do RAGBRAI a few times, you’ll have a better idea if you like his charter or whether you want something larger (e.g., Pork Belly) or something smaller (e.g, a team with a bus) or maybe Bubba is just right. I prefer Bubba on smaller rides.

As to leaving early, I come from hot weather country so I enjoy leaving early in the morning on RAGBRAI so I can enjoy riding in weather that is generally cooler than what I am used to. However, be careful to check the weather forecast before following Daryl’s advice. Taking your time can be fun but it can heat up on RAGBRAI in the afternoon. I’m content to do most of my exploring in the overnight towns after a shower and a beer or two, and by doing most of each day’s ride in the morning, I enjoy the cooler weather.


Brian Wallenburg, March 16, 2016 at 7:11 pm

If you arrive early enough, the overnight towns often have the best food. Churches, schools etc. But they typically run out of food fast.


Jessica, March 16, 2016 at 8:04 pm

I did RAGBRAI for the 1st time last year, by myself. No crew to help me and I knew no one riding at all! It was the best time of my life! I signed up to go at it alone again! Don’t be afraid to start conversations. Take your time walking through towns. I like to get to the overnight town early to set up camp, shower, eat, and explore. I met a lot of amazing people!


Jason Stoller, March 16, 2016 at 9:45 pm

I will be riding out there on a Recumbent Trike in a Water Melon Helmet! Just look for my Blue Canopy and wave as you pass me lol. I am a slow rider. Ragbrai is a lot of fun. The first year I went I really knew no one but met some great people on the transport bus on the way to the start.



MichaelB, March 17, 2016 at 10:39 am

Thanks to all for the great suggestions. And here’s a logistics question, how do that many people shower in a town of a few thousand? I am guessing that would be another reason to get into town early.


jwsknk, March 17, 2016 at 2:15 pm

how do that many shower? slowly. :-) and after the fist couple dozen forget about hot water. in Leon think about a wet wipe shower in your tent, at least gets the top layer of grime off and clean the nether regions.


Juan Medium Moose, March 17, 2016 at 4:02 pm

Showers: Much depends on luck.
I didn’t have a bad shower any day in 2014. There were even a couple of times when the showers were free at the public swimming pool. I didn’t mind paying for the Wet Shack after a long day of riding. Last year, however, I did have a few bad experiences. There were some towns that ran out of hot water, as @jwsknk mentions. There were also a couple of times when there were no towels available.

Recommendation: Bring along a camping “pack towel”. These are usually very small and light and will dry quickly if it’s not raining out. I had a “nano-sized” pack towel that my daughter used to take on long camping trips in Canadia. It came in mighty handy.


Jessica, March 17, 2016 at 4:13 pm

I didn’t have any issues showering last year. The most I had to wait was about 20 minutes in Storm Lake. I thought the showers were going to run out of hot water, but that didn’t happen to me. I even got into Storm Lake pretty darn late. The other nights I might of had to wait about 10 minutes, if that.


Sexton, March 17, 2016 at 5:50 pm

Considering its the end of July, and kinda warm you know, who cares if there’s no hot water?


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