Full Route Revealed for RAGBRAI L!


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

Brian Wallenburg, March 17, 2016 at 8:17 pm

There will be a variety of options for showering in the overnight towns. There will always be semi trailers outfitted with showers, high schools typically have showers available, along with any college that might be in town. Some riders pack a solar shower bag to avoid the waiting lines and yet other simply knock on the town folks doors and ask. There is never a shortage of options. Expect to pay $5 or $6. The strangest RAGBRAI shower I’ve been in was in Spencer in ’99. The high school bus barn was plumbed with what must have been at least 50, maybe 75 shower heads, one next to the other, probably 4 rows with no curtains. One huge community shower! My wife said that the women’s was the same way. Expect anything!


Stephen Paine, March 18, 2016 at 11:31 am

I care a great deal about hot water, even in hot weather. That water coming out of the ground in Iowa is so damn cold it could awaken the dead!

That’s one reason I prefer Pork Belly Ventures on RAGBRAI. They have their own shower trucks. I think the DMR makes them offer the showers to non-PBV riders but that’s never been a big deal. In all my years of using PBV, I’ve rarely had to wait very long for a shower. And with the PBV showers on site at the PBV campgrounds, you don’t have to hunt them down in the town.

In the old days with PBV, you had to use the “shower thingy” which was a garden hose hooked up to a plant watering wand. I’ll never do that again unless my heart has stopped.


Michrider !!!, March 18, 2016 at 2:18 pm

Stephen Paine: In the old days with PBV, you had to use the “shower thingy” which was a garden hose hooked up to a plant watering wand. I’ll never do that again unless my heart has stopped.

Yeah, Pete’s shower thingy comes equipped with an unlimited supply of cold water!!!


cronec, March 18, 2016 at 9:54 pm

I want to ride part of the week, if not the whole week. I can’t find anybody to commit to ride with me. Guess I hate to go alone just because I want somebody at each overnight town to make sure I did make it. Any suggestions or thoughts? This will be my first RAGBRAI.


GeorgeKline, March 19, 2016 at 8:20 am

Cronec, just go for it, you are never alone on RAGBRAI. The first year I registered I told 2 friends at the gym I was going both said they would go also, their schedules did not allow them to go the following 2 years so I went by myself, knowing I would meet up with friends I made the first year. If I waited till someone I knew committed I would never made it. Sometimes you just have to go it alone or stay home and miss out on the greatest ride ever.


MichaelB, March 19, 2016 at 9:09 am

I have to agree with George, albeit riding alone is my preference even on these multi-day trips. With 10000 riders I don’t think anyone would ever have to be worried about being stranded en route.


Jessica, March 19, 2016 at 9:21 am

I did the same thing where I said I’d wait for friends to ride with me. Last year, I said enough and just did it by myself! I had a friend drop me off at the beginning and my boyfriend picked me up at the end.

Riding alone was the best thing I ever did! The feeling of the accomplishment at the end was amazing! Every time I stopped many many people always asked if I was ok. There was even a time last year where my whole tire had shredded (tire and tube). I had two local women offer to drive me and my bike the final 10 miles to the overnight town.

I can’t wait to do it alone again this year!


GeorgeKline, March 19, 2016 at 10:20 am

The group I was with my first RAGBRAI only rode together 1 day, some preferred to leave camp at different times, it was my vacation and theirs. We all made it our ride, no one was disappointed. Way to go Jessica, great mindset to have sounds like it was a freeing experience. I made up my mind I will never wait for the right time or the right people to do what I want to experience, you come to the realization you are missing out if you do. This year I have a friend for the long drive, but once we are there we are on our own.


david636, March 20, 2016 at 7:31 am

This will be my first Ragbrai. I’m going to try and follow Jessica’s advice. I’ve signed up with Pork Bellies so I don’t feel like I’m going to be totally on my own. At this point I have no worries, whatever is going to happen will happen. I’m guessing flexibility and patience are a couple of important attributes to carry on my ride. See you on the road!


Michrider !!!, March 20, 2016 at 12:24 pm

: This will be my first Ragbrai. I’m going to try and follow Jessica’s advice. I’ve signed up with Pork Bellies so I don’t feel like I’m going to be totally on my own.

David, you’ve made the right decision. In my opinion, PBV is the best Charter on RAGBRAI! I’ve traveled with them eight years! Pete & Tammy (& crew), do a great job making sure that every customer is treated right!!! You’ll have a great week in the corn!!! https://pkbelly.com/


SFC JKL 2, March 20, 2016 at 7:41 pm

The majority of showers I’ve taken on Ragbrai were from a garden hose. Now we have a tankless water heater and it’s the greatest thing ever. A shower doesn’t need to be “hot”, but freezing cold is painfull.
My first year we were camping on a street corner in a smaller town. Our shower was literally attached to a stop sign. Nothing better than taking a shower while strangers are walking by on both sides of you.


Michrider !!!, March 21, 2016 at 8:02 am

Shower information, supplied by RAGBRAI.


“Showers will be available at schools, swimming pools and converted car washes. Shuttle service is usually available from the campgrounds to the showers. RAGBRAI provides for 80 portable toilets to supplement the ones provided by the overnight towns in the campgrounds. If you must have bathrooms close to your campsite, please set up your campsite close to the bathrooms. They will not be moved once the bathrooms are in place.”

“A number of campers use sun-heated portable showers. According to state law, it is illegal to dispose of waste water into any state-owned natural or artificial lake. Additionally you are requested to dispose of this water through appropriate sewage access. Please do not dump portable showers on the ground.”


KenH, March 22, 2016 at 10:31 am

I used one of those shower trucks in 2014 that had a problem with its heater. I did my whole shower with water straight from the hydrant. Talk about a test of manhood! Not to mention shrinkage!!

If you have done that once you too will care about hot showers in July. But for the most part the showers are fine. My favorite so far was the hog barn shower at the Fairfield fair grounds in 2013.


Amanda, March 22, 2016 at 2:25 pm

Several years ago, we went with a charter. They had the tarp and PVC showers. At the end town, the showers were set up on the sidewalk in the downtown area. I can’t remember the town but the library was across the street. Tall buildings around us – offices? Apartments? I don’t know but I am sure they got an eyeful watching everyone take their showers.


Juan Medium Moose, March 23, 2016 at 12:28 pm

@MichaelB: You’ve managed to start quite a discussion of showers.

Lots of people have strong opinions about showers, charters, camper vans, going it alone, etc. I think you’ll have a great first RAGBRAI. Enjoy it to the fullest, even the rainy days, the smell of the pig barns, and the mono-genetic rows of corn. It’s an an adventure, and you’ll certainly be able to figure out what will make your next RAGBRAI even better.

It’s a zen thing. ;)

Maybe we’ll run into one another, and we can compare notes on charters (I’m with one of the smaller ones as well).


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