RAGBRAI LI Route Announced on Jan. 27!

Ragbrai or Goba

Curious if anyone has done both Ragbrai and Goba? How do they compare/contrast?

Thanks for any feedback.


9 Replies

KenH, December 16, 2017 at 10:37 am

Never heard of it but like the other small state rides that I am familiar with it looks like it would be a fine way to spend a week on a bicycle. My little gang does an early season century ride in Illinois that is about the same size and that is a nice size for a ride. Big enough to provide you with company but not so big as to be overwhelming. I mean I love the large crowd at RAGBRAI but many folks I talk to, including many at RAGBRAI so it is not just those who have never tried it, are put off by such a large crowd. I have friends who love a similar annual ride in Illinois so if you are interested in it you should try it.

On the other hand Goba would be an excellent tune up ride for RAGBRAI and this year at least if you were to find yourself not quite ready to ride every day for a week that early in the season there are two layover days where you could rest. Riding is provided for but optional on those days.

In other words, why not do both!?


Bentongoing, December 20, 2017 at 7:37 am

I’ve done GOBA a few times, in fact I’ll be doing both GOBA and RAGBRAI again this year.
The logistics of GOBA work out much better, starting and stopping at the same location. Also, on two of the days, you don’t change campsites. It is limited to 1500 riders, so a lot less commercial. And easier on the budget! The shower trucks are included in the registration fee!
It’s very well run, and Ohio has a lot of bike trails, and I think the route this year will take advantage of that. I would say it’s a little more family friendly – no alcohol allowed in camp.

It tends to be fairly flat, which is my wheelhouse on my trike. And if you do all the optional loops, comes pretty close to the mileage for RAGBRAI. Ken is right – an excellent warm up for RAGBRAI. In fact, last year it was almost the only training I got in with the crappy weather in my part of the universe.
I guess the fact that I am signing up for my 7th GOBA in 2018 pretty much says it all.


3 Pedal, December 21, 2017 at 10:12 am

While I have not done GOBA, members of our team have done it twice. They enjoyed it, but it is not RAGBRAI.

The only negative thing I have heard is they really don’t like RVs. We have used one for support on rides since we started RAGBRAI. Not only were they not allowed in near the official camp, but the organizers would provide no help on where to stay and seemed put off at the mention of a motorhome. The towns, however were supportive and helped them find some very cool places to stay. The end result was they didn’t feel overly welcome, and did’t get to spend time around the center of activities most evenings.


czysk, December 21, 2017 at 4:34 pm

I have ridden RAGBRAI every year for the last eight years. This year I have a scheduling conflict and will not be able to ride in Iowa. How does the weather compare to Iowa? How are the hills? Is food and water readily available? I realize after riding RAGBRAI other rides may seem lame,but this ride sounds like a good alternative. Appreciate any comments.



Bentongoing, December 22, 2017 at 11:56 am

The weather is a little more comfortable – mid-80’s daytime highs (on average). Usually a day or two of rain.
And not the major logistical event that RAGBRAI is. I don’t think I can overstate the convenience of starting and ending in the same town. WAY EASIER!
Last year was FLAT! I think less than 2,000 feet for the entire week! This year should be a little more than that, but still less climbing than almost any RAGBRAI. Not as much “Fair Food” vendors, but because there are fewer riders, local restaurants can handle the load better. Legions/churches still provide suppers. In general, not the glutteny one normally associates with RAGBRAI. (Okay, maybe that’s more of a comment on me).
It’s kinda like Shrodingers Cat – the only way you can find out if you like it, is to do it. It is well run. And definitely more budget friendly than RAGBRAI.


Mark Bauman, December 22, 2017 at 12:05 pm

Thanks for all the feedback.

I’ve done four Ragbrai rides thus far, but the last one (this past year) was by far the best as I had my family with me for the first time (not as riders, they drove a support vehicle). In the interest of full transparency, I tend to be a bit of a loner (even though I’m surrounded by thousands of people, yes I know). So having my family with me in the mornings and afternoons/nights was really fantastic. Consequently my son, who is 8, would like to do a ride, but I think Ragbrai is a little too much for his first, hence my interest in GOBA. Based on feedback here, and looking at GOBA’s information, I do think that would be a nice start. And I like the thoughts here too about doing both – I may just try that.

Thanks again.


Ashlee Miller, January 5, 2018 at 9:27 am

For those that have done GOBA, is there nightly entertainment in the camping/overnight areas or in town (e.g. bands)? We did Big BAM last year and are trying to decide between GOBA and Big BAM for 2018. Of course, we’ll still be going on RAGBRAI too…


Dizzy, January 6, 2018 at 8:37 am

Mark, If your basic question is whether you should break-in your 8yo at either RAGBRAI or GOBA, then GOBA is the answer. Over the years, there have been successful RAGBRAI youth stories in the forum so it can be done. However, having ridden 3 RAGBRAIs and 9 GOBAs, I would think GOBA the easier transition.

Some comparisons (IMO): At RAGBRAI, the host community comes out to see us; at GOBA, we come to see the community. At RAGBRAI, we are plugged in and rockin’; at GOBA, we are unplugged and chillin’. At RAGBRAI, you’re on it everyday; at GOBA, “eh…I think I’ll blow off riding on the optional days and have a long nap, take the kids to the little museum in town and then to the local pool.”

And at the end, you ride right back into the small town you left a week ago having experienced 7 days of life in rural Ohio; so relaxed, you can’t imagine going back to the outside world.

CZYSK, I echo Bentongoing’s comments. Not what I would call “lame”, but pretty laid back compared to RAGBRAI.

Ashlee, Some of the host communities arrange their summer events to coincide w/GOBA’s visits and there is a local OH band. Sometimes it’s just kick back in camp and enjoy the company of your new friends.


Csprint, January 22, 2018 at 7:25 pm

Has anyone considered Oklahoma Freewheel? They have not announced the route yet, but it will probably roughly follow historic Route 66 in Oklahoma from west to east. Of the rides other than RAGBRAI, this one most closely resembles RAG. It is from June 10-16 this year, and is it’s 40th running. It is usually 420+ miles with gravel options.


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