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RAGBRAI traditions?

I am wondering about traditions riders hold dear. I am aware of wheel-dipping, temporary “virgin” tattoos, and signing Mr. Pork Chop’s bus. My daughter and I love crazy cycling socks, but for tradition we swap singles so we are mismatched together. I am sure there are more we need to try.

31 Replies

Heather, April 6, 2023 at 4:02 pm

Beeckman’s ice cream! Chris cakes!


LawnchairMan, April 7, 2023 at 2:13 pm

Some cities have wall signing. You write your name and home town.

Don’t forget to be quiet during the Ride of Silence.

Themed jersey days.

Eating pie!


Barry Schnoor, April 7, 2023 at 7:03 pm

Wait…those “virgin” tattoos were supposed to temporary? Crap…

Fortunately, I just added the post office abbreviation for Iowa to get my home state.

Traditions…I like the sometimes-regular Burma Shave signs as approach pass-through towns. And Rhubarb Pie!


Dizzy, April 7, 2023 at 8:10 pm

Thelma’s ice cream sandwiches…ummm….peanut butter / banana.
Decorated helmets.
Military teams.
Taps at sunset.
Just as the eastern sky begins to lighten in the morning and you see that long line of blinking red tail lights.
Iowa State Highway Patrol rocking it out at intersections.


JohnWE, April 7, 2023 at 8:40 pm

Beads and stickers on roadkill. It is not something I would do but I get a chuckle out of seeing it.


Ricky Armstrong, April 10, 2023 at 7:26 pm

Thong Thursday will never die.


Rob Fuller, April 11, 2023 at 8:03 am

Oh, yes! We saw the group wearing thong underwear on the outside of their shorts last year. We thought for sure the riders must have lost a bet.


Matt, April 11, 2023 at 9:10 am

Corn bike racks. When the corn field is growing along the yard where there’s icecream, beer, porkchop, whatever, there will be a row of bikes lined up with their back tire between the corn stalks holding them all up (bike rack). I always look for the stops where I can use a corn bike rack while on RAGBRAI.


Matt, April 11, 2023 at 9:25 am

Finding the bugle lady at a stop. She’s a professional musician that rides with a palm size bugle. She stops where there are crowds and plays some light hearted tunes. The whole crowd breaks out into song. It’s a real joy and I feel like I can check another box when I find her at a stop. It really takes any remaining stress out of the week to expand from hanging with a relaxed crowd to one that’s also filled with group laughter and song. I wish I could remember her name. Someone here will. She’s had articles written about her RAGBRAI shenanigans. On our last ride when we stumbled across her, a couple of other people riding with instruments came running over and they all joined in on funny tunes they knew. It was quite the spectacle (good way).


Randall Murphy, April 11, 2023 at 10:35 am

We call her ‘Trumpet Chick’: I think her name is Alicia Rau and yes, she is a professional musician. She has played taps and revile with Pork Bellies for the years that she can make it. I remember one pass through town one year where she had stopped to join a street corner tuba player to make a duet. She’s a pretty neat person.


Matt, April 11, 2023 at 12:57 pm

Huh, how about that. Thanks! I found the podcast interviewing her on Episode 145 JustGoBike.


DenBiker, April 11, 2023 at 1:24 pm

Banjo Dude – Often see him sitting by the roadside or at Mr Porkchop pickin’ his banjo. Google – Ragbrai -Roadside Boys. Have a really cute tribute to Mr Porkchop.


jelly0317, April 11, 2023 at 1:43 pm

2023 marks the fifth anniversary of the death of the original RAGBRAI Banjo Man, Michael “Moon” Mullen. I’ll have some commemorative patches which celebrate what would be his 70th birthday available on the ride if anyone is interested.


“Trumpet Chick” Alicia Rau, April 12, 2023 at 1:34 pm

Yes Matt & Randall, that’s me! And I’m thrilled to say, I’m back this year! Looking forward to it.
See official Ragbrai Teaser here:

This reply was modified 1 year ago by "Trumpet Chick" Alicia Rau.


HelenP, April 12, 2023 at 11:17 pm

Yippee! Will you be playing at PBV, Alicia? If so, when and where in camp? I’d like to hear you, live!


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