RAGBRAI LI Route Announced on Jan. 27!

Random RAGBRAI Thoughts For 2016

This was my fourth RAGBRAI, and as usual, I have a few random thoughts.

– It is mysterious to me why people will queue up for the food trailers when in many cases there are wonderful, air conditioned, sit down restaurants just steps away, which in most cases are less expensive than the carnival food. We had awesome Chinese, Mexican, and American food in various towns, and we got to sit down in A/C, drink tons of water, use a real toilet, and be served. Oh yeah, the beer is cheaper, too. In one route town the midway was jammed, but there was a Hy-Vee pharmacy with a real live old fashioned soda fountain right behind the trailers. We had a 20 minute, air conditioned, hand spun milkshake break while people stood outside waiting for whatever.

– I have no problem with the people who have a little bluetooth speaker on their handlebars for their own enjoyment, but the giant bazooka blasters on the bike rack aimed behind the rider are just stupid. P.S. Your taste in music sucks.

– There did seem to be more traffic this year but I had no problem with it. Move to the right and let it pass. Not that hard.

– As usual, we had nothing but great food at every church we stopped at. The Catholics ruled this year!

– I am so over pork.

– The dumbest thing I saw all week was when we were leaving one of the towns, there was a short steep downhill with a right turn at the bottom. The town had stationed two people there to warn riders about loose gravel in the corner. They could have handed one of those people a broom, and the gravel would have been gone in under five minutes. Really? You are going to have two people standing there for hours in the hot sun warning about a little bit a gravel that a single person with a garage broom could have taken care of in five minutes?

– Speaking of gravel, on the gravel loop, at the top of the highest hill was a beautiful farm with a trailer full of coolers parked in the driveway, full of cold bottles of water. Very appreciated.

– Also on the gravel loop, the route into Shenandoah was on pavement, but right next to the “official” route was the Wabash Trace Nature Trail, a rail trail that took you directly to town, through a tunnel of tall trees. Shade almost every inch of the way! I guess they thought the trail would be overwhelmed if it was the official route, but I’m sure glad a local told me about it.

– The RAGBRAI app needs to be changed to NOT sit spinning while it tries to connect to the internet for several minutes every time it is opened. THERE ISN’T ANY DATA SERVICE when 20,000 people descend on a town in the middle of nowhere. Lets us get a route map from the app without first trying to connect every single time. The maps are already there, you just can’t access them until the silly app gives up on the data connection.

– Southern Iowa is very beautiful, and I am sorry I didn’t bring a fishing pole to hit some of the dozens of ponds and lakes we passed by. I just might take a few days and go down to ride the nature trail and over to Rathbun to explore the area. The resort there is really cool, and I was surprised to hear it is owned by the state of Iowa. It is a little pricey though. I went on their website and looked at availability and other than major holidays it looks to be pretty wide open. I think they overshot their demographic on that build.

– Meth is a terrible drug.

– Rick Springfield for an hour doesn’t really do anything for me.

See you next year, probably.

19 Replies

igor, August 3, 2016 at 3:44 pm

Before I left for RAGBRAI, I took screen shots from my phone of the route maps from the app. That way I could just pull up the map/photo without having to use the app, carry a paper map or the laminate card. Super easy!


jwsknk, August 3, 2016 at 4:26 pm

don’t look at the crest, don’t look at the crest, don’t look at the crest, ah
shoot, I looked at the crest.


DougHarris, August 3, 2016 at 5:16 pm

THANK YOU for commenting about the blaring music thing! I have had a good time on the rides the past two years and don’t want to sound like I am nitpicking…but what is the mentality of someone who thinks everyone in a 100 yard radius WANTS to hear their music. Granted it is few and far between but I was unable to hear the rider I was conversing with or my own personal music as these people approached from behind and slowly passed by. Does anyone ever tell them to turn it down?

The only other thing that seemed to happen to me more than usual this year was this situation: I would ride up on 2 or 3 bikers riding slower than the rest side by side…not a problem as I don’t/can’t ride very fast…then the call of “car up” happens forcing faster bikers out of the left lane…those 3 bikers need to not ride side by side briefly as they became a sort of blockade for a mass of bikers behind them…imagine to semi trucks side by side on the highway while 30 to 50 cars bottle up behind them. I know it is not a race but I did feel that those bikers weren’t really concerned about the safe flow of biking at that moment…

These are big issues I know…just situations where people could probably be more aware/considerate…

Thanks to the many thousands that do try to be considerate to all riders around them…and even though I said it in person to as many as I could, I also say should say thanks to the armed service riders again and the willingness to help those in need…I have been blessed not to have a flat on RAGBRAI but it was comforting to know that should I have bike issues it wouldn’t have been long when help would have swooped in…Thanks for your help in RAGBRAI and definitely for your service to our country!


BenToland, August 3, 2016 at 6:23 pm

I like it when people have music blasting…even if I don’t like the music


“Bicycle Bill”, August 4, 2016 at 2:08 am

The RAGBRAI app needs to be changed to NOT sit spinning while it tries to connect to the internet for several minutes every time it is opened. THERE ISN’T ANY DATA SERVICE when 20,000 people descend on a town in the middle of nowhere. Lets us get a route map from the app without first trying to connect every single time. The maps are already there, you just can’t access them until the silly app gives up on the data connection.

I rode something like 20 RAGBRAIs using nothing more than a paper map provided by the Register, the arrows stapled to the signposts along the route, and just following the crowd in front of me.  I don’t know why everybody feels that they did not do something unless they did it with their smartphones or other electronic gizmo these days.



navychief01, August 4, 2016 at 12:16 pm

Maps: The only person who needs a map is the first person on the road in the morning. Everyone else just follows.

Helmets: I saw many more people this year riding without helmets than I did last year.

Earbuds: I saw people using earbuds. Not cool. Using just one? Still not cool. I came upon more than one person and said “on your left” and they didn’t react meaning they didn’t act like they heard me, not meaning they had to move or anything. Every single time they had at least one earbud in.

Glenwood Expo: Way better than the Expo in Sioux City.

Daily Expo/Festivities proximity to main camping area: No town should host if they can’t have the two within about half a mile.

Headlights/taillights: Many people ride after dark in the overnight towns. I heard someone got run into/hit in Leon after dark. Regardless I was camped at the YMCA in Creston and watch dozen of cyclists riding with no lights well after dark. Some people are lit up like the 4th of July which is awesome, but others were completely dark. Not smart.

Alcohol: Seemed like people were less inebriated this year than last, but maybe I didn’t pay attention as much.

Thanks to everyone for the kindnesses/conversation/reminiscing. Met some awesome people, just like every year.


Kenbaker, August 4, 2016 at 3:08 pm

This year was to be my 9th complete Ragbrai, the first being in 1980 but unfortunately I became excessively dehydrated and overcome by the heat (my own doing so can’t blame anyone but myself) this year and ended in hospital in Creston. I wanted to say how pleased I was with the rapid response from the Creston first aid people at the welcome center, the EMTs, the Creston hospital, and Ragbrai. Ragbrai took control of my bike and safe guarded it until I could get back among the living. They also were very careful on whom they released the bike to as I was doctor ordered to get off the ride for the week. My brother needed to use my bike as his had collapsed via a derailer/rear wheel calamity the same day I collapsed. If my brother hadn’t took possession of the bike Ragbrai was set to deliver my bike to me at my home in Waukee.

First class caring service Ragbrai. Thanks.


Sandaltan ., August 4, 2016 at 5:16 pm

Kenbaker, the crew of the Starship RAGBRAI takes pretty good care of the passengers, very good of you to let them know.



jake d, August 4, 2016 at 7:54 pm

Route Maps??? We don’t need no stinking route maps!!!


RDaryl Daryl, August 4, 2016 at 9:22 pm

I always find my daily laminated route map laying on the road. Seven days straight!


ppayne1959, August 5, 2016 at 8:02 am

Didn’t know there were maps? Wasn’t even sure there was a route. Thought it was just sort of organic the way it worked.


Craig Parson, August 5, 2016 at 9:45 am

Way more dangerous than someone riding slow two-abreast are the people riding far left who assume if they lower their head they are the fastest thing out there. Tandems, recumbents, handcycles and fat guys are really fast downhill and “on your left” cannot be screamed loud enough as the wind noise above 30 is hard to overcome. I do my best to move right as I lose my momentum and not screw anyone out their hard earned speed.

I am not willing to “buzz” someone to keep my speed but I have seen tandem captains that would so try to be aware faster heavier stuff is out there. Unless you are a tandem or a boat anchor someone can and will pass you going downhill no matter how tight your tuck is.

It also seemed like a lot of people were stopped on the edge of the road and not getting all the way to the shoulder this year. Everyone should be aware enough to handle that situation, but I do think it’s adding risk to the mix.

I like the stereos, blast them. Yes there is occasional country music that makes me fantasize about putting a gun in my mouth, but it’s worth it to hear “push it” by Salt-n-Pepa. “Oooh baby baby, buh buh buh baby”



Zeb S, August 9, 2016 at 9:33 am

There’s an amazing amount of whining and “Get off my lawn!” posts/threads on post Ragbrai 2016 on this forum.

I’ll join.

– I like the big ass stereos. If I don’t like the music, I’m fit enough to get far ahead or far behind. Play it loud!

– I was over church meals an their iceberg lettuce and watery pasta “sauce” years ago.

– Why frequent the crappy beer “gardens” in the pass-through towns, with no shade, sh%tty beer surrounded by orange plastic fencing (I’m tired of Ragbrai trying to make me feel like a criminal) when there are now TWO Iowa Craft Beer Tent stops? Shade, room to move, great Iowa beer, etc.

– If someone wants to ride at night with no lights, why should anyone else care if they’re endangering their own lives. Worry about yourselves.

This was my 17th ride and I was so happy to get back into southern Iowa and it’s endless hills. Don’t like hills? Get fitter folks, it’s a bike ride. I get that the average age of the ride is getting to be older angrier men but geez, get some training in.

I ride fast, I ride slow, I ride in lines, I ride solo, I drink beer and vodka, most importantly, I’m faster than you and I ride right. This really got me, the amount of folks who couldn’t be bothered to move right when they have an entire lane open to them.

My biggest gripe, however, is reserved for our fun-hating ride director and those damn mandatory “meeting towns.” We’re adults. Many of us have been on the ride for many decades. Many of us are from Iowa. We know the roads, we know the towns. Let us make the decision where to drop a support vehicle for our teammates. It makes NO sense to place a bus 20 miles from the start on a 65 mile day in a town of 500 people. Every support vehicle has to get out of town, do some shopping, ice up and then park in that tiny town with a thousand other support vehicles.

As far as support vehicles not crossing the route, quite honestly, I’d rather share the road with any Ragbrai team support vehicle than the locals who barrel down the roads, angry cause they’re inconvenienced for a few hours one day out of their lives. Angry locals driving on the rider route are far more dangerous to riders than any Ragbrai team support vehicle.


ppayne1959, August 9, 2016 at 11:47 am

Hey Bizzaro dude…… Get off my lawn!

Priceless. I agree with you on just about everything, too much whining. Also your commentary on the church dinners, much rather visit a local establishment where possible, the churches seem to be consistently disappointing. That being said. I will walk a flat tire for a mile or more to get a good IA cattlemen rib eye sandwich.

The main point is that RAGBRAI is loosely organized and for good reason. It works. Participants shouldn’t expect there whines to turn to policy or it will loose the one thing that makes it work so well for everyone.

At risk of copyright infringement I will quote another frequent contributor to the board……. RAGBRAI don’t care.


Zeb S, August 9, 2016 at 6:48 pm

Quoting my man, kwog: ” but it’s worth it to hear “push it” by Salt-n-Pepa. “Oooh baby baby, buh buh buh baby””

What really sucks is when I’m chugging up a hill with a good head of steam and it’s fun and I’m passing a sound rig with that damn song and there’s a debate in my head; slow down and have fun, get over this hill as fast as you can which is also fun…..

Never enough hills on Ragbrai, people. If you don’t like them, train or stay home, it’s a bike ride.


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