Riding companions wanted: Summer 2020 mini-RAGBRAI (actually very mini)

Looking to form a small, informal touring group (no more than 4 to 6 total due to COVID) of like-minded riders.

My situation: The group I’ve been doing RAGBRAI with has sort of disbanded for 2020 and plans to regroup for 2021. I’ve suggested a homemade small DIY tour with them, and one or two might be game, but most of them are all still working and don’t want to give up a week of vacation unless it’s RAGBRAI (it’s RAGBRAI or nothing for them…and that’s cool). But I’m retired and REALLY feeling the need to get out on the road. I will go solo if necessary, but it’s always more fun and interesting to ride with others. My son is a 21 year old college student, and he might ride with me too. I have a great deal of flexibility and can go just about anywhere and any week (a little shorter or longer if needed).

Riding style: I really like the RAGBRAI approach of 60 to 70 mile days and routes with pass-through towns approximately every 15 miles or so. Would prefer a multi-day circle route to start/end in the same spot, or a single town with multiple loops. I’m not in a hurry by any means, so stopping in towns to relax, eat, look around & stretch my legs (and rest my butt) are definitely part of the plan. I typically ride at a touring pace of 13.5 mph give or take. I can go faster when needed, but for long days I really prefer to keep my heart rate down. On RAGBRAI, it seems like I pass about as many riders as riders pass me, so I think I’m probably somewhere in the middle. But there have been many times when I ride alongside slower riders for long stretches if I enjoy talking with them. Easier for me to slow down than to speed up. I like a few adult beverages, but in moderation. At age 61, my hard-charging party days are thankfully behind me.

Preferred route location and accommodations: I live in northern Illinois, but really love riding in Iowa. But would be interested in Nebraska, SD, Minnesota, Wisconsin or Michigan routes as well. I like my “creature comforts”, so I will want to create a route than has overnight town lodging options (budget motels +/- $75 per night). Happy to ride with other riders who want/need to camp, but just know that I won’t be camping. And if my riding partners happen to be campers, they can feel free to take advantage of the shower in my room.

Anyone out there ride at a similar speed, style and approach who wants to kick this around?

5 Replies

Eric Strobel, May 23, 2020 at 9:21 pm

That might be something I would be interested in. I’m in Arizona but maybe Michigan as that’s where I’m from…or something more westerly. This is my first year back into riding and I would fit into your riding style. I’m almost 60 and wanted to do Ragbrai to challenge myself in my 60th birthday year. Not having a “goal” ride has me cutting back how much I’m riding…so I need a goal.

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Jboz, May 24, 2020 at 7:53 am

Eric – the MI route I’m considering is a close retrace of the Shoreline West route. Starting out around Luddington, and heading north up the shore through Glen Arbor, over to Traverse City, then up to Charlevois, Petosky and Mackinac City. Or possibly reversing that starting out in Mackinac City and heading south. It would be a one-way route, with my wife taking on shuttling duties to start and finish locations. August is a good month for that route.

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klkoopman, May 24, 2020 at 12:54 pm

The State of Michigan has developed a nice series of biking maps they will send to you. You can also download the .PDF’s. The State has built many excellent trails.

https://www.michigan.gov/mdot/0,4616,7-151-9615_11223—,00.html

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Eric Strobel, May 25, 2020 at 3:41 pm

Jboz – That sounds like a great ride…beautiful part of the state. August would work well for me. How do we proceed to make this a reality? Klkoopman – Thanks for posting the link to the trails. I always remember my dad riding one of those great trails around the Kalamazoo area.

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Jboz, May 26, 2020 at 12:23 pm

Eric – PM me and let’s start a conversation about routes, dates and logistics. For anyone else who is mildly interested, post here.

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