Riding Solo

Looks like most folks are on teams. Any recommendations for a week long solo rider/camper/non-drinker (yeah, I know) to get the most out of the experience.

59 Replies

jerrygriswold, May 1, 2018 at 10:09 am

Riding solo is very common. This will be my fourth year of riding solo. I leave early and get in early, then enjoy the community of the overnight. It is a very friendly crowd and helpful in case you have questions. Services and help are always available along the way. You will have a great time.


Angie Medeiros, May 1, 2018 at 10:17 am

I don’t think you are EVER riding solo on RAGBRAI!! You will have a great time!


Mitchell Kreps, May 1, 2018 at 10:23 am

I’m riding solo first time this year as well, plan is to just figure it out as I go. Getting a charter bus from the East to the West and then I will just camp and stop at assorted towns that look fun. Going to try and leave early and finish early as stated above so I can enjoy the overnight town as much as possible.


Sunflower, May 1, 2018 at 10:25 am

Stop more than you think you want to. Don’t pass a swimming pool without stopping to cool off and chat with other riders, etc.

Spend some time doing internet searches for local points of interest. Don’t just search for the town names, use the county names as well. If you are bagging, there are many state, county and local campgrounds along the route. Spending a night at one near the route and the overnight town will introduce you to a lot of riders that prefer a low key evening with their friends. Campfires on RAGBRAI are good.

Use your smartphone to look at the weather pattern before you go to bed. Do what you can to time your day to avoid thunderstorms. If leaving at noon means avoiding a t-storm, leave at noon. Late July downpours can be refreshing or result in hypothermia and you might not know which until it is too late.

Tights, arm warmers and a shell will go unused most years. When you need them, and don’t have them, you could be fairly miserable. I use a large ziploc bag to hold the “cold day” gear.

The more you explore the more fun you’ll have, imho.




ncrosgrove, May 1, 2018 at 11:27 am

I rode solo my 4th and 5th RAGBRAI. My husband rides with me now on a tandem. I’ve always used the RAGBRAI baggage truck so I didn’t even have team mates. The only time I was really alone was sleeping at night. There are always people to talk to while riding, stopped in towns and at the over night stops. I rode two days with one young man who was riding solo. He was about my kids age and I think he connected with me as a mom away from home! Just enjoy each day as you go. I found that I interacted with many more people when I rode solo. Enjoy the ride!


Nicole Zipay, May 1, 2018 at 2:32 pm

I too am riding solo and am not a big drinker, (may have one or two on a heavy day), maybe we can meet up some time during the week!


Sandaltan ., May 1, 2018 at 7:13 pm

Leave maybe an hour later Tue or Wed, you will meet a different crowd and see a somewhat different RAGBRAI. Riding solo allows a great deal of freedom.



Michaela Minock, May 2, 2018 at 12:18 am

I am riding solo for most of the trip and I’ve never done RAGBRAI before! It’s nice to see all these positive words that it will still be a great experience. I’m really excited!


Jan DeWitt, May 2, 2018 at 2:45 pm

Thanks everyone for all of the input. Makes me feel better about tackling this alone. Looking forward to a fun 7 days.


Gregory Epstein, May 2, 2018 at 3:06 pm

I’m also a first timer, but fairly experienced rider, going solo. Thanks to all of you encouraging us soloists!

I am absolutely looking forward to meeting folks and playing it as it comes. I am not an early riser by nature, so the advice to stagger start times sounds great to me.

Does anyone have any feelings about the bus charters? They all seem nice and helpful, and certainly the amenities sound great.


Uncle Kraig, May 2, 2018 at 3:39 pm

This will be only my 3rd RAGBRAI and both previous have been solo. I am pretty certain I would not want to ride with a group. Riding solo is great. You ride at your own pace, you don’t have to slow down or speed up to stay with your riding mates/team. You can stay as long or as short as you want in pass through towns. You can start at 6:00 am one day and 9:00 am the next, whatever works. Admittedly, I don’t have any trouble doing stuff alone but on RAGBRAI you are never alone. Don’t be scared to talk to ANYONE…riders, locals, young, old, male, female, etc. Everyone is great on RAGBRAI and you cant imagine the fun, interesting people you will meet.

Especially, take your time and talk to the locals in the pass through towns, you will hear some of the best stories, learn a ton and meet some great people. I am going to put “riding solo” on my RAGBRAI bike plate this year so more people know I am going it alone. Kind of like putting Virgin on your calf. Just take your time, stop often and relax for the week. You will have a blast going solo.


Anonymous, May 2, 2018 at 4:27 pm

I ride semi-solo. I am part of a Team but I ride a trike, slowly.

So I camp with the Team which is very convivial at night. But we do not ride together, so each day I feel like I am solo. I chat with lots of people along the way, stop when I like, eat (and drink) what I want when I want. Make new friends everyday.

It will be great.


Larry Klaaren, May 2, 2018 at 4:42 pm

We could be Team Solo.


Larry Klaaren, May 2, 2018 at 4:45 pm

The team that gets along alone.


hnschipper, May 2, 2018 at 4:53 pm

Our “team” is my husband, my brother, me and our driver (my mom.) We don’t have a big team – just a small family group who does the ride together. Plenty of opportunities to meet new people during the week, whether you are with a big group or by yourself.


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