RAGBRAI LI Route Announced on Jan. 27!

Saturday night in Onawa

Total rookie question here. Wondering what the campgrounds are like on the night before the start of RAGBRAI? My flight into Omaha, NE arrives at 6:35p, which puts me in Onawa at approx 8p. Is that too late to setup camp and find my bike that I plan on shipping? Should I try to find a flight that puts me to Onawa earlier in the day?


10 Replies

Niles, May 22, 2018 at 7:11 pm

Definitely get in Onawa earlier, especially considering you need to collect and set up your bike.


bmyoungberg, May 22, 2018 at 7:43 pm

If not for the bike issue, it would probably be ok. To be safe (and to allow for a flight delay), I would get there earlier. Many others are getting into their tents around dark (8:30ish), so you could end trying to do everything in the dark.


Barry Schnoor, May 23, 2018 at 9:55 am

I want to piggyback on this question with a couple of my own.

I’m staying with a friend in Onawa. How do I get my bag to the RAGBRAI truck…do I have to do this Saturday night, or can I do it Sunday morning? And if it’s Sunday morning, what time does this thing kick off? Is there a “formal” start…Star Spangled Banner…or do people just wake up and go?

BMYOUNGBERG mentioned most folks are bedding down for the night at 8:30…which I love. Early to bed, early to rise, you know. What time does the Onawa beer garden / live music (35th and Taylor) wrap up for the evening?

Thanks. I’m a virgin (and a VIRGINIAN), too, Jake.


hnschipper, May 23, 2018 at 10:09 am

In my experience on RAGBRAI, most folks are not bedding for the night at 8:30. The bands usually play until 11:00 or later, so there are many who are not early to bed. The last band in Onawa starts playing at 8:30 and ends at 11:00. If you’re camped anywhere close to the main entertainment, you will hear it.

You can take your bag to the RAGBRAI truck on Sunday morning. There is no formal start – people will start leaving very early in the day and continue into the late morning hours. The official, designated riding hours begin at 6 am and end at 6 pm (this is when support vehicles will be out on the route.) RAGBRAI recommends that no biker start before sunrise or finish after 6 pm. You must have your baggage on the RAGBRAI truck no later than 8 am – the truck leaves at 8 and will not wait for you.


jwsknk, May 23, 2018 at 10:34 am

If you get to Onawa around 8 you better check now on the hours of the shipping company and are they putting your bike together or do you plan on doing that? Expo hours noon until 9pm, sunset about 8:45, find a place and get set up before 9-9:30 for sure. People will be rolling in all day, and into the night.


LawnchairMan, May 23, 2018 at 10:51 am

Official campground quiet time is either 9 pm or 10 pm depending where you look. Ragbrai website The Ride, General Information, Campgrounds says 9 pm. This used to be the same in the booklet we receive in our packets. The last few years, though, the booklet has said 10 pm. Personally I think it should stay at 9. I like to ride early, so early to bed too.
One thing I make sure to pack is ear plugs. I hadn’t realized how much they help. They make next tent talking sound 100 feet away, or the train that is half a mile seem three miles away. Not sure about Onawa, but Davenport will have trains!

I found out the hard way that SAG doesn’t start until 8 am and drives at 15 mph. I had to wait several hours to be picked up. An ambulance came earlier, but at the time I didn’t know how injured I was.


Nico ZZZ, May 23, 2018 at 11:48 am

I like to get in early, as the starting Saturday is magical to me. A town FULL of crazy cyclists who plan to ride across a state! I take some time to set up camp, tweak the bike, chat with tent neighbors, unwind with a cold beverage or two, walk to the Expo and check out all the trinkets and gear. A few of us like to find a local restaurant (scouted ahead on internet) to have a relaxing sit-down meal with silverware! You will have plenty of meals sitting on a curb with plastic forks during the week (and that is part of the Ragbrai magic as well).
Again, there is no one correct way to do Ragbrai, you define your week in the corn. But there is lots of good advice in these forums to help you prep for your version of Ragbrai. I will agree you should bring earplugs and I also bring an eye mask, in case you are near street lights, etc. There are fireworks about every night – I am guessing around 11pm, I don’t know because I am asleep at that time, but they wake me up even with earplugs and eye mask – again, part of the magic of Ragbrai!
#1 Best Advice that is stated every year a gazillion times on the Forums: Pack Light!
So, “Total Rookie” Jake, have a great week, and get ready to fall in love with Ragbrai!


jwsknk, May 23, 2018 at 11:54 am

Train in Ames too if you camp in Brookside, and Jefferson, and Denison. the same UP mainline that half the route follows along highway 30


Sergio Osuna, May 23, 2018 at 2:14 pm

You can drop off your bag Sunday morning. There is a deadline, however. I want to say that if your bag is not on the truck by 8 you’re on your own. Could be 9, not sure. Either way you want to find out about the time because that holds true for every morning of RAGBRAI.


bmyoungberg, May 23, 2018 at 9:24 pm

To clarify when i said 8:30, I meant many start getting into tents and get ready for bed. Many do stay up but are generally quiet. I have had no problems going to sleep early or later (i mix it up depending on how i feel, bands, etc). Earplugs are a must I agree. You will also figure out where to put your tent to avoid lights, noise, traffic, etc each day. Bags to truck by 8 i believe but most are there by 6:30 or 7. They weigh first day or two. Horn goes off a few minutes before truck door closes.


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