RAGBRAI LI July 20 -27, 2024

Self Supported (Bagger) info

Hi all,
This year will be my 4th RAGBRAI and I’m looking for a new way experience the event. I’ve done the team thing for my first two RAGBRAIs and used a charter for my third. This year I’m thinking of going self-supported. I’ve done short bike tours myself, but RAGBRAI is its own entity. So, I’m wondering if there are any good informational websites, FB groups, etc for anything regarding riding self-supported (recommendations, personal experiences, etc). Are there any”bagger groups or teams” to join?

41 Replies

garywilk, February 24, 2022 at 9:38 am

Several stops along the way always has small snacks and even sometimes handing out free ones. You can always find finger food, a hard boiled egg, all types of fruit, small breakfast burrito or other small items. Same for lunch with a sample of lunch type items for a few dollars. But a favorite is later on stop for a beer and a skinless brat usually at the 2nd craft beer stop. There are so many local and traveling vendors that you will never go hungry. One not is to always carry two water bottles. One would likely be enough but most of the towns have free water set up usually coming out of a pipe off of a fire hydrant. usually looks like 30 water fountains lined up. Always taste it before filling both bottles. There is usually one or two towns every year that the water taste like it cam out of the sewer line. You will be glad you still have one full one with good water or go back into town and buy a bottled water.


Jeremy Hase, February 25, 2022 at 8:29 pm

Thanks for the reply. Finding a location at the end of the day would probably be my main obstacle with the throngs of people, but not huge issue. I do like the idea of pitching a tent in one of the towns beyond the overnight towns.


Jeremy Hase, February 25, 2022 at 8:37 pm

Thanks for the replys. Finding a location at the end of the day would probably be my main obstacle with the throngs of people, but not huge issue. I do like the idea of pitching a tent in one of the towns beyond the overnight towns. How about riding the route at night?…unless that would be considered poor form on Ragbrai. My thought on riding self-supported is to negate the use of the bag truck.


Kerry kohl, February 26, 2022 at 10:03 am

I guess the fact that we’d be self supported which allows us to “pick and choose” our campsite is of great advantage. Sometimes just asking someone if you can camp in their yard is possible. Once someone gets to know you in Iowa they turn out to be a friend for life. I still try and keep in contact with people I’ve met even 15 years ago. Some of these I’ve never met but still we seem like friends. I’m going to go out on a limb here, but I’m going to coin a new(?) term here and call us “Ragbaggers”. Still working on a place to meet before the ride.


ajjennissen, February 26, 2022 at 8:57 pm

Hi first time RAGBRAI rider here. Going self-contained as well. Would love to meet up before hand :)
Also does anyone know how viable hammocking is for sleeping? Do the campgrounds have good trees?


direwolf, February 27, 2022 at 9:31 pm

For those of you deciding how much food and water to haul, please see multiple harangues on the Forum thread about shut down times. There are many reports of the Iowa State Patrol enforcing shut down times, including prohibition of sales of food and water, both on the streets and in convenience stores.

Many RAGBRAI official campsites are open fields, with a few trees on the periphery. Tree sites get occupied very early in the day, usually by a set-up crew that arrived in a truck, and often populated by a clanky generator. A discerning hammock campaigner may find “a place to hang” in smaller city parks, possibly with picnic shelters, or in the dugouts of baseball complexes.

Riding at night is one of the sublime pleasures of life on the terrestrial plane.


Dan Deluhery, March 1, 2022 at 10:09 am

Don’t overpack, unless you are hauling beer. I have had more beer and ice packed than what some riders bikes weighs,
Showers are simple, find the swimming pool or a garden hose
food is everywhere
take ear plugs for sleeping
camping spots are everywhere, knock on a door and ask. Iowa is safe, just get permission
just get on your bike and ride, the small things will all work out
“if you can lift your bike (bike, bags and gear) over your head at the river, you are not doing Ragbrai right!


ajstenner, March 3, 2022 at 6:10 pm

Hey y’all. Self Supported, first time rider of RAGBRAI here. Coming from the West Side of Chicago. Years of experience in single day endurance riding, but never a multi day rider – excited for the new frontier.
Kerry – I just checked the website’s general info page and it states there is indeed a semi truck that will be available at 8am at each main campground for dropping off your bags, and at the upcoming main campground for pickup.
I’m not sure if I will go 100% self supported – I may train for such, but if it makes the most sense I may use that semi-truck service. I won’t have a dedicated support vehicle, for sure. Anyway.
Interested to 1) get in touch with any other Chicagoland based riders 2) meetup with fellow baggers.


Kerry kohl, March 3, 2022 at 8:17 pm

The baggage truck usually goes to the main campground where people grab their gear and sling it over their handlebars and search for an open piece of land. My suggestion is to have a rack(s) on your bike and use panniers that would fit into an army duffel bag so as to be somewhat contained. That way one could attach your panniers to the bike and search for a possibly better camping spot away from the noise/crowds. I will try to not use the baggage truck if possible, but it would be tempting on the longest days. We’ll still try to meet up. I am open to suggestions. Remember guys/gals….. There’s no such thing as too far….just lack of time.


ajjennissen, March 3, 2022 at 8:23 pm

Thanks for the tips! I’ll have to look out for parks and such as the time draws nearer or possibly tag along with some fellow baggers going a few towns up the road


ederdn, March 4, 2022 at 1:51 pm

I did my fifth RAGBRAI last year–the first one self-supported. Got a lot of great advice and info from “direwolf” (above) and even managed to meet up with his crew on the route. Bagging again this year. My riding buddy and I got enough of the overnight towns and crowds the first four times, so we really enjoyed the freedom of not having to mess with them. You can pack lighter than you think. We did make stop at a post office two days in and mailed back a package of stuff we realized we weren’t going to need. There’s probably going to be either a WalMart or Dollar General in almost every town you pass through. Don’t pack what you can buy. For example, we took T-shirts, shorts and underwear we didn’t mind throwing away rather than rewashing. Bonus this year: If you’re not up to riding the full 100 on Wednesday, you can create your own. day.


Kerry kohl, March 19, 2022 at 8:59 pm

Well, it’s good to share the information which some of us have gleaned for previous rides we’ve done. Not to detract for all the previous comments but what type of bike/gear are you guys using. Mine will be a mid- eighties Fuji, Tubus racks, Ortlieb bags. Hoping the freewheel and the bike will hang together. A bit of a search sometimes for 27″ tires. Makes life interesting. Quote of the day…. “If you say you can you’re right…If you say you can’t you’re right”. Henry Ford


Joseph Schlau, March 20, 2022 at 6:56 am

“If you say you can you’re right…If you say you can’t you’re right”. Henry Ford

Ford’s words, however inspiring they seem in the 21st century, are tarnished in the light of his ideological and technical association he and his company had with another dark dictator who rampaged across Europe in the 20th century.


Kamw, March 22, 2022 at 9:01 am

Hi this is my first time and I am coming from Northern Wisconsin, I plan on using the support truck and take it easy I hope. I have plenty of bike packing and bike touring experience I am out ther every year. I am doing a five day gravel bike packing tour in June so I think it will be nice to take a load off for this ride. I also do several one and two overnight rides every year.


direwolf, March 22, 2022 at 11:47 pm

Ederdn (above) is far too kind. He and his tour mate, Jack, needed exactly zero advice from me. They had their tour game refined to within a gnat’s ass of perfect. They embodied my central theme of RAGBRAI: riding self-contained is just EASIER.

Kerry Kohl: You already know everything you need to know about this topic. Road bike technology has, I guess, progressed markedly over the last decade or so. Tour bike technology, however, hasn’t gotten much past mid-eighties Fuji, especially if decked with Tubus. My advice: worry about something else, e.g. climate change or WWIII. Oh, and my other advice: haul spare spokes.


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