RAGBRAI XLIX registration is now open!

Selling on Route

This is the first year we have ever attempted this and we really any help/info you could give us.

The questions we have come up with so far:

I have a retail tax permit but not sure of the food establishment license. Is it needed along the road and how do they inspect if you set up that morning?

Any ideas what are good sale items?

We are about 5 miles before the overnight stop, do you think people will still stop or just wait

Any feedback would be awesome. It’s my grandkids and I going to do it


12 Replies

Dizzy, January 28, 2018 at 4:50 pm

Hello Linda,
I’m replying as a representative of one out of 10,000-ish opinions and only commenting on your location and potential sales. If it’s been a rainy day, there’s no way I’m stopping w/just 5 miles to go. If it’s been sunny, especially if it’s hot, then I might stop for liquids, e.g., water, Gatorade-type liquid, freeze pops, etc. I would never stop for food that close to the end unless there’s some kitschy reason to grab my attention.

Your distance from the last pass-through town also comes into play. If it’s a ways back, then that increases your odds of me stopping.

Best of luck to you and your grandkids. D


mootsman, January 28, 2018 at 5:11 pm

Better check with RAGBRAI itself. It takes more then a retail permit to set up along the route. In addition to clearing it with RAGBRAI you need to get permission of the property owners including any government entity that owns any park/school/etc you might want to use. I knew someone who wanted to do this but all the permits (much > 1) made it cost prohibitive.


Linda Van baale, January 28, 2018 at 5:46 pm

Thanks so much for your response. We had been debating Gatorade, water, fruit and fruit cups so far.


Linda Van baale, January 28, 2018 at 5:48 pm

True Moot. I do have a retail tax permit but need to get the food license

We are on a country road right by where they will pass so I was going to contact the 2 homes that are on the corners


Leslee Hansen, January 28, 2018 at 9:46 pm

I would stop for Gatorade and fruit cup


bearpath, January 28, 2018 at 9:58 pm

At that mileage? $1 pickles.


Chris Miller, January 29, 2018 at 6:40 am

I have two years on RAGBRAI so far….I have often wondered about whether some vendors wind up with a life time supply of something or other having set up in the wrong place. Here a couple of observations…set up on the right side of the road (the left being the higher speed cyclists and it is often not as easy to just pull off)….never set up on a hill either up or down….never set up on the immediate other side of a pass through town (folks have resupplied, filled up and are intent on making some miles)…set up signs in advance of your location to let people know you will be there and what you are offering. Grand kids would be both good family and marketing effort.
I know a vendor who sold sandwiches along the way….they were visited by inspectors more than once although it escapes me how the inspectors got there.
Just my potentially ill informed thoughts.


mootsman, January 29, 2018 at 10:06 am

Selling food means you need to get on the list for each jurisdiction’s health department inspections. That’s what blew up the cost model for the guy I know who wanted to sell along the route. Talk to RAGBRAI about the requirements for being a RAGBRAI vendor.


scottonbike, January 29, 2018 at 4:48 pm

Interesting, I have seen church, kids groups just ask for a donation. Christopher Miller nailed the location.


Denton Kernodle, January 29, 2018 at 5:34 pm

I suggest that if you are close to an over night town, you set up on the morning side of town. That way you can sell breakfast items. I remember that breakfast (coffee) is the hardest thing to find.


Tim Tysver, January 29, 2018 at 6:15 pm

Since all the stop over towns can be entered from let’s say three directions, probably not from the east, how can you predict being on the route?


Linda Van baale, January 29, 2018 at 10:04 pm

Thanks for the suggestions guys. They haven’t told route yet so we aren’t making a decision yet. We are about 5 miles before one of the overnight towns so are not sure people would stop so close to the overnight town


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