The Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa

Sense of travel logistics

This will be our first Ragbrai ride. Would like to acquaint myself with logistics from those who have ridden. This is being asked by someone is travelling from afar by car. To minimize the vast requirement for parking, is driving to the starting point discouraged? Is it encouraged to find other rider/driver from outlying area willing to share a ride to the starting area? Upon completion of the ride, are there services to bring bike, gear and ‘us’ back to the starting area? Does it make more sense to leave your vehicle at the destination, and finding a ride to the starting point. Appreciate any input. Nothing is obvious till it’s obvious…

5 Replies

T. Gap Woo, November 4, 2018 at 8:53 am

Welcome to the traveling carnival/state fair/Mardi Gras known as Ragbrai, Mike!

I write from the perspective of someone who drives about 1300 miles to the start town. I ride solo and Mrs Woo is my support driver. While I am biking (which I love), Mrs Woo zigs and zags along a parallel route, sightseeing and shopping in the small towns (which she loves). We meet at the day’s overnight town and repeat the process the next day. It’s worked well for the five years I’ve ridden. As the old saying goes, “Happy wife, happy life!”

If you have no support driver because everyone in your party is riding, then this forum will be overflowing with good advice that will address all of your concerns.

Good luck with your planning and preparation. Have a happy holiday season.

See you along the I-O-Way next year.


Dizzy, November 4, 2018 at 10:17 am

MikeMa, Welcome.
The options for your inquiry are endless.
I prefer to station my car at the end town. That puts me on the east side of Iowa and closer to home. If I lived west of Iowa, I would station my car at the start town.
There are endless options for getting a ride from east to west/west to east, or somewhere in between, both before and after the ride.
A suggestion: 1) go to the RAGBRAI site menu bar, click on “The Ride” tab. Then read everything under the “General” and “Services” tabs. You’ll be much more informed; 2) after step 1, look on the right of the “Forums” page under “Categories”, open the “RAGBRAI XLVI – 2018” forum and spend some time reading through a couple pages worth of comments. You can also search the forums by words, e.g., “rides”, “parking”, etc; 3) after steps 1 & 2, you’ll have a good feel for things and can then comb through all the replies to your original inquiry.
Best of luck. See you in July! D


lhansen, November 4, 2018 at 12:12 pm

Its easier to park in the ending town, around May 1 that town will allow you to buy long term parking pass for the week you are riding. To get you and the bike across Iowa to the beginning town there are multiple charter services that will take you and help support you thru the week also. I have used Brancel Bike Charter for the last 5 years and am very happy with them. The Forum will become more active after January 26 when the overnight towns are made public. Good to see you trying Ragbrai, be careful though, it can be addicting, I was going to try it once 8 times ago.


Larry Klaaren, November 4, 2018 at 4:28 pm

One advantage to parking in the end town is that when you are done you can go directly home rather than waiting for everyone else to make it to your charter, then riding to the start and waiting for luggage etc. Depending on where you live you may also have to triangulate if you ride back to the start. I really enjoy the ride, but I am ready to be done by Saturday afternoon.


KenH, November 6, 2018 at 5:24 pm

Even if you don’t want to use a charter service during the week most of them have bus service from the end town to the start town at the start of the ride that will transport your bike and gear too. It’s a great option and if you prefer to park at the start town and get a shuttle back there at the end that service may be offered too but check to be sure.

Teams are another option, they all have their own logistical strategies. Researching them will give you something to do over the winter!


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