The Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa

Solo first timer in need of charter recommendations!

Hello!
I am a 25 year old grad student from Minnesota having trouble navigating all the team and charter options. I am first time Solo Rider looking for a fun, easy-going, laid back team/charter maybe with some younger members.
Any advice or recomendations would be greatly appreciated!
Thanks
Allison

8 Replies

George A, April 12, 2017 at 2:15 pm

It depends on what is important to you. There are charters that handle everything, but for a price. Others provide the bare minimum but give you the sense of being in group instead of completely on your own as when you use the Registers trucks to haul your gear. You may be able to find a smaller charter or team that has a younger average age. If having more people your age is important I would probably stay away from the larger charters that give you everything under the sun for amenities. The average age of those groups tend to be older. If age is not as important I think the larger, more established Charters make it very easy for first time riders. With that being said I think using a Charter, or going with a team, would make sense for a first timer. It takes out some of the logistical issues that you would otherwise have to deal with on your own.

While I currently ride with a small team of about 25 I personally have used Brancel in the past and would recommend them to anyone without hesitation.

Realize that no matter what group you go with you may end up meeting many people during the day that become a group all it’s own.

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KenH, April 12, 2017 at 3:03 pm

Last year was my first year with a charter, fifth year on RAGBRAI. I normally ride with a small team but they all bailed on my last year so I was alone. I went with the Riverbend Club/Charter and got the shuttle ride from end town to start town as well as the week long baggage service. They were fun, easy going, laid back, thorough, and efficient. Everything I could want and reasonably priced. Were they young? You bet! But then I am around 40 years older than you so our perspectives will differ on that! 😉 But they did have some younger members even by your standards so I think they could work very well for you. I recommend them to anyone and I would use them again if I get ditched again. There are many RAGBRAI charters and Riverbend is one of the good ones. I’m not sure that there are any bad ones, haven’t heard any bad reports….

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GeorgeKline, April 12, 2017 at 3:13 pm

I went with Out Of Staters charter the last 3 years, good group not a lot of extras. I had contacted Brancel and they were extremely responsive to my inquiry, but decide on OOS charter because friends were using them. There were younger riders with this charter, but on RAGBRIA the majority of riders are 50-60 somethings and the charters reflect the trend as I have observed. Charters or teams are a great way to go for a first timer, hope you find a group that suits you.

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Sam, April 12, 2017 at 3:47 pm

25 I would probably try to find a team, I know there are several from Minny. I’d ask around at the local bike shops, or search online.

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bmyoungberg, April 17, 2017 at 10:36 pm

I ride as a solo and just use the truck. It is super easy and I did not have to pay extra for someone to put up a tent (takes 5-10 minutes) and provide some breakfast (I stop at Caseys or whatever). I was able to always camp very close to the truck so easy to use. You can do what you want, when you wan; Enjoyed the flexibility.

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Tom Young, April 29, 2017 at 8:58 am

Bike World, in Des Moines, does a nice job with a charter with various levels of service. http://bikeworldiowa.com/articles/ragbrai-charter-information-pg85.htm

Disclaimer. I am in no way connected with Bike World in terms of financial remuneration and/or ownership. However, I am a satisfied customer for the last 39 years.

#1261912

AlwaysaHawkeye, May 1, 2017 at 12:39 pm

Last year was my first time. I am 51 and came from Atlanta with my neighbor (we are both from Iowa). We also had another group of 8 come as well. We did Pork Belly Ventures and loved it. There were people of all ages and we met lots of fun people. It was not too rowdy. I don’t ever remember being woken up at night by disruptive campers. The tent was a little small for 2 women with 2 air mattresses and 4 big duffels and that we paid for extra’s we really didn’t need (preferred going into town vs the entertainment they provide and didn’t care about catered meals as there is always lots of food in the town). The hot showers are awesome but know they also serve riders from others groups and there is no designated line for the PBV people which was disappointing. Loved the free beer truck and having our tent set up with our duffels inside when we arrived. After hitting the Iowa Craft beer tent at the end of the day, I’m not sure I would have been very motivated to do that myself HAHA! We are considering others this year as well.

This reply was modified 2 years, 3 months ago by  AlwaysaHawkeye.

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Katie, May 1, 2017 at 1:50 pm

I have in the past gone with a group. The last two years I went with a charter. Omens Charter totally disappointed. Last year went with Pork Bellies. I chose to use my own tent. Like you really didn’t care for the entertainment they had. Uptown is always good. Bunch of us would get together and play cards or what not. They do have separate line for nonmembers. And usually there only using about three showers give an take. The price I thought were competitive. Liked the idea of knowing where we were going to be at. And usually not far from the advents downtown.

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