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Suggestions for bringing family…

I know this is a long shot, but…..

My family and I would like to do RAGBRAI this summer… specifically I would be the rider (would be my 4th) and then we would all camp together.

I know I can get them three non rider passes at the expo and other places, so that seems easy.
I feel reasonably confident that I can secure a rider wrist band.

My question is more about the vehicle…we don’t technically qualify for a vehicle pass as far as I read the rules. Maybe that doesn’t matter if I buy one second hand? Is there some way to accomplish using our van this so that we are “legit?”

PS…. Next year planning on all riding together, just too short notice for this year.

Thanks for any help or guidance.


8 Replies

KenH, June 20, 2017 at 10:09 am

To qualify for a vehicle pass when you register you need to register as a team with at least three team members. Non-riders count for the purpose of getting to the requirement of three team members. It would be unusual to have a team of three non-riders and one rider but I don’t know that it would violate the rules and prevent you from getting a vehicle pass.

The rules for qualifying for a vehicle pass after registration is closed are different. Basically you have to find someone who is selling one and you have to be the first in line to offer to buy it! So, if you can find one, go for it. Vehicle passes and wristbands can be transferred to their new owners officially by means of a special section of the Registration page on this website. If you can find a vehicle pass for sale and snag it before anyone else does you are good to go.

Other options would be to hook up with a team that still has slots open or a charter. My own small team may be losing one of our three current riders and we were planning to split the driving of a small (21 foot) class C motorhome between us which will be a real chore if there are only two of us. If one of your three non-riders this year is an adult who can drive a motorhome you can contact me privately and maybe we could arrange something for you. And there will be others in broadly similar situations you could hook up with.


Mark Bauman, June 20, 2017 at 5:16 pm

Thank you, Ken. Appreciate your comments here (and in other posts too). Also appreciate the motorhome idea, but my driver isn’t comfortable handling that kind of vehicle.

I’m waiting on a few other inquiries, but for anyone who reads this- if you’re looking to sell a vehicle pass I’ll take it (and willing to pay above face value).

Best wishes,


Karen Nelson, June 22, 2017 at 7:58 am

In the same situation – I didn’t think we qualified for a vehicle pass since there is only two riders and myself. I am wanting to stay positive about this experience – but am finding it overwhelming.


KenH, June 22, 2017 at 8:51 am

No problem, Mark. I’m talking with some folks and hope to find someone soon but until I have a bird in hand I keep inviting those in the bush too! You can contact Pork Belly Ventures about a rider wristband if you cannot find one on your own. They have customers who need to drop out and others who are on their waiting list to get in but they say that every year they have more sellers than buyers so you should be able to get a rider wristband from them.

Unfortunately for you, Mark and Karen, most of their customers were planning to use them as a charter and therefore would not have vehicle passes to sell. Some of their customers use only their shuttle bus service from end town to start town and while it is a lot less likely, some of them might have vehicle passes to sell too. You can ask, they are nice folks who will help you and their customers with passes to sell if they can.

I will try to get back to you both to see where you are if this should happen but my “nuclear option” for this year is to bag the motorhome, sell the passes, and go with a charter or the Register baggage trucks. That is NOT my plan at the moment but life is life and plans change.


Sunflower, June 27, 2017 at 2:18 pm

Don’t stress Karen.

Iowa’s roads are open to the public and things will work out with or without a vehicle pass in some way and next year you can approach it knowing what you learned this year. Nobody wants anyone getting overwhelmed by the process of getting out on the ride.

It will work out.


KenH, June 27, 2017 at 2:57 pm

Just so I don’t leave either of you hanging and hoping in vain, my team’s medical issue seems to have sorted itself out in a way that leaves all of us coming along as originally planned. So I don’t expect to be selling my RV pass this year. Good luck and if you have to, take Sunflower’s advice. I don’t know how much trouble you will find at the official campgrounds without a pass but most likely $20 a night will find you someone who will let you park out front or in the driveway. Maybe even showers for your team and an outdoor outlet you can use. Breakfast and a hug before you head out the next morning? No guarantees but it IS Iowa!

In fact, one thing you can do is to contact the RAGBRAI host committees in every overnight town via their websites and see if they can help you arrange overnight camping/parking/etc with local families.


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