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Thoughts on pass through towns

Here is a list of possible pass through towns. This is my 2nd year of riding. Underwood, Hancock, Fontanelle, Greenfield, Orient, Macksburg, St. Charles, St. Marys, Wick, Milo, Lacona, Chariton, Russell, Mystic, Unionville, Paris, Drakesville, Bloomfield, Troy, Leando, Douds, Libertyville, Lockridge, Rome, Mt.Pleasant, New London, Lowell, Middletown, Wever, Fort Madison, Montrose, just my thought

17 Replies

genefruit, January 28, 2019 at 7:30 am

Here are my stabs at the entire route. Did they say what days were Karras and Gravel? I took guesses and will update the routes as they get announced.

Full route –
Karras loop – same as 2016 would make sense –
Gravel loop – based off 24 Hours of Cumming gravel race –


Ken Reed, January 28, 2019 at 7:50 am

Don’t forget about Marne on Sunday. Possibly Cumming and/or Norwalk on Tuesday.


Brady Bisgard, January 28, 2019 at 8:26 am

Winterset to Indianola is going to be interesting. They’re only 25 miles apart.


mootsman, January 28, 2019 at 8:29 am

The Karras loop they said would be on the Indianola-to-Centerville ride. Makes sense since that’s 78 miles already.

They did not say if there will be a gravel loop or not. I heard one of the last 2 years it was tough. Some hills were tough because road bikes did not have enough traction to make it up them on the gravel. I’d expect that if they have a gravel day they’d rethink the hills so road bikes don’t have the traction issues. KenH mentioned how tough it was. Maybe they decided the gravel wasn’t worth the trouble.


Jeff Hansen, January 28, 2019 at 8:46 am

They said day one will be the gravel loop


mootsman, January 28, 2019 at 8:57 am

It will be interesting then to see the vertical number on the gravel loop. I only did the very first gravel loop in 2015 and the hills were so gradual water wouldn’t run down them if it rained.


genefruit, January 28, 2019 at 9:11 am

Thanks! Revised gravel loop for day 1. Just a guess


Charles Leach, January 28, 2019 at 9:34 am

Done many multi day rides, but this RAGBRAI will be my first. Do they do an optional century on any of the days (say the short day with only 25 miles scheduled)? Looking forward to a Great Ride.


KenH, January 28, 2019 at 10:10 am

Charles, if you are new to RAGBRAI then the term “Karras Loop” means nothing to you. It is named after one of the two founders of the ride and it is an optional loop that brings the day’s ride up to a century. More or less. Some years they are a little short of a century but you can easily make that up if you want to. Other years they are a little generous. I believe that one year it was 112 for us but everyone’s century will be a little different depending on where your campgrounds are in the morning and evening towns on Karras Loop/century day. Another term you will see here that you need to become familiar with is kybo. A kybo is a porta-potty. People tell many fine stories about how it got that name….

Glad to hear there will be a gravel loop. I had not seen that mentioned in print and I did not hear it mentioned during the part of the live stream of the party that I watched. I had begun to fear they decided to drop it so I hope the report above that it was mentioned is accurate.

Last year’s gravel loop was quite difficult due to the hills and the fact that “gravel” surface had become quite chewed up by bicycle tires by the time I hit it. This revealed the underlying material which was very Loess-like (we were in the Loess hills after all). In other words SAND!! Going uphill was very difficult and I will (and have) admit(ted) to walking as many as a dozen of them. I had plenty of company with that. Going down you want to let ‘er rip of course to carry some momentum into the next hill but steering through that loose surface at high speed was, shall we say, interesting?! I don’t think it would be an exaggeration to say that it was an order of magnitude more taxing than any previous gravel loop.

Most likely this year’s gravel will be easier and much more suited to road bikes on narrow tires. If that is not true then I hope they at least warn us about it. Even though it defeated ME, last year’s loop clearly did not defeat many other people and because of that I DO NOT advocate that they never have a loop that challenging again. In fact I think they should, there is nothing wrong with having an optional challenge on this ride. Or two or three…. BUT, if they are going to go into this territory again then they should consider developing a rating scale so that those of us who are too old or otherwise limited to take on a challenge like that can decide in advance that discretion is the better part of valor.


jwsknk, January 28, 2019 at 10:35 am

heard the century loop will be around Lake Rathbun before Centerville


jwsknk, January 28, 2019 at 10:41 am

[quote quote=1298748]Winterset to Indianola is going to be interesting. They’re only 25 miles apart.[/quote] I think they list it as a 39 mile day. so party in Winterset and sleep til noon? Sure they won’t take us down HW 92, so St Charles, St Marys, Martinsdal, Prole maks sense, off route 9 miles up the trail to Cumming. But up to Cumming and Norwalk also makes about 40


jwsknk, January 28, 2019 at 3:36 pm

okay, i’ll give this a shot. Underwood, Hancock, *Oakland, Lewis. 2)Wiota, Cumberland, Fontanelle, *Greenfield, 3) St, Charles, St, Marys, *Martensdale, Prole. 4) Milo, Lacona, *Chariton, Millerton, Mystic, (century loop around lake Rathbun), 5) Rathbun, Moravia, Paris *Drakesville, Floris, Eldon (American Gothic house), Selma, Libertyville. 6) Lockridge, Rome, *Mt Pleasant, Mediapolis, Kingston. 7) Middletown, Lowell *West Point, Franklin, Donnellson, New Boston, Montrose. *meeting towns


Bikingaddict, January 28, 2019 at 5:19 pm

I rode last year’s gravel loop on a road bike and 25mm tires. Yes it was pretty sketchy in places and the hills were tough, but I never had to walk and I didn’t wipe out. There might have been some luck involved in that since I’m certainly not a great bike handler nor do I do much off-road riding. But if I can do it I’m sure that many other average cyclists can do it as well.

Each year I’ve done the gravel loop (all but the first year) has let me visit a hidden gem of a town that I would otherwise never ever see. I’m always exhausted and filthy when I finish and have multiple moments of “why did I do this?”. But I also enjoy the feeling of having accomplished something that the majority of riders chose to pass on.

So keep those gravel loops coming and don’t worry about taming them down (although an “official” report on the condition of the route would be a good thing).


Gypsy Rose, January 29, 2019 at 2:18 pm

[quote quote=1298763]Another term you will see here that you need to become familiar with is kybo. A kybo is a porta-potty. People tell many fine stories about how it got that name….[/quote]


“Back in the day,” one of the hot items on RAGBRAI was the KYBO t-shirt. When I’d arrive in the start town on the Friday before the ride started, the KYBO trucks would roll in and we’d rush over to get the shirt.

Here’s what the Register writes as background to the KYBO (Keep Your Bowels Open):

A local excavating and grading contractor, Steve Corell , came up with the name KYBO for portable toilets. He was one of the first businessmen in the city to deal in portable toilets and built them out of plywood for use by construction companies. When he started in the portable-toilet business, he said, similar operations were all based on the same word, “john,” and Corell wanted something different.
He recalled the term given to latrines when he was a young boy at camp, so called his old camp counselor to find out what “KYBO” meant.
The counselor said it stood for “Keep Your Bowels Open. ”
Corell then registered the term as a trademark, and the KYBO business hit the road running. One year, the word was the theme of poems, a song and a bicycle team on RAGBRAI, he said.
Several years ago he sold the business to the Satellite Co. of Minneapolis.
Since the flood, however, he has received dozens of phone calls inquiring about portable toilets. He checked with trademark registration and found that the KYBO trademark was never used by the Satellite people, and was dropped.
So he re-registered the trademark “KYBO.”


~ Kevin


Sandaltan ., January 29, 2019 at 2:55 pm

I am convinced that “KYBO” is an acronym for keep your bowels open. Regular movements have long been promoted as a requirement of good health. A coffee company recognizing this requirement named their coffee “KYBO Coffee” and advertised it as your morning starter fluid. The cans are collectors items on eBay and the more high class antique shops. Scouting used the cans to shelter rolls of toilet paper from the elements and thereby came the name KYBO for the privy at scout events. Here is more than any normal human needs to know about the term KYBO. Most of us, of course, are not looked on as normal by the non-biking community.



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