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Was this year a bust?

I have only done three RAGBRAI rides, (one previous in the southern, and one in the central part of the state). Both previous years, the natives seemed to have welcomed RAGBRAI participants for the most part. Nonetheless, most of the natives along the route this year seemed to have loathed us. West Point and a few other towns had bicycle displays in their towns, but for the most part, an outsider never would have guessed a cycling tour was going through the designated route because there was very limited cycling garb along the route.

14 Replies

Cory Rood, July 29, 2019 at 5:36 am

NO way was it a bust. Some of the pass through towns were quite lackluster but other than that I had similar experiences to the last 2 years. Can’t wait to see where we go next year!


Kurt Hand, July 29, 2019 at 7:44 am

This was my third also and I thought it was good and similar to the previous two. Although I remember seeing more bike displays previously but that was special and shouldn’t be expected. How much work would you put into your own property if a bike ride, or something you weren’t into, was passing by one day?


mrbill3818, July 29, 2019 at 8:58 am

My point is I felt like none of the overnight towns went out of their way or stood out as being great. For as much money as it brings to the community, I would have thought they would want to standout and get reselected as an overnight town in the future.


KenH, July 29, 2019 at 9:42 am

I had a great time in every town I rode through and stayed in this year. From talking to the townspeople they seemed uniformly excited to have us come through. The people of Keokuk were particularly delighted as it has been so long. There were special things to do and see everywhere but generally not enough time to see them all. I had one bad experience from a minivan passenger who shouted something in an angry tone as the driver passed by me as close as he dared. I won’t mention the town since that behavior is not typical of any of them although there are some Iowans who’d rather we just left their state and their lives alone. It is easy to see that we are an enormous imposition on their daily lives and I guess if their daily lives are so close to perfection that our appearance for one day every few years really spoils that for them then I understand that and apologize for the bother. Most Iowans are happy to have us come by once in a while, however.

So what did this person say to me? I’d love to tell you but here is a word of advice to any Iowans who want to vent their feelings to riders in the years to come: enunciate! If I can’t understand what you said your point gets lost in the roar of your engine as you speed by….


turtlePacker, July 29, 2019 at 10:15 am

I think in general most people were friendly and happy to see us. I did notice a certain undertone of resentment in a few places – people who glared as we passed instead of the usual smiles. I chalk it up to the generally ugly political climate we’re all living through. Not pointing any fingers in any particular direction, just noting that resentment seems like the flavor of our time.


Brady Bisgard, July 29, 2019 at 10:25 am

I don’t believe so at all. I think some of that feeling comes from that fact that we went through some tiny towns on the last half of the week. Between Indianola and Burlington there were some of the smallest towns I’ve ever seen on RAGBRAI.


Allan Brecher, July 29, 2019 at 10:56 am

No , the people of Southern Iowa were generous and friendly. This was a success.


Dueywife, July 29, 2019 at 3:25 pm

I honestly thought this was the most beautiful route I’ve been on (7 full weeks completed). There were some rough roads (aren’t there always?) and some pass through towns felt less prepared than others, but overall welcoming. I felt like Geode State Park was a bust. One rider in our group thought there would be more and skipped the stop in the park.
I really appreciated the spray paint marking the bad roads and seeing crews out there warning riders and/or putting out cones. We were riding mostly later in the day behind the big crowd and didn’t see many down riders due to the timing of the day.
I also appreciated that on the last day there were signs along the entire route announcing that the road was going to be inundated by 15,000 cyclists and to pick other routes. Wish this was true for the entire route. Hats off to the community who prepared for us!
We also had very welcoming hosts throughout the week who were excited and inspired by us.
My biggest disappointment is that it was advertised as a 427 mile, 14,000′ climb week, but in all reality was 484 miles (no loops) and 18,000′ climb. The last day was 75 miles for us (from campground to dip site). Plus the mileage cards/stickers were off and varied greatly. It would be nice if they were honest in their advertising of the route distance. It would not deter us from riding, but help us to prepare and refocus our training.


Niles, July 29, 2019 at 3:38 pm

I had over 500 mile with only taking Karras Loop option. I thought I might forgot my biking computer. But I think it is duo to that our host families are away from the main camping ground.


Niles, July 29, 2019 at 3:57 pm

I always admire our hosts’ generosity regardless whether they own a MacMansion or a modest cottage. I really don’t understand the people who complaining their hosts not treating them royally with Ritz-Carlton. It reminds a rookie in our team a couple years ago who complained to RAGBRAI about a host family’s bathroom. It remains one of the team’s joke.


glen gallo, July 29, 2019 at 6:48 pm

In my opinion far from it. I ate pie, ice cream, watermelon. I drank cold lemonade, ice tea and beer.

Im found the locals warm and welcoming and had many pleasant conversations along the way.

I was offered free watermelon, water, beer and lodging but most of all hospitality and friendship

with forgetting the rain of the first day which most did quickly the weather was close to perfect

I enjoyed it and found it a success


Jeff Rogers, July 30, 2019 at 4:43 pm

WOW! This was my first RAGBRAI and I found the Iowan’s to be great! I guess I’ll really be impressed next time I get to do RAGBRAI.

I found the roads to be, well, roads.

The only thing I can be critical of was the Geode State Park detour.


David, July 30, 2019 at 5:44 pm

It was a great year. While there are always some rough patches on the roads there were no super long sections that were horrible.

Saw far more people handing out free cold water this year. The water bottle fill stations were also easy to find. Lots of churches and local entities with food, even in some of the tiny, almost non-towns usually had something.

I enjoyed the less standard roads of the final days. It is nice to show that Iowa has a few roads besides straight farm to market roads.


Brian, July 30, 2019 at 8:57 pm

I thought this was the best music lineup in the 13 years I have ridden and that is even after “Here Come the Mummies” had to cancel in Winterset.

The pass through towns the past few years seem to focus on selling stuff and less on entertaining. I miss goofy things like the motorized toilet races in Belle Plaine, Bathtub races in Manson, toilet tosses, skillet throwing, egg joust, petting zoos, etc… The only pass through town that stood out negatively for me was Wiota.

There seemed to be more free water and beer than ever on the route this year.

The weather was decent after Sunday (could last year’s weather ever be beat?) The roads were decent for the most part, Lacona was selling homemade pies for $1 a slice, people were friendly…

Overall, I thought it was a great ride!


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