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Which Ride Will "Win"?

It should be an interesting Winter, with both rides attempting to attract riders. I believe that tradition will carry more weight than disatisfaction over editorial decisions, and RAGBRAI will continue to be successful.

107 Replies

Anonymous, October 18, 2019 at 3:48 pm

There’s only gonna be one ride…IOWAS RIDE! Your side doesn’t have a race director or marketing team. The other side is negotiating with towns and will have it all buttoned down in a month. Your side will still be spinning!


StevenLawyer, October 18, 2019 at 4:34 pm

I think momentum is with the Register. If I had to guess, I would say somewhere between 60 and 75 % of return riders will stick with Ragbrai. That said, the ones TJ naps will probably be enough for his ride to be a go. My hope would be that next year TJ schedules his ride for a different week than Ragbrai. In his interview, when asked why he scheduled it for the same week, he said because he thought people had already taken that week off. But, if that is the honest reason, then it only applies this year. There’s no reason why next year he shouldn’t set it for a different week. That would give those of us who could the opportunity to go twice across the state!


Larry Klaaren, October 18, 2019 at 5:27 pm

[quote quote=1312057]Your side doesn’t have a race director or marketing team. The other side is negotiating with towns and will have it all buttoned down in a month. Your side will still be spinning![/quote]

Or one group does all the organizing and route planning in one month or less (assuming they are honest in their remarks that they only recently began to work on this and did it all on their own time) . The other group takes three months to put together a ride and have some conversation with the town organizers and is able to do a more comprehensive job and consider alternative choices.
It could go different ways.


Ben There, October 18, 2019 at 5:30 pm

[quote quote=1312057]..The other side is negotiating with towns …![/quote]

Are the towns that “the other side” is negotiating with the same towns that former staff were working with as Ragbrai employees?
The answer to this question will shed light on the actions of the sanctimonious leaders of the “iowa’s ride”.
just sayin’ I hope they are not hijacking a route that was already being planned by Ragbrai employees.. it would be hard to feel good about “iowa’s ride” if this is the case.


Sandaltan ., October 18, 2019 at 6:15 pm

“Are the towns that “the other side” is negotiating with the same towns that former staff were working with as Ragbrai employees?” No, there has been no “negotiating”.
Seems to me that some two hundred letters go out to Iowa communities asking if they wish to host RAGBRAI as either an overnight or pass through town. Based on replies and communities that actively campaign for their selection a tentative route is mapped out known only two two people, the director and asst director. The route is driven…twice in early winter. A nasty job I imagine. No community is contacted in advance of the route announcement party the last Saturday in January. The Manhattan Project was less secret.



Carl Anderson, October 18, 2019 at 7:44 pm

I was not planning on doing Ragbrai for the next 3 years so I can do other states ride and they all take money. I would put money on Ragbrai on the long run, this is not the only time this has happened in Ragbrai history, where the Director got too big of a head.I Don’t believe either side at the moment and TJ ain’t angel. I don’t believe him. He was an employee of DMR. and the PR had every right to do what they did. And Don’t think other programs Directors are not busy putting their resume together so they can get the dream job of bicycle touring. Past history suggest TJ will have a couple of years of success, And the new director will have his hands full for a couple of years . I believe it us good for Ragbrai. Just like successful business and programs change in leadership is good so I believe Ragbrai will survive and be fresh with new ways of doing things.It might be smaller for a while but it will be here until DMR decide it is no longer a good pr tool for them. That’s the bottom line.


Sandaltan ., October 18, 2019 at 8:07 pm

People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals and you know it. From Men in Black.
Predicting peoples actions is risky business. Truman over Dewey and Trump over Clinton…both were a cinch to go the other way. Bikes to You out of Grinnell will run a charter and get this….many have asked for this… you a bicycle for the week!!!!



“Bicycle Bill”, October 18, 2019 at 8:40 pm

Sandaltan, check out this website — 
It does a pretty good job of telling the story too.

I forgot about the connection between the League of Wisconsin Wheelmen and the Sentinel on the first ride…. I shouldn’t have, considering I was a member of the League of American Wheelmen and later became a Life Member.


Sandaltan ., October 18, 2019 at 9:52 pm

Beebs: The link won’t work for me. My fault?
Forgot to say on the above post that the letters of interest go out in September.



Sandaltan ., October 18, 2019 at 10:00 pm

Beebs: I did a copy and go to and the link worked. Could not just click on the link. Thanks.



Nico ZZZ, October 19, 2019 at 7:33 am

I think some state rides outside of Iowa may “win.” I am already looking at the NC “Mountains to the Coast” ride, the Kentucky Bourbon ride, BRAG, the Cajun ride. Maybe need to let the dust settle over the cornfields of Iowa this season, and let the venom of the pro/con Register camps be spat upon each other for 2020.
I spend thousands every year to ride Iowa. When I explain to people who ask “why in the hell would you want to go to Iowa to ride your bike?” I tell them it is seven days of being surrounded by nice people: the riders and the townspeople. But the “nice” is being diluted, perverted and smashed apart by many who have used this Carson King event as an excuse to bombard cycling with their personal politics. That last week in July in Iowa was the one week where I DIDN’T have to be surrounded and bombarded with political hate-speech and partisanship. If Iowans want RAGBRAI Nation to make this about politics: “My side is better than your side, and if you disagree with me you are an idiot,” than I will ride another state.
If I chose to ride RAGBRAI this year, will I be jeered in towns by the pro-TJ Iowans, or if I ride the TJ ride will I get the same treatment from the opposing Iowa team of locals? I don’t need to spend my vacation time and money to be abused, everyone can find that locally! I will ride another state with cyclists NOT interested in any political statement or agenda.

Ride On!


Sandaltan ., October 19, 2019 at 8:17 am

Nico ZZZ: The Little Stoker and I have biked CNC twice years ago. Pack warm clothes for that first day in the mountains and rain gear. Both years it rained four of the seven days of the ride. Not just a sprinkle but rain…in the day…all day. There was a weather pattern that circled and picked up moisture over the ocean and dumped that moisture right on our bike ride! Be prepared.



KenH, October 19, 2019 at 9:27 am

RAGBRAI is not about the Register’s politics or editorial stances for me and it never will be. For the record I HATE both! But I don’t hate the Register or my fellow human beings who agree with them. Disagreements over politics are the heart and soul of a democracy as is handling them in a manner that allows us to remain united in one society.

TJ is trying to steal RAGBRAI and I am not going to support that.

If he were to expand BACOON into a week long ride instead, I would support that. If things turn out that he were to return as RAGBRAI director I would love that!

I do not support the notion that there will be red and blue versions of RAGBRAI next year if both rides come off as currently planned. RAGBRAI will be for everyone, as always. THIEFBRAI will be for, well, ….

I think much better of TJ than that. I hope he comes to his senses and comes up with a more honorable plan.


RDaryl Daryl, October 19, 2019 at 9:34 am

How many registered RAGBRAI riders have participated in the BACcooN ride ?
How many registered BACooN riders have participated in RAGBRAI ?
What the heck – how many people just ride bandit on both ?


Jboz, October 19, 2019 at 9:45 am

Ken, I respect your opinions but TJ isn’t tying to “steal RAGBRAI”. He sensed a shift in what many (but admittedly not all) riders are looking for, and he’s starting up a competing product to fill that need. There are scores of highly successful companies that were started up by former employees who took the leap to go head to head with their former employers. We use and enjoy these products every day. They didn’t steal…they competed. Take risks, raise the bar, innovate, execute. Succeed or fail. America!


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