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RAGBRAI Route Inspection Pre-Ride Recap Day 1 – Sergeant Bluff to Ida Grove

  • 14 June, 2022

Last week we rode the 17th annual Route Inspection Pre Ride! We rode the 2022 RAGBRAI XLIX route exactly as riders will this coming July – starting on a Sunday and riding through to Saturday. In years past, we had blogged about each day’s ride on the day that we rode. This year we decided to focus on working with the communities, and truly inspecting the road conditions and accuracy of the maps. We’re all home and rested up (and have consistent internet access) so this post kicks off our series of blogs detailing each and every day of the 2022 RAGBRIA Route Inspection Pre Ride – and what you can expect on your journey in July! You should see our tan lines. Be sure to wear sunscreen, even when it’s cloudy!

Sergeant Bluff

Sergeant Bluff RAGBRAI’s theme is Get A Little Bluff on Your Tires! #BluffOnTheTires

We started the week by driving out to Sergeant Bluff on Saturday, June 4, and dipping our tires in the Missouri! This is not always possible on RAGBRAI routes due to the limited number of towns actually on the Missouri River. While Sergeant Bluff is not DIRECTLY on the river, it is really darn close. In the coming weeks, Sergeant Bluff will have a tire dip route/location set for you. Please stay tuned!

While in Sergeant Bluff your entertainment for the evening will include:

12:00 – 2:00 Placid Quake

2:30 – 4:30 Smokin’ Clams

5:00 – 7:30 Wrecked Becky

8:00 – 11 Above the Covers

Above the Covers

Looking for Housing? Sergeant Bluff RAGBRAI Housing Connection: https://www.facebook.com/groups/533312911515304/

For more information on Sergeant Bluff’s RAGBRAI plans, visit their page on our site: Sergeant Bluff RAGBRAI

Follow on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Sergeant-Bluff-RAGBRAI-2022-110453118246713



Our festivities in Sergeant Bluff will also include the RAGBRAI Expo!

Free and open to the public, the RAGBRAI Expo will showcase our official bike shops, bicycle/component manufacturers from around the country, travel and tour operators, and retailers associated with the cycling industry.

Over 80 exhibitors will feature product demonstrations, the latest in cycling gear and apparel, tour and travel destinations, health and nutritional information and much more!

Stop by the RAGBRAI trailers for the latest in official RAGBRAI merchandise and apparel, and the RAGBRAI Outlet Tent to check out some great deals. Check back in March for a list of exhibitors that will attend the Expo this year.


Kicking Off Day 1 of Riding – Sergeant Bluff to Ida Grove

Seventeen riders gathered on the overcast but beautiful June morning in Sergeant Bluff to kick off the 17th annual RAGBRAI Route Inspection Pre-Ride. We kept our numbers smaller this year and each rider had a specific contribution to bring to the Route Inspection. We had a Des Moines Register journalist and photographer; experts in GPS mapping, restaurant and bar management during RAGBRAI, and pass through town logistics; and representatives from EMS services, law enforcement, Iowa Bicycle Coalition, Ride Right, BikeIowa.com, Murphology Podcast, and of course, RAGBRAI. Thanks to those who joined us for their hard work and camaraderie during the week!

The 2022 RAGBRAI route is approximately 462-miles with 12,945 feet of climb, and will be the first since 1984 to feature a 100-mile Century Day, instead of an optional added-mileage loop. After the Route Inspection we will review our GPX files and notes, make some updates, and post the final maps and routes online.

Day One’s ride was 52.8 miles with approximately 2,545 feet of climb. On our way from Sergeant Bluff to Ida Grove, we visited Bronson, Anthon (Meeting Town), and Battle Creek. Click this text for a map of the first day of RAGBRAI XLIX.

During Sunday of RAGBRAI XLIX we will hold the Mile of Silence. The Mile of Silence is to remember riders we have lost. Please observe a moment of silence as you ride this mile – exact location TBD. There will be signs to mark it along the route. Thank you to the Iowa Bicycle Coalition for providing the signage.

Day One of RAGBRAI XLIX Is also the day when we will celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the Air Force! Click this text for more information about the Anniversary. Besides the many obvious reasons to celebrate the Air Force, the Air Force Cycling Team on RAGBRAI is notorious for helping cyclists in need, especially with flat tires. Thanks Air Force for all you do!

As you can see from the elevation numbers, the Day One ride is quite hilly, as we cross over the legendary Iowa Loess Hills (pronounced LUSS). Those of you who are seasoned RAGBRAI riders will know what this means to you and your legs. To those who aren’t familiar, the Loess Hills are large soil deposits formed during Iowa’s Ice Age … AKA large rolling hills on our northwestern border. While stunningly beautiful, they are a notorious cycling obstacle. Click this text to learn more about the Loess Hills (opens a link to a .pdf). 

Follow this link to check out Des Moines Register Photographer Bryon Houlgrave’s photos from Day One of the Pre Ride!

Check out Des Moines Register Reporter Philip Joens’ article covering the kick-off of the Route Inspection! 



Bronson’s theme is Fuel Up Before the Hills! Follow their City page on Facebook to keep up with their RAGBRAI plans – just click this text!

Bronson has a fantastic City Park on the way into town – don’t miss the tiny replica of the Bronson train depot!

We also enjoyed a stop at the Bronson Bar – it was here we discovered how cool our Primal Wear reflective jerseys are!

True to their theme, Bronson will also host a variety of breakfast vendors. In addition to the bar, their football team will be serving burritos, and the church and fire department will have breakfast options. There will also be a few outside vendors, but we like to support local!



Anthon’s theme is A Good Shuckin’ Time! Follow their page on Facebook to keep up with their RAGBRAI plans – just click this text!

They will have a beer garden and DJ on Main Street. They’ll also have 18+ vendors including the Sports Club, American Legion, and a variety of food trucks. We had a refreshing lunch at Fireside Steakhouse and Lounge downtown.

As we rode out of Anthon, 92 year-old Bettina led us out of town on her trike. What a treat! Video: https://fb.watch/dEKcRg8jUM/


Battle Creek

Just before we reached Battle Creek, we stopped at a philanthropist family farm – on the ride they will host a variety of non-profit vendors! Just be careful when you stop here, it’s on the left side of the road and at the crest of a tall hill.

Battle Creek’s main festivities will focus on the downtown at the intersection of Main and 2nd. Vendors will include the local church, a beer garden at the Fire Station, the Bank, and the Inn at Battle Creek. The Inn is a gorgeous Victorian inn and will offer some of their famous homemade pie. When we asked them which kind of pie was their best – they said ALL OF THEM! Unfortunately they are booked for the week of RAGBRAI but they will offer tours, a wide variety of pies and snacks, and a shady place to rest.


Ida Grove

The City of Ida Grove is excited to welcome RAGBRAI riders and support personnel to our unique, charming and welcoming community.  Our residents are thrilled that you’ll be able to experience everything that our city has to offer and that you will be able to call Ida Grove “home” for your first night during your journey across the great state of Iowa.

The community is busy planning to make your stay in Ida Grove enjoyable and memorable!

Ida Grove’s theme is Knights of the Round Table – and appropriately so as their town is filled with castles! Be sure and stop to take a photo op… or five!


While in Ida Grove your entertainment for the evening will include:

2:00 – 4:30 Neil Anders and the Brothers Merritt

Neil Anders and the Brothers Merritt is a new collaboration featuring singer-songwriter Neil Anders (guitar/lead vocals), Greg Merritt (bass), Jake Merritt (drums), and Jay Schneider (Keyboard/guitar). Neil and the Merritt’s have performed in various capacities and groups—most notably with the Jay Clyde Band. Jay Schneider is a multi-instrumentalist/artist based in Des Moines whose unique range and prowess has been featured on a host of diverse projects in central Iowa and abroad.

Neil plans to release his second studio album later this year with the help of this new lineup. True to style, the second album features songs that represent a broad range. From stripped down acoustic tracks that reflect his country/folk roots to modern indie-rockers that display the raw talent of the Merritt brothers and Schneider. The soon to be released new album’s lyrical themes touch a host of topics including life, relationships, and fatherhood—converging on a reconciliation with the past towards a hopeful future.

In addition to Anders’ originals, you can expect a diverse repertoire at shows highlighting the versatility of the band. Set lists have something for everybody, incorporating the beloved classics of older rock, folk, blues, and country music with newer hits of today.

5:00 – 7:30 Damon Dotson

Damon Dotson is a singer/songwriter based out of Des Moines, IA; originally from Okoboji, IA. Dotson has opened for legendary performers like BB King, Willie Nelson, The Beach Boys, Huey Lewis and The News, as well as modern artists like Matt Nathanson, The Band Perry, Edwin McCain, and The Lone Bellow. He has recently been named Des Moines’s “Best Local Musician” for 2022 by City View Magazine. An honor he as won multiple times over the past six years. Dotson has sustained his career for 15 years including the release of four original albums, one of which, his latest release of Tumblin’ reached #24 on the iTunes Rock charts. He has done this all with no label or management.

8:00 – 11:00 Not Quite Brothers

Not Quite Brothers

Not Quite Brothers is Central Iowa’s fastest growing cover band. You may recognize them from the 2022 RAGBRAI Route Announcement Party! Formed in 2018, the band quickly became known for their huge sound, eclectic setlist and ability to enhance any party. Fans of all ages agree… “it feels like I am watching the band they are covering in their heyday” and “It’s so cool to see a younger generation playing my favorite songs on stage instead of overweight boomers in cargo shorts.”

Sam Johnson (vocals) and Isaac Johnson (guitar) are twins and although Cooper Corcoran (guitar), Ben Schmelzer (drums) and Blake Marsh (bass) are of no relation to each other, these five fellas are as tight as brothers… but not quite.


Rider Housing Form
Registered Riders – Please visit this link and fill out the form if you are looking for housing: Rider Housing Request Form

For more information on Ida Grove’s RAGBRAI plans, visit their page on our site: Ida Grove RAGBRAI

Follow on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/IdaGroveRagbrai


Ready for more? 

For a description of our visits to each pass through town, check out the Day One episode of the JustGoBike podcast! Featuring Kathy “Murphology” Murphy and Andrea “ParrotTalk” Parrott. You can find it wherever you like to listen to podcasts, or follow this link: https://soundcloud.com/justgobike/preride-ragbrai-route-inspection-ride-2022-day-1

You can also follow the Pre-Ride adventure and learn interesting tidbits about the route by following us on social media:
Facebook: Facebook.com/RAGBRAI
Instagram: @RAGBRAI 
Murphology Podcast on Instagram: @MurphologyPodcast
Murphology Podcast on Facebook: @MurphologyPodcast
Murphology Podcast on Twitter: @murphologypod
JustGoBike Podcast: soundcloud.com/JustGoBike

Have a great day and happy trails! – Andrea

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