RAGBRAI XLV....it's a wrap
- 7 September, 2017
For many reasons, 2017 RAGBRAI will go down as one of the best ever. Weather had a lot to do with that. The route had a little bit of everything; hills, flats, scenic views. To wrap things up officially for RAGBRAI XLV, the staff would like to send out our thanks to everyone who participated this year, whether you rode some or all of the route, provided support, served as a volunteer, or were a vendor along the way. Thank you for making 2017 such a great year!
Another thank you goes out to those 3,615 who took the time to provide us with some feedback through the Rider and Driver surveys. We appreciate this information so we can pass along ideas to the planning committees for RAGBRAI XLVI. We can’t implement all ideas, but there are always changes we can make to improve the experience for everyone. Here is a summary of what we found out from the surveys:
- Of those who rode the gravel loop, over 70% took a sticker and patch as keepsakes. Those who took just one of the two prefer the patch.
- In the past 8 months:
43.7% of respondents purchased RAGBRAI merchandise at the merchandise trailers (up from the year before)
29% purchased RAGBRAI merchandise through registration (same as the year before)
11.6% purchased RAGBRAI merchandise at a bike shop retailer on the ride (a little down from the year before)
17.2% purchased RAGBRAI merchandise through the webstore (up from the year before)
2.5% purchased RAGBRAI merchandise at a retailer prior to RAGBRAI (same as the year before)
24.5% did not purchase any RAGBRAI merchandise (same as the year before)
- 16% of respondents purchased a new bike before RAGBRAI
60% purchased new bicycle equipment or accessories prior to RAGBRAI
34% did not purchase any prior to RAGBRAI
- 53% purchased their new bike/equipment/accessories from a local bike shop
16% purchased online
4% at a local sporting goods store
27.4% did not purchase new bike/equipment/accessories
RIDERS WOULD LIKE TO SEE THE FOLLOWING CHANGES:
- Healthier food options
- Improved shuttle service – better signage and organization at shuttle stops. Don’t use same line for different routes.
- More prominent signage for water bottle filling (overnight and pass-thru towns both)
- Get rid of pace lines, unregistered riders, and riders with loud music.
- More local food vendors, saw same commercial vendors all week.
- Coffee in the campgrounds in the morning
- Don’t shut down food vendors in pass through towns, just alcohol. Couldn’t get food in some towns, and the water fill stations should not be shut down.
- Town maps with street names – to find food vendors and host homes
- Have riders complete a safety training course with registration – too many riding left of center
- Church meals that serve until 8:00 pm
- Food options in campgrounds
- Petting zoos
- Treat pop-up campers more like tent camping than RV (no generators)
MOST SERIOUS SAFETY ISSUES:
- Erratic or unpredictable riding
- Communication or signaling intent
- Pace lines
- Vehicle traffic on the route
Another main concern was slower and inexperienced riders riding too far to the left. Many respondents suggested we implement some sort of safety training as part of registration.
- 30% of respondents were first time riders
- 71.5% rode the full 411 miles of the ride
- Just over 6% rode the Gravel Loop through Sutherland
- 29.5% rode the Karras Loop through Plover
- Over 55% used the bike license plate
24.6% weren’t interested in using the license plate
The rest did not know what it was
- 91.6% of respondents are on the road before 8am. 63% like to start their day before 7am.
- Almost 9% like to arrive in the overnight town before noon. 6% like to arrive between noon-4pm.
- Nearly 70% of riders spend $25-$50 per day on RAGBRAI.
- 38.3% prefer to eat breakfast in the first pass-through town
24% eat on the route before the first pass-through town
20.7% eat before leaving the overnight town
13.6% eat after the pass-through town
Over 3% don’t realize that breakfast is the most important meal of the day!
- 4% are vegetarian, less than 3% eat only gluten-free foods.
40% might eat a vegetarian or gluten free meal option; 52% would never.
- Shade and being close to showers are the most important features of campgrounds.
- Training miles were across the board; ranging from 250-1000 miles. Over 30% of respondents said they put in over 1000 training miles.
- About 37.4% of riders used personal support vehicles to carry their bags, up from last year
30.5% used a RAGBRAI charter, up a little from last year
19% traveled with a large group, down a little from last year
9% used the RAGBRAI Baggage Truck
1% carried their own bags
- Here is a breakdown of rider age:
19 and under ……………… 4%
20-24 ……………………….. 3.0%
25-29 ……………………….. 5.3%
30-34 ……………………….. 6.3%
35-39 ……………………….. 6.9%
40-44 ……………………….. 7.2%
45-49 ……………………….. 10.0%
50-54 ……………………….. 14.4%
55-59 ……………………….. 16.6%
60-64 ……………………….. 13.7%
65-69 ……………………….. 7.8%
70-74 ……………………….. 3.1%
75-79 ……………………….. 0.9%
Over 80 …………………….. 0.2%
- 39% were driving support for the first time. This is slightly down from last year. A good sign that more support drivers are returning year to year.
- 68% prefer to leave between 6:00-8:00 A.M, slightly higher than last year.
- 50% of support drivers spend on average $25-$50 per day including fuel and supplies
45.5% prefer to purchase supplies in town once they arrive
34.5% in a town along the route
20% before leaving town
- 44% of respondents drove a personal vehicle (up from last year)
42% of respondents drove an RV or pulled a camper
- 42.6% of respondents are from the state of Iowa, 11.7% from Illinois (the next highest).
- 52% of respondents are male
- 34.6% of respondents are 55-64 years old; 23% were over 65 years old.
- 23% purchased the new RAGBRAI Support Driver t-shirt.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION FOR DRIVER SAFETY MEETING:
- An overview of how the host town maps are set up (the icons used and symbols for RV camping)
- Safety meeting to start later because they couldn’t get to town on time – provide a summary of this information.
SUPPORT DRIVERS WOULD LIKE TO SEE THESE CHANGES:
- Have porta-pots and some food options in support vehicle parking area in meeting town.
- Place parking in meeting town closer to the event area in town.
- Traffic control at major intersections of vehicle route to help direct traffic through (four-way stop)
- Better campground maps showing areas for smaller groups (10 or so)
- Lots of road construction on vehicle route this year – notify drivers ahead of time.
- Clearer instructions for RV camping
- Maps were helpful, use a neon green color for vehicle route sign for more visibility.
- Some respondents suggested that more arrow signs before the turn would have been helpful.
Thank you again for making RAGBRAI the great event that it is. We hope to see you July 22-28, 2018 for RAGBRAI XLVI. Here are some other important dates to remember:
- Registration opens November 15, 2017
- RAGBRAI Route Announcement Party and Iowa Bike Expo is Saturday, January 27, 2018
- Weeklong Rider Registration closes April 1, 2018
- PIGTAILS Ride is May 19, 2018
- BACoon Ride Five is June 16, 2018
- 2018 RAGBRAI Expo is July 21, 2018
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