What Is RAGBRAI?
RAGBRAI is an annual week-long bike ride across the state of Iowa that has been taking place since 1973. It was started by a group of writers from the Des Moines Register, the major newspaper in the area, who wanted to see what the small towns across the state were like. Their goal was to write about the experience and publish it in the paper. What started as an idea for an interesting newspaper article has become a moving city of bicycles with nearly 20,000 participants. If the COVID-19 pandemic hadn’t caused disruptions, 2022 would have marked RAGBRAI’s 50th year.
How Long Is RAGBRAI?
The RAGBRAI route averages 468 miles and is not necessarily flat. This averages out to about 67 miles each day. This might sound like a lot, but he reality is you have all day to do it. You don’t need to be a serious athlete or cyclist to pull it off, but the more in shape you are the more enjoyable it will be. Each day there will be a number of smaller towns along the way offering snacks and water bottle refills. The lunch stop, which is usually about mid-way through each day, will have plenty of food and drink options to choose from. The overnight town is where you grab dinner, see live music, and sleep each night. As long as you generally enjoy being on a bike, riding these long distances is completely doable by the average person!
What’s The Best Part About RAGBRAI?
Between the food, beautiful Iowa scenery, amazing people, and surreal experience of traveling by bicycle with 20,000 other people, it is hard to pick one thing. What truly makes RAGBRAI a special event, are the friendly people of Iowa who open up their towns and homes every year to the participants. “Midwest nice” rings true in Iowa. The friendly people along the way make the experience possible. Having said that, a close runner-up might be a warm slice of Amish baked pie and freshly churned ice cream. If you know, you know.
Is RAGBRAI A Race?
RAGBRAI is not a race.
You have several options for organizing your RAGBRAI experience. The most common is to use a charter service. Charter services will transport you, your luggage, and bike from West Des Moines or Ames to the starting location, & back at the end. During the week they will transport your luggage to each overnight town, where there is selected a campground for the charter guests to enjoy. The cost for this is usually around $500. RAGBRAI veterans usually go a different route. Many form teams with comical names, matching kits, and often a converted school bus for moving gear. People go to great lengths to make the ultimate team bus, fitted with showers, racks for 40+ bikes, sound systems, and more. A third option is to coordinate with hosts at overnight towns through Facebook groups and hire a private shuttle river. This is challenging but gives you more flexibility.
How Do I Sign Up?
To sign up for RAGBRAI, get more details on what to pack, or see a list of frequently asked questions click here. We hope that we’ve convinced you to try RAGRABI. Drop us a message on Instagram or Facebook if you plan on going or have been before!