What is RAGBRAI?
Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, the largest and oldest bicycle ride across the state in the United States.
It’s an annual event.
Where do you use bathroom on RAGBRAI?
There's always cornfields if you have to go number one.
There are out-houses (kaibos) placed throughout towns that you can utilize.
There's also public facilities that are opened up for riders including schools and churches.
Are showers provided on RAGBRAI?
We have two camp showers for members who ride with the club. Each rider has to bring their own shower bag, 5 gallons or less. (We don’t like the 10 gallon ones.) You fill up the camp shower bags at the campsite. You can fill them up the night before and lay them out into the hot Iowa sun so that they give toasty warm for you. You then hang the shower bag up in this standup camp shower and take a shower.
What's a camp shower? What’s a shower bag?
The shower bag is a bag with a spout at the end of it and a hook on the other end of it. The camp shower is it's made up of tent-like material. The shower looks like a portable potty. You zip into it. There's a hook on the top. There's a pallet on the bottom that you stand on. You hang up your shower bag. You have privacy, and can take your shower.
Do I have to purchase my own shower bag?
Where can I purchase a shower bag?
Scheels, REI or other camping stores. Walmart may also have it.
Do you provide toiletries?
You have to bring your own soap, your own towel, all that stuff.
What should I expect for weather?
Weather can vary, but usually it's hot and humid. Sometimes it rains, so you might want to bring a poncho or riding gear for that.
What should I expect for terrain?
The terrain can be flat or quite hilly. It’s especially hilly as you approach river basins when you approach the Mississippi. There you are going to have a lot of more hills than Central Iowa. Southern Iowa is going to have a lot more hills than Northern Iowa.
When do you start riding in the morning?
Riders are encouraged to leave early in the day to avoid the heat.
You don’t need an alarm clock on RAGBRAI. Other people will wake you up.
There are people who leave in the dark (which isn't sanctioned by RAGBRAI).
Ideally, you want to leave at sunrise (around 6 or 7 a.m.).
There's a cut-off time when you have to be packed up and have your boxes on to the back of the truck. You have to get packed up or else the truck will leave without you and you’ll be left sitting there with your stuff.
How do I sign up to go on RAGBRAI?
You would need to fill out the application on this website. Then you have to register on RAGBRAI.com and choose the club that you're riding with.
Does it cost extra to ride with the club on RAGBRAI?
There is a club cost and a RAGBRAI cost.
You can just go on RAGBRAI alone.
RAGBRAI has this big truck that you just throw your stuff on and you get to be in town and you grab your stuff and there are some sanctioned camp grounds that RAGBRAI has. But basically it's you drag your stuff and you look for somewhere to camp. That's the pure RAGBRAI experience.
What’s the benefit of riding with the club on RAGBRAI?
What the club offers is that we carry your stuff for an extra cost. We already scheduled before the ride started where the camp sites are going to be, recording it off so that you have a place to camp. At the end of the day, you don’t have to worry about that. You can even work it out with the drivers that they'll set up your tent for you for an additional cost, but most of us just set up our own tents.
Basically, it just cost extra because we're carrying everyone's stuff. We provide showers. We provide cellphone charging which is something I neglected to mention before. You can charge your cellphone up. You have your showers. You have a place to live and camp. We have a little awning that we put up and a whole bunch of coolers full of drinks at reduced cost and chairs everywhere so you have a place to go to and relax and so that cost extra.
Can I get a refund for RAGBRAI if I change my mind?
There's a cut-off date for RAGBRAI. Once passed that date, there's no refunds. But there are a lot of forums on the RAGBRAI website that you can post too and say, "I don’t need my wrist band,” and try to sell it to another rider.
Where do you eat on RAGBRAI?
Food is a big draw.
There's a lot of food on the road.
You can get weird truck food. You can get farmer food. There's food in all the towns.
There are vendors who show up at every town every day, like Smoothie King, Solar Smoothie, Tom's Tender Turkey, Mr. Porkchop, spaghetti people, Gourmet Go Go and some peanut butter and jelly people that are always there.
You have the reoccurring vendors that are there at every town and you can eat at every town.
Then you have locals. All the local businesses have food in every town. There's people on the side of the road selling food. There's food everywhere. All the churches have fundraisers. All the non-profits are having fundraisers. There's old church lady pie everywhere (which is very popular in RAGBRAI).
It's important to bring extra money with you. You want to have some cash with you for food. The club doesn't provide any food.
What happens is you get to the end of the town, you set up your tent and then you go walk into the town with your friends and go find something to eat.
If you want snacks, bring your own snacks.
What should I bring?
There's a lot to bring. Basically bring: toiletries, a couple jerseys, all the shower stuff, tent, sleeping bag.
Your containers need to be waterproof because they unload the truck and then it might rain on your stuff. This makes sure it stays dry. You can just use Rubbermaid storage containers and they work fine. Some members also put their stuff inside those tubs in garbage bags just in case.
What am I not allowed to bring?
You can only bring two containers of reasonable size.
Some people bring a camp cookware set and they cook breakfast every day and they have coffee ready in the morning. There's only so much space so there they got really creative with packing everything
Beyond that just follow the State of Iowa’s laws.
How do I get a RAGBRAI-specific jersey?
The jersey is available on the order form. If you get in by the deadline, not only can you buy a RAGBRAI jersey but it can be customized to the club. If you miss the deadline for that, you'll just get a regular RAGBRAI jersey.
How do you get home at the end of RAGBRAI?
We offer a charter bus for an additional $100 (Ticket price may vary).
The bus takes you straight back to Sioux City.
We park at the UCC Church and that's where the bus goes back to—NOT the start town. That's something to keep in mind.
If it's not starting in Sioux City, but starts in Rock Valley instead, you have to figure out a way to get to Rock Valley. Then you need to have your car back in Sioux City, or you leave a car in Rock Valley somewhere like in the side of a road for a week.
The bus will get back like at 11 o'clock or midnight in Sioux City and you need to figure out what you're doing.
How do I get to the start town if it isn’t in Sioux City?
To deal with this people basically carpool up to the start town or get dropped off by friends, family or spouses.
We also do offer an informal ride the day before RAGBRAI starts. You can ride your bike to the start town. That's hardcore though. There's no support. There's no snacks and happy times on the side of the road. Then you have to ride across the State of Iowa after that.
If I get tired or hurt during the ride, can I get a ride?
RAGBRAI offers SAG (Support and Gear) support. They have 3 or 4 vans that go along the routes. If your bike breaks or you need help, you just turn your bicycle upside down on the side of the road.
Usually riders are very eager to try to help you if it's a flat tire or something like that. It's a very helpful community.
There's also ambulances that go along the route as well. If you need medical attention, they're going to be here. But it can be sporadic. You might have to wait a little while. But there is support there if you really needed.