RAGBRAI stands for "The Register's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa". It is without a doubt one of the most unique, fun, community driven, and overall adventure filled weeks you can spend in America.
And it happens headed West to East border to border of the state of Iowa over the last week of July every single year. Come along on the RAGBRAI journey with me.
What's great about this event is the community aspect of it. Each year in January they announce that year's route and towns/cities across Iowa hope and cheer they are chosen.
The route heads West to East each year with the wonderful tradition by some of dipping your wheel in the Missouri River on Day One and the Mississippi River on Day Seven.
In between you'll bike some 400 plus miles across Iowa and sleep in people's front yards in tents, on a team bus, or at the official campsites.
In a day and age where we are all scared of each other this event brings total strangers opening their doors, and yards, to people from all over the world to let them sleep. Now that's community!
I could bore you with all the "101's" of this event or tell you to go HERE and read more about it!
The event started when a few friends thought it would be fun to go for a bike ride across Iowa in 1973. Seriously...true story! Now it is the longest, largest, and oldest recreational cycling event in the world.
I mean if you aren't excited to go yet I don't know what else I have to share!
My wife is originally from Iowa and our buddies who did a wrote up on their Frosty Cross event on our site are part owners of the Team Paradise above and ride EVERY YEAR. We tagged along in 2014 with them for four days and it was truly one of my favorite outdoor event experiences of my life. The fact that this bus only broke down 7 times in our 4 days I was told is a miracle. Though I never rode on the bus because I was on my bike it was a great transfer of our gear and just nice to know something that beautiful was part of our journey!
Each night it's a big party wherever the "sleepover" town is and it includes food vendors, bands, and sometimes if you are lucky jugglers on unicycles!
Your Daily RAGBRAI Itinerary:
1. Wake up early b/c it is 98 degrees in your tent by 6am.
2. Start riding.
3. Break for breakfast burritos. Each day has several "stop" towns that are mini parties as the day goes. It's also good stopping and break points.
4. Ride more.
5. Lunch with a beer.
6. Ride more.
7. Massage your butt and put up your tent at campsite.
8. Water and beer and bike stories from the day.
9. Rinse and repeat for a week.
If you want to do something you'll remember the rest of your life with a smile on your face head out to Iowa in July. This event is not the Tour de France (though Lance Armstrong comes every year) but it is a unity of the cycling world focused on community, connection, and open arms to all people from all walks of life.
It's what the world should be like every single day.
Questions about how to prepare or what to know? Comment below!
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Because Adventure Travel Feeds the Soul,
Mike R and the Hashtag 59 Team