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We did RAGBRAI 2022

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We did RAGBRAI 2022

Old 08-04-22, 07:35 PM
  #26  
djb
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Not a minor consideration. At some point Cycle Oregon started offering Tent & Porter Service. For an extra fee, a contractor would supply you with a tent, have it ready for you when you arrived and have your bag waiting there. Thing is, you got assigned the same numbered tent every night, and the tents were pitched really close to each other. I heard more than one horror story from people who were assigned tents next to really loud snorers.
As le grand tour is pretty much the same thing, in our experience it is hit and miss no matter what with shedloads of tents.
We sometimes were able to choose better spots not on top of neighbours, but not always.

You quickly learn to have good ear plugs!

For loss of people, going the set up tent was worth it just to not have to carry your baggage from the dump off spot to where you'd set up tent, and visa versa in morning.
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Old 08-04-22, 07:47 PM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
As le grand tour is pretty much the same thing, in our experience it is hit and miss no matter what with shedloads of tents.
We sometimes were able to choose better spots not on top of neighbours, but not always.

You quickly learn to have good ear plugs!

For loss of people, going the set up tent was worth it just to not have to carry your baggage from the dump off spot to where you'd set up tent, and visa versa in morning.
A nice feature of Cycle Oregon is that locals would come out to act as “sherpas.” Usually, they wee high school kids. They would transport your bags from the trucks to wherever you were permitted to camp. The expectation was that you’d tip them a buck or two for each bag. The money was used for things like volleyball team uniforms and class trips.

The first evening of my first CO a rather stout, young girl asked me if she could help me find my bag. Once we did she prepared to pick it up. I suggested that she let me her because it was heavy. She picked it up by the straps and said “This is nothing compared to the bales of hay I’m used lifting.” (We were camping on a cattle ranch.) I felt incredibly humbled,
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Old 08-04-22, 07:59 PM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
A nice feature of Cycle Oregon is that locals would come out to act as “sherpas.” Usually, they wee high school kids. They would transport your bags from the trucks to wherever you were permitted to camp. The expectation was that you’d tip them a buck or two for each bag. The money was used for things like volleyball team uniforms and class trips.

The first evening of my first CO a rather stout, young girl asked me if she could help me find my bag. Once we did she prepared to pick it up. I suggested that she let me her because it was heavy. She picked it up by the straps and said “This is nothing compared to the bales of hay I’m used lifting.” (We were camping on a cattle ranch.) I felt incredibly humbled,
Great story.
Ya, I'd forgotten about the same thing on the Velo Quebec thing, also high school kids raising money for their team or whatever. A couple of quad bikes with trailers usually.
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Old 08-20-22, 05:28 PM
  #29  
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I also did RAGBRAI for the first time this year. My wife came along as a support driver, so that was nice, but part of the deal was she got some days off from setting up camp so she could go look at Frank Lloyd Wright houses and stuff like that. So I did three nights camping with a support vehicle, two nights on my own loading gear on the truck, and two nights in a hotel a little ways off the route. It was nice to have some variety and get a couple of decent showers - I don't think I would have enjoyed it as much if I had seven straight days of camping and loading my gear on the truck. The quality of the campsites varies quite a bit.

Getting up early does help you avoid the big crowds, but you are not riding alone. There are plenty of people who get going before it is light. Also the earlier you get on the road, the more people pass you (unless you are pretty fast - not something I would know about).

Even if you end up in the middle of the pack, there are still a lot of things you can do to avoid the crowds. There are usually super long lines for a few vendors that everybody loves, but then there are other vendors who have no line at all. I mostly did not wait in the long lines, and I was mostly pretty happy with the food I got. One thing I would say is to eat hearty during the day in the pass-through towns, because some of the overnight towns had fewer choices and many of the same vendors over and over, so we ended up just going to a grocery store for a couple of the evenings.

I am pretty cautious about Covid, but I decided to do this anyway because it is mostly outdoors. You can keep your distance from people (see avoiding lines, above), especially if you do not care too much about standing right in front of the stage for the AC DC cover band in the overnight town. I heard of some Covid cases including two people I knew, but one of them probably caught it before coming to Iowa and the other probably caught it from riding in the car with the first one. The math is probably different for somebody who is immuno-compromised.

Best for last - riding RAGBRAI allows you to get a lifetime's worth of Iowa in one week.
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Old 08-20-22, 06:01 PM
  #30  
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Not going to lie, as a person who leans towards solitude, this still is on my bucket list and looks fun! Pretty sure I will try sometime soon.
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Old 08-20-22, 08:06 PM
  #31  
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Post #29 touches on some good points, especially the one about camping areas ranging in quality. I’ve experienced that on Cycle Oregon and the Bon Ton Roulet in the Finger Lakes areas of NY. I’ve done 4 of the former and 2 of the latter. At least three nights we spent on cattle ranches. Two of those had dried cow pies around. Another was down in a dust bowl that looked like a refugee camp in a drought stricken area of Africa. A few others were too small. Tents were really close together. The Bon Ton had some really tight quarters as well. I am an early starter. That helps when it comes to picking better places to pitch the tent.
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Old 08-20-22, 08:33 PM
  #32  
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Snoring may not be the worst of it if you run with a younger club...
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Old 08-21-22, 03:47 AM
  #33  
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Thanks for posting.
I haven't done RAGBRAI and this is still potentially on my list.

I have bicycled across Iowa three times by myself - but that definitely isn't the same thing.

I've also done Ride the Rockies four times. Those were also large organized rides, though only 2500 people. They did a similar phenomenon of having baggage trucks (three - an early, middle and late), color coded tags and going through different communities. Those can be occasionally annoying if you wait in lines (bathroom, food, showers, etc) but I often found ways to pick times without as many lines.

The smaller organized ride I've enjoyed a lot is Pedal the Plains. I've done six of the eight times this ride was done - https://www.pedaltheplains.com/route/ It is a smaller phenomenon - three days and ~750 riders. However, it goes through smaller communities on the eastern plains of Colorado. In contrast to Ride the Rockies, fewer of them were resort type communities accustomed to many visitors so that brings out an extra level of hospitality(*). Also, suspect eastern plains of Colorado are flatter than most of the Iowa routes. Pedal the Plains has gone on a suspension since 2019 and while I understand why leaders don't want to bring a Covid fest to these small communities - I hope the pandemic subsides enough that the ride can be done again.

Both Ride the Rockies and Pedal the Plains started having those outfitters with baggage service as well. I haven't ever done them but saw a similar example of dense rows of tents pitched together. That aspect doesn't interest me (I can more easily set up my own tent and pick a spot), though some logistics were perhaps useful.
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Old 08-21-22, 12:01 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
Snoring may not be the worst of it if you run with a younger club...
We had 3 habitually loud snorers in our cross country group and 1 who was an occasional. Early on we established a segregation policy. The snorers had to pitch as far away as possible from the non-snorers.

The last time I did Bon Ton there was a really, really loud one near us as Keuka College, where we stayed two nights. The first night I shook his tent a couple of times to get him to roll over. I would have moved the tent the next morning, but there was no level ground left. The second night the GF and I gained entrance to a dorm to watch the TdF, but since we did have a room we didn’t have a key to the front door. I went to the tent to get our sleeping bags and pillows. Texted the GF, who let me back in the building. We slept on the big couches in the common area. Problem solved.
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Old 08-23-22, 07:08 AM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
The snorers had to pitch as far away as possible from the non-snorers.
.
I've seen segregation of snorers happen on other extended group rides such as TDA in China or Africa. That type of recurring trip with a group makes it easier to identify who snores and enough nights that people start to adjust.

It is a bit tougher on an organized group ride like Ride the Rockies, because the group size is larger, the duration is shorter and I expect people to switch up a bit more.

I do recall two other types of disruptions that interrupted sleep on these rides...
- One night in Pedal the Plains many of us were camped on the ball fields when the sprinklers came on. Apparently, someone from the host community had forgotten to adjust the sprinkler schedule and they were now going with several hundred campers. It seemed like a long time before they went off again - had to find someone in town who had the controls - though it probably wasn't as long as we thought.

- I've also had sprinklers come on in Walden at the park, though that was a smaller group and apparently not uncommon for that location

- In China I caught the last six weeks of the original Silk Road ride. It had been a tough ride and some tensions were a bit frayed - and the group had also formed different cliques. Enter into this brew - the introduction of firecrackers available in some of the initial Chinese cities. Some of the younger clique were first to find them. People would be sitting at camp and then here a long sequence of bang/bang/bang followed by some younger members having fun.

That was all fun and good until one morning early about 4am or so, there was also a sequence of loud bangs waking people up. One person was particularly pissed and he verbally reprimanded one of the younger riders in a rather condescending tone. At it turned out - that rider had nothing to do with the firecrackers and instead it was another older rider that had lit off the fireworks.

Frayed tempers and several days later - we had another tough riding day when things erupted again. There were two things that made this a tough riding day. We were going through coal country and there was a fine layer of coal dust everywhere (from passing trucks) that was kicked up from our tires making faces dirty. There was also some construction in one of the bridges that led to a 40km long backup - and our support trucks taking a long way around. Fortunately, we could still cycle past the stopped vehicles.

When we got to the hotel - the trucks hadn't arrived, so we with our dirty coal faces waited outside for rooms and chance to wash. At this point, there was suddenly a reverberation of fireworks with a bang/bang/bang - along with a rider (big Dave) walking away and snickering. This also wasn't one of the younger riders - and some figured this had also been who had woken everyone up the nights before. So one of the other riders without the best social skills decided to curse out the fire cracker culprit. Unfortunately that escalated to the point at which they were about to duke it out and big Dave pushed back the cursing rider onto the ground.

At this point, others sprung into action to separate the riders and keep this from getting worse. That night when the TDA staff arrived, they considered what to do with this incident. We were told that big Dave had violated his rider agreement by physical altercation and was kicked off the tour. The cursing rider was still there - though much more meek after that.

That should have ended things - but what got weird was we still had two weeks of riding to Beijing and big Dave decided not to go home. Instead, he "shadowed" the group and it was rumored some others from his clique were also carrying some of his baggage. In any case, each evening when we arrived in a town, big Dave would also arrive, having cycled there by himself but still using some of the same itinerary as rest of the group. This occasionally made things awkward - though fortunately only two weeks remaining.
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Old 08-23-22, 11:59 AM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
Care to elaborate? What lines does using an outfitter avoid? Does avoiding lines mean staying in different locations, eating in a different venue, and so on or just having them schlep your gear? I am not entirely clear on what services are provided by the tour organizers vs the outfitters.

Edit:
Also if lines are an issue, how dependent on when you ride is that (early riser vs late starter, etc.).

Someone mentioned 20,000 riders! Most of the pictures in this thread have only a few people to a few dozen at most. Is that because of time of day or because they are spread over a large area. The pictures look very uncrowded. Is that deceptive? Or is it possible to somewhat avoid the crunch at least some of the time.
There are a lot of YouTube videos you can watch and have a better idea.
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Old 08-23-22, 12:12 PM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
I've done 12 or so RAGBRAIs now, and this year was easily the nicest weather I've experienced that week. Never too hot, just a sprinkle or two of rain... the tailwind made the century day pure pleasure. It will be very hard to top this year!
I think weather makes or breaks a ride like Ragbrai. That's why we probably will never do it because there's no way to predict the weather and riding in 100 degree temps with no shade or getting soaked everyday with thunderstorms is not my idea of fun. I would have jumped on it if it would be in the Fall.
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Old 08-25-22, 12:52 PM
  #38  
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I saw and admired your bike in several towns -- never saw you two on it, though! Interesting front fork -- and S&S couplers! I was on my Rivendell Atlantis 68 m with couplers. Fun week.
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Old 08-25-22, 01:44 PM
  #39  
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Cheers.I have seen a few Rivendells on the ride and may have seen yours although I don't recall seeing one with couplers.
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Old 08-29-22, 07:53 PM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by Doubleplay View Post
I think weather makes or breaks a ride like Ragbrai. That's why we probably will never do it because there's no way to predict the weather and riding in 100 degree temps with no shade or getting soaked everyday with thunderstorms is not my idea of fun. I would have jumped on it if it would be in the Fall.
The first one was in late August. That would be my preference, too, but I guess it interfered with school schedules and whatnot.
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Old 09-01-22, 06:26 PM
  #41  
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Glad you enjoyed RAGBRAI. Wasn't sure if anyone did on this site since I didn't see any postings until now. I did the full week ride (my 2nd). That weather was amazing (you would have hated last year) even though it rained more than I expected. The last day to Lansing was a blast - the Century ride was cake. Haven't done the gravel route yet and I'm itching to but need a gravel bike first. For those having second thoughts about RAGBRAI and are worried about COVID. It's not going anywhere folks. Don't let this prevent you from missing out on a fun and exciting event. Once you've done it, you'll be hooked.

There was a rider on our bus from Sweden who was on his trip across the U.S (started on Oregon). Was able to land a sponsor and he joined us for RAGBRAI. Believe it was his first trip to the U.S. too. Once done, he rode up to Wisconsin and then crossed the border into Canada and over to New York before heading home. Talk about getting some serious rides in.

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Old 09-19-22, 10:33 AM
  #42  
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This was my last RAGBRAI as part of the youth mentorship program I have helped run and been part of for the last 7 years. It was bittersweet- I got to ride a few days with some of the older teens I have spent so many training rides with thru the years and it was definitely special.

The weather was incredible, the century day couldnt have had an easier route or better wind, and there was more to do along the route compared to last year(coming off the covid cancelled year). Participation was excellent all week long- thousands and thousands of your closest strangers to ride alongside.
For those who dislike crowds, the pass thru towns can be crowded at times, but the riding is largely unimpeded. And overnight towns can be crowded, since RAGBRAI quadruples a town's population for some of the smaller overnight locations, but the main campground is typically relatively quiet and chill.

RAGBRAI is as interactive as you want to make it. You can go solo and not talk to anyone or you can get hammered and be the life of the party in every pass thru town. Its all up to you. There is no right or wrong way to do RAGBRAI as it welcomes all.

Next year I plan to ride a few days with one of my kids and a few of the kids from the mentorship program who just left for college. Itll be a bit different and I really look forward to that too!
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Old 09-19-22, 12:59 PM
  #43  
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Might add it to my to-do list. Especially for the "Iowa Outhouse." Too funny!

Ride The Rockies is similar, and I opted for hotels because the notion of sleeping in a tent on a sleeping pad for 6 nights with 28k ft of climbing made the hotel a no brainer. RAGBRAI, on the other hand, I imagine the tent city is like 40% of the experience
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