July 24, 2003 6:22 PM   Subscribe

RAGBRAI (the Register's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa). Perhaps a better way to experience Iowa than the CornCam... or consider smaller rides.
posted by weston (13 comments total)
Does Iowa have a good bike lane network? Are they doing these rides on converted rail systems?

I'd love to do a big ride someday, but I have a couple friends that participated in rides across america and along the state of california, and they each have horror stories about a ride member being hit by a car and killed.
posted by mathowie at 6:26 PM on July 24, 2003

Any MeFites ever participated in this? I think I'll have to wait until I get a recumbant bicycle, but I just spent a few days in Iowa, and am fascinated by the landscape... "spacious skies" and "waves of grain" indeed, over a peaceful rolling ocean of earth. No wonder storms are a problem in the Midwest; there's nothing else in nature to be angry other than the air. Not to mention the heartland communities and americana-in-architecture. The idea of spending a week or two with friends traversing this via bicycle seems appealing indeed.
posted by weston at 6:28 PM on July 24, 2003

Matt: Death on RAGBRAI (humor?). I believe most of the riding takes place on the extensive system of small highways... shared with tractors and speeding pickups and sedans, so safety is probably a concern (an accident claim form off the RAGBRAI site seems to point to this, and there's safety advice on RAGBRAI which seems to indicate some kinds of injuries are regular). However, there are some converted railroads and other bike trails... the site has a trails section.

(OK, I need to stop posting in this thread for a while I guess...)
posted by weston at 6:36 PM on July 24, 2003

I have a friend who did it when he was in high school. He really enjoyed it, the mileage was a bit longer per day than he thought it'd be (lots of families do this), but safety concerns weren't an issue.
posted by cohappy at 6:39 PM on July 24, 2003

Hrm, yeah there are lots of bike trails in Iowa and our government and tourism board is apperantly pretty excited about 'em.

posted by delmoi at 7:09 PM on July 24, 2003

I've done BRAG (bike ride across georgia--big group ride), BAMA (bike ride across alabama--small group ride), and done north west florida (300 miles) alone with my then girl friend.

Never had a problem, always had a blast. Safety is always a priority. Some rides average 40 miles a day, some 80, so there's a ride for every level (within reason), with one day set aside for a century ride.

I've met others who've done the ride across iowa, and they loved it. Most people who do state rides have a least done a couple of states.
posted by justgary at 7:13 PM on July 24, 2003

My former co-worker Dave is riding this year, and is keeping an online diary of the ride for the Star Trib. (free registration)
posted by GaelFC at 7:31 PM on July 24, 2003

Nothing shall ever compare to The Mighty TOSRV
I highly encourage everyone to participate in it at least once. You'll remember if for the rest of your life.
posted by EmoChild at 7:56 PM on July 24, 2003

Matt: RAGBRAI has had its share of tragedy, but RAGBRAI Officials take every precaution to make the event totally safe. Regrettably, I've never participated myself, but I know many who have, my sister for one [Hi, Marcia!].
posted by jaronson at 8:32 PM on July 24, 2003

I really miss biking in Iowa. I used to live in the Cedar Valley where there was an extensive and continuously developing system of bike trails. Never had a chance to do RAGBRAI, but the route passed through my town a few times and I definitely participated in the festivities.

Now I live in California where you actually have mountains to bike up. (Sigh). I'd take biking in Iowa over California any day.
posted by quadog at 11:41 PM on July 24, 2003

I have a bunch of friends who've done RAGBRAI and BRAN (the Bike Ride Across Nebraska, of course), and they all insist that BRAN is the better way to go because it's less crowded, safer, and not all over-hyped and such. I don't know if they're right or full of shit, however.
posted by COBRA! at 9:02 AM on July 25, 2003

I spent my summers during High School cycling daily between Cedar Rapids and Cedar Falls on a "Rails-to-Trails" trail. When RAGBRAI came around each year, I'd happily dip my rear tire in the Mississippi, and later, my front tire in the Missouri.

I was in such good shape, then...
posted by thanotopsis at 9:08 AM on July 25, 2003

For what it's worth, my Dad's done RAGBRAI several times, more I think for the "traveling carnival" atmosphere than anything else. He always speaks very highly of both the participants and the organization, but it's the only event like this he's ever done, so I'm not sure what he'd be comparing it to. He does say, though, that anyone who thinks it's just one, long, flat ride across Iowa with no hills to even notice will be sadly mistaken...
posted by JollyWanker at 10:06 AM on July 25, 2003

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