They say you never ride alone at RAGBRAI. This year, 14,000 riders daily took part in 41st Annual Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI), a non-competitive ride stretching across Iowa. With riders stretching out from the Missouri River to the Mississippi, life operated a bit differently than normal: bikes outnumbered cars, people were friendlier, food tasted better, and, well, life was just good.
RAGBRAI’s impact can be judged by the numbers: 14,000 riders taking to the road every day, 20,000 pork chops and 17,000 pies consumed, and a whopping $3 million in daily revenue for the towns hosting start and finish festivities.
Numbers only tell part of the story. It’s the people who make RAGBRAI. People who partake in impromptu dance parties along the route.
Flatware and plates are a formality at RAGBRAI where riders gladly skip silverware on the road.
Somewhere in southeastern Iowa, a giant waterslide appears. Slipping and sliding away in bike shorts and club jerseys is perfectly acceptable here.
RAGBRAI riders requires a lot of support, and it comes in a fairly unique form. The Nederlandse Mafia team's bus is just one example. All told, 400 plus rickety old, converted school buses supported various teams.
Drink and Ride
Riders bellied up to numerous local taverns, where the taps never stopped flowing. Bars were full of Lycra-clad riders, even at 9:30 a.m.
To accommodate a staggering number of cyclists, towns stretched metal cables by tractor to function as mobile bike racks.
Throughout the week, the WD-40 BIKE tech support team worked on over 2,000 bikes—at no charge.
Jim Zdunek entertains riders with his homemade banjo that he carries on his back throughout RAGBRAI.
It's a tradition for riders to dip their rear wheels in the Missouri River on day one and their front wheels in the mighty Mississippi at ride's close.