40,000 Wheels

RAGBRAI, By the Numbers

Nathan Hurst

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Each July for the past 38 years, hordes of bike lovers have descended on western Iowa to spend a week riding an average of 68 miles a day from the Missouri River east to the Mississippi River. They camp, and well, party the whole way. The Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa, the world’s biggest cycling event, kicks off on Sunday in the town of Glenwood, when some 20,000 riders on everything from tall bikes to unicycles start pedaling, camping, and drinking their way eastward. Here are last year’s stats.
1,500: Estimated number of support vehicles—food vendors, team buses, medics—that follow the ride.

700: Cases of Anheuser-Busch products sold nightly by vendors and in beer gardens.
800: Inch-and-half thick pork chops riders buy “on a good day” from Mr. Pork Chop, one of hundreds of food vendors that follow the peloton or set up along the way.

248,000,000: Total estimated calories riders burnt during the week-long ride—the caloric equivalent of 391,000 pork chops or 70,766 cases of Budweiser.

17,811: Total mileage of RAGBRAIs pedaled by 85-year-old Carter LeBeau, who has ridden every year since it started in 1973. That’s the same as riding from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, to Ushuaia, Argentina.

1: County that banned RAGBRAI in 2004 after being sued by a man’s family for $350,000 after he crashed and died during the ride.

4: Ambulances now required by race organizers to be on scene for the event.

200: Injuries reported in 2010, mostly heat-related.

1: Death last year. It was a head injury after a crash.

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