At Earth Rider we are big fans of the Tour de France (TDF), the world’s greatest biking event. But there is an annual ride in Iowa that shares some similarities. According to Greg Borzo, speaker at the Sept. 11, 2019 Chicago Cycling Club meeting, both were:
But there are differences also, and they are not just limited to the obvious France versus Iowa location. TDF is about cycling skill versus RAGBRAI’s food and fun, 21 days versus 7, 2000 miles versus 500, and 176 riders versus 30,000
Greg is author of the book “RAGBRAI, America’s Favorite Bicycle Ride” and in his book and his talk, he provides a colorful recounting of the features of the event for those that have not experienced it. RAGBRAI is always the last week of July and provides as economic stimulus to the communities in Iowa that it passes through. There is plenty of food and entertainment and the locals are welcoming offering humor and crazy fun events. Where else but Iowa can you see a skillet tossing competition or a tractor square dance? Since there are not enough hotels to accommodate 30K people, most camp or stay in people’s homes at night to unwind from the four “H’s they experienced during the day: heat, humidity, hills, and head winds.
You can join a “team” to get support services such as bus service to the start and pick up at the end, renting of camping gear, shuttling gear, setting up and taking down a tent, and showers. There are two primary Chicago-based teams
The success of RAGBRAI can be attributed to:
If you cannot manage a trip to France, sounds like RAGBRAI is a possible second choice to experience an epic cycling event.
Sharon Kaminecki comments on adventures in bicycling and other stories