Wednesday, February 03, 2010


If you are (a) from Iowa, or (b) ride a road bicycle with any attendant interest in the sport, you know about RAGBRAI, the (Des Moines) Register's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa. The 38th running is this summer from July 25 - 31, over one of the shortest and flattest routes in the history of the event. Here's the map of the route for this year, just announced, followed by a few memories:


Back in the day, I rode in the Fourth and Fifth RAGBRAIs in the summers of 1976 and 1977. The route always begins in some town on the Missouri River, Iowa's western border, and ends in another town on the Mississippi. In between the police close county roads in seven daily stages over more than 400 miles. Thousands of riders spend the nights camped on fair grounds and footballs fields and small college campuses in towns large enough to accommodate the influx, and during the day ride through the little villages and past country churches and over the richest farm land in the country. It is Iowa up close, and in my memory truly spectacular riding over smooth roads with friendly people. Oh, and it's not a bad way to meet girls. Liisa Carlstrom from Greene County, if by chance you Google yourself, here I am.

Maybe I'll make it out there this year. Anybody want to join me?


By Anonymous feeblemind, at Thu Feb 04, 05:38:00 AM:

It would be pretty cool if you had the Tiger Hawk contingent in the bike ride. You could all wear TH t-shirts or fly TH pennants from your bicycles.

They have a similar ride in Nebraska called the BRAN for Bicycle Ride Across Nebraska. It starts at the Colorado or Wyoming line and ends in the Omaha suburbs. Unlike Iowa, there are no roads closed, the cyclists and the traffic have to deal with each other.

Last year I happened to meet the ride at Cambridge. I was struck by the observation that all the 50+ year old men riding seemed to have beards. Weird.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Feb 04, 10:07:00 AM:

TH, we're separated by just a few years. I rode RAGBRAIs 8-11 during high school. I live in Colorado now, am still an avid rider, and have always wanted to get back for another RAGBRAI.

Keep posting if you are serious about riding it this year. I'll try to work a schedule that allows for a week off to do the ride.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Feb 04, 01:29:00 PM:

Mr. Hawk,
Keep us posted. RAGBRAI is a long time goal and meeting you would be icing on the cake, as it were.  

By Anonymous RipRip, at Thu Feb 04, 01:29:00 PM:

I don't think they close the roads anymore at least I haven't seen any road blocks or such. Last time it stopped in Indee you couldn't drive across town anyway, too many bikes.  

By Anonymous onparkstreet, at Thu Feb 04, 09:06:00 PM:

Where is Ames on that map? Am I missing it because it's late at work and my eyes are all "bleary"? Is this some sort of anti Iowa State bias by the Tigerhawk blog?

I grew up in Ames, is all.... :)

- Madhu  

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