Ragbrai – Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa – is a non-competitive, seven-day bicycle ride in the state of Iowa. The trip was first held in 1973 and has continued to this day as the most extensive bicycle touring event in the world. The event draws many cyclists from the U.S. as well as other countries around the world.
Riders begin near the western border of Iowa and finish at a community on the eastern border. The ride is one week (seven days) long, and it ends on the last Saturday of July each year, with the journey commencing the Sunday before.
All Can Watch, But Not All Can Ride
The ride picks 8,500 cyclists each year through a random lottery drawing. Despite the imposed number limit, many unregistered riders often join in on the week-long trip, swelling the numbers to well above the registered threshold.
Ragbrai has its genesis in 1973 Iowa when the Des Moines Register’s (sponsor of Ragbrai) writers John Karras and Donald Kaul began a bike trip through the state. The trip was inspired by the idea to write articles about the experience, an event that was referred to as the Great Six-Day Bicycle Ride. Through its various iterations, Ragbrai has grown into one of the unique sporting events in the world.
The average total mileage of the ride is approximately 468 miles, with a daily mileage average of about 67 miles. For the riders that are feeling exceptionally daring, there is an optional bike route (known as the Karras route) that pushes its participants to complete an impressive mileage of about 100 miles.
How to Ride
RAGBRAI is limited to about 8,500 week-long riders and 1,500 daily riders (you can buy a weekly or daily pass). The deadline for week-long riders is due April 1, 2018, with the deadline for entry closing on May 1, 2018.
Ragbrai is an internationally acclaimed event with past, notable celebrity participants. For cyclists who enjoy the activity of cycling but feel the Tour de France may not be an appropriate fit, then Ragbrai can be a tremendous and unique option.