The Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, or RAGBRAI, is an eight-day ride across the state. Coming on its 50th year, RAGBRAI is a classic cycling experience and bucket list event for all types of cycling enthusiasts. Picked as one of our best road cycling events in the Midwest, RAGBRAI is a ride, not a race, and it is the longest recreational bicycle tour in the world. The route is about 468 miles but is not entirely flat; prepare for rolling hills along the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers that total 11,954 feet to climb. Iowa towns hosting riders for overnight stays are Sergeant Bluff, Ida Grove, Pocahontas, Emmetsburg, Mason City, Charles City, West Union, and Lansing. Review the official site of host towns for a breakdown of each day with details on housing, volunteers, food, and vendors.
Day One is the shortest ride at only 53.2 miles from Sergeant Bluff to Ida Grove. The longest ride is Day Four of 105 miles from Emmetsburg to Mason City. The day with the least amount of climbing is Day Five, with only 1,260 feet from Mason City to Charles City. The final day of the ride, Day Seven, includes the most climbing of 2,966 feet from West Union to Lansing.
There is extensive rider support daily, including four ambulance and paramedic teams, free SAG service, and bicycle repair shops along the routes that offer discounts for repairs, accessories, and RAGBRAI apparel. Host towns have food, shower services, and live entertainment each night to celebrate the day’s ride. Remember that RAGBRAI starts July 24th with RAGBRAI Expo, which is free to attend.