(It is always the last full week of July.)
The oldest, largest and longest rolling bicycle party in the world.
If you don't know what RAGBRAI is about; take a few minutes (or hours) clicking around this page. Start with the video directly below. After that, click around the buttons that link to our past Team Pestilence experiences. It's always fun, and always unique each year. Everyone leaves RAGBRAI with their own unique experience.
When you are done looking around, see if you don't agree:
RAGBRAI is MAGICAL!
It's got a feeling and vibe all it's own. Like nothing else in this world. By the end, you too will be saying:
IOWA: 75% vowels. 100% Awesome!
RAGBRAI®, The Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, is an annual seven-day bicycle ride/party across the state.
WEBSITES for ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
This is a BIG TRIP and it will take some time for you to get up to speed. So, kick back, click around this site a bit and get ready to book a unique trip that combines Mardi Gras with the Tour de France!
RAC OFFERINGS FOR RAGBRAI
Welcome to TEAM PESTILENCE!
If you decide to join our team of riders who generally call home the area in and around Pennsylvania, I can assure you, you are joining a fraternity of cyclists of varying levels of fitness and interest who all share the common goal of having a BLAST at RAGBRAI!
We all bring different things to the table...and that's just fine with RAGBRAI. This tour across Iowa is composed of thousands of cycling enthusiasts, but the beauty is: no two people in this massive crowd, will have the same experience. And even more than that: it's never the same event two years in a row. This means you can do RAGBRAI year after year, and always find something new to see and do!
THE 2018 "Riverbend" EXPERIENCE
After working pretty hard on the 2018 trip, it is "ready for prime time". There is a lot of detail here, but you are going to want to read it. I'm also going to email this post for those teammates who have already shown interest or sent a deposit.
It was a fair amount of work this year, because I was trying to balance the needs of the group (seems to be 9 or 10 of us), the cost, the opportunities of the ride itself, and the creature comforts that a group of our "maturity" might enjoy.
So that being said, this is what Pestilence 2018 will look like:
- Friday July 20th:
5:00 a.m. Seven of us will be leaving my shop location of 100 Avenue D & H. north in Riverside, PA with the gear of 8 members of the team. Get to the shop early, as it will take some time to get loaded and we will leave on time. We will meet our remaining members at the start town on Saturday July 21st.
We will arrive in Davenport Iowa around 8:00 p. This will give us enough time, and daylight to set up camp, get settled and head into town for some first night libations and “virgin” markings.
- Saturday, July 21st:
We will get up early, pack up our gear, and head to the cross state shuttle. We will be traveling with Riverbend Outfitters, because they come HIGHLY recommended by two of our team members (Gary and Charlie). We will arrive at the start town (Onawa) after lunchtime, set up camp with the Riverbend Cycling Club group, and hook-up with our remaining team members. This is traditionally followed by going to town for some music, adventure and libations (see a pattern forming here?)
- Sunday, July 22nd:
Pack up camp, Riverbend will be transporting our gear to the second overnight town (Denison), and then for the rest of the week, we will be staying either with Riverbend, or potentally some of the other opportunities that will develop in coming weeks (more on that later).
- Monday, July 23rd:
We will be settling into the RAGBRAI lifestyle by now. Riding all day, having fun, eating and drinking amazing amounts of everything and generally having a blast!
We will be with Riverbend most nights. They provide comforts above what our typical "Rabble" experience offers. Things like the following, seem small, but will be very important once you realize what RAGBRAI life is like without them:
- Chairs - when you do RAGBRAI by yourself, you have no chairs. Sounds like nothing right? Turns out, a chair is real nice.
- Shade - the Riverbend group will have shade tents set up for us when we arrive. Iowa is usually very hot and very humid for RAGBRAI. Shade is sometimes in short supply. Getting some is amazing.
- Charging station - you can charge your phone. This also might feel like nothing, but when 15,000 people are looking for outlets in a town population 200...outlets can be gold.
- Cold drinks - of your choice waiting for you at the end of each riding day. Again, without this support, you have to go out looking for these things like a hunter/gatherer cave-person each day after riding.
- Flexablity - And this is the main reason I selected Riverbend. After interviewing them, they seemed very open to ideas of what we might want to do during the trip. They offered to shuttle our stuff separately, if needed. This offer is not common among outfitters, so I jumped at the opportunity.
- And other perks, we can talk about later.
- Tuesday, July 24th:
This may be a day that we leave Riverbend's group for the evening, in favor of alternate accommodation for that night. Depending on how things play out, we might be staying at the Iowa State University, in a dorm room in Ames Iowa. Ask anyone who rode with the Pests in 2015, how nice a dorm room can feel at this point in the week. Long, hot showers, and maybe do some laundry. Feels soooo good!
This detail remains to be seen, as accommodation information is not available until May 1st. I called the Universities in advance, but they had nothing definite for me. But this is my intention if possible.
- Wednesday, July 25th and Thursday, July 26th:
Days and nights spent with Riverbend & RAGBRAI in cycling and camping revelry!
- Friday, July 27th:
This might be another opportunity to spend a night in a bed and hot showers, w/ maybe air conditioning? etc in a dorm room at the University of Iowa (Iowa City). Again, no info is presently available from the University. We will talk about this option after May 1st, when they release more info. I built one overnight stay, indoors at a dorm or hotel during the ride, into the price. If we decide to do two evening in beds during the ride: there might be an additional charge.
- Saturday July 28th:
Finish the ride. Two of our riders will immediately depart for a shuttle back to the Omaha Airport (I feel bad for these two). The rest of us will post up at a hotel in Davenport or the immediate area, clean-up a bit, and get a good night sleep (in beds and air conditioning for sure) before heading back to Pennsylvania at 5:00 a.m. Sunday morning. Arriving back in Riverside PA by 8:00 p. (hopefully).
Wooo, that's a lot! but just going through it, and visualizing gets me excited for the ride and really looking forward to another RAGBRAI!
So now to the pricing, and what remains to be done:
The price is going to be $1,300.00/person. This is more than our "Rabble" price of $1,150. but less than our "Rapture" price of $1,500. This seems correct and appropriate to me, as those other options provide more or less support appropriate to the price point.
So here is what you get for your $1,300.
- Transportation to and from Iowa for you, and your gear. this includes, tolls, gas, long-term parking, etc.
- The itinerary above.
- All of Riverbend Cycling Club’s creature comforts and support.
- One "during week" overnight in a bed, dorm, hotel, remains to be seen. Second night optional and maybe with an additional charge.
- One Team Pestilence Jersey (bug arms optional).
- Either A RAGBRAI Jersey or shorts (your choice)
- Registration in RAGBRAI and all the support, entertainment, maps, etc. that includes (see website).
- Overnight stay Saturday night in a nice hotel.
- And most of all…The Pestilence Experience = priceless!
We have two weeks from today to get the team shape and size finalized. This is plenty of time.
1. Send deposit -
If you haven’t already, the first step in being on the team is sending a $350. deposit to hold your spot. You can do this right on this page by using our store link at right. First come, first served. I can only take 10 people. Seven deposits have already been received as of this posting.
*Note* - If you haven’t sent your deposit by March 30th, we will assume you aren’t interested in the team, and our team registration will be closed and sent to RAGBRAI. We’d like to send earlier, so please send your deposit ASAP.
2. Wait for lottery -
After April 1st, we wait. Typically not long, but for a little while as RAGBRAI works out their end of things.
It’s a lottery, but no one I know that was part of a team has ever been denied access to the event. I like our chances.
3. Finalize planning -
Once we are accepted, and we get our rider numbers and official team information, I can finalize those items included in the package. Things like…
- ordering jerseys
- finalizing reservations
- final booking with Riverbend
- look for other interesting things in overnight and pass-thru towns that we might not want to miss.
4. Balances are due -
The balance of you trip will need to be paid within a few weeks of being accepted as a team to RAGBRAI. At this point, I’ll set the date of May 1st for balances due. There will be costs of production at this point, and if we wait much longer, we may incur “hurry” charges on things like Jerseys, that no one wants to pay.
*NOTE* - If you decide not to go after April 1st, no refunds of your deposit will be issued, as those funds have already been sent to RAGBRAI and vendors for registration and gear. You will of course be sent your materials, and you can try to personally sell those items to recoup your costs. Some websites do exist for this purpose.
If you decide you can’t go after paying your balance, we will again, try to offer a partial refund (based on when you cancel) but again, most of these fees go to finalize reservations, services and logistics. It’s hard to say what might be available as a refund.
And finally, the folks who are meeting us at the start town will of course have a special fee structure. We aren’t transporting their gear, they aren’t staying with us on Saturday the 28th, but they do need a shuttle arrangement to the airport post ride. Those final arrangements are presently being made, and those final balances will be appropriate to the services delivered.
5. DO RAGBRAI!
I realize that everyone is different and everyone will have their own personal experience, inside the larger group experience. This is actually one of my favorite parts of RAGBRAI.
We are each free to roam and choose as we see fit:
- If you want to see something special to you along the way…do it!
- If you want to ride the century or gravel loop options…do it!
- If you want to stay extra long and eat extra pancakes that they throw at you at breakfast…do it!
- If you want to hit every bar along the route…do it!
- If you want to eat every church pie along the way…do it!
- If you want to sleep in the grass for a few hours under a shady tree along the route…do it!
Some decisions will work well as a group experience, and some will be purely personal to you, or you and a friend. That is wonderful, and we all need to embrace this group dynamic. A lot of time and energy can be wasted trying to do everything as a group. I have no desire, and there is no benefit to running a rigid itinerary or schedule during the RAGBRAI event itself. To do so, would negate most of the beautiful opportunities of the event.
It will take a day or so to get to know and understand the dynamics of the group. I ask that everyone be flexible during that time (and frankly, for the entire experience). I haven’t lost anyone yet, and I’m yet to see anyone leave Iowa without a smile on their face. So R-E-L-A-X…It’s RAGBRAI.
That is not to say that you won’t be challenge…you will. Things will go wrong. You will be hot, sweaty, smelly and maybe sore. We’ve had lost wallets, and broken gear, and falls, and cuts and bruises, and drunken singing, and by the end…everyone is smiling again.
I look forward to another magical time at RAGBRAI. There is nothing else quite like it on earth. It’s always special to me personally, as a dear friend got me into the event, and my heart is always full of his spirit as I ride the corn. These kinds of things, are the personal things we will all leave Iowa with in 2018. Special moments that stick and that matter.
Proud to be your guide for that opportunity.
For between $100. - $250.00/person (depending on your needs) we will drive you, your bike and your gear to the end city on the eastern border of Iowa. From there, you can camp, and then jump on a shuttle service to the other side of state. The RAC TRANSPORTATION ONLY OPTION allows you to do all the things that RAGBRAI offers completely self guided. And RAGBRAI offers a lot of things to do. Visit their website to learn all about the options.
Transportation only options are best for the following kinds of situations:
- If you are the kind of person that likes to do everything yourself and experience RAGBRAI on the most stripped-down, basic, core level - this might be for you.
- If you want to do RAGBRAI for the least possible cost, this method might also be for you.
- If you just need to get to RAGBRAI, but plan to use another outfitter. (like Pork Belly)
But be warned: RAGBRAI can be a hot and humid week of riding. You might be miserable at times, and wondering why on earth you have exposed yourself to this sweaty, sticky, cycling trip from hell. After a few days, you do regain perspective, and begin to enjoy the ride again, but we just want to be "up-front" about the learning curve.
To always get the latest information the absolute fastest way possible join our Facebook RAGBRAI event page here.
*Remember, select this option if you want transportation leaving (and possibly returning to) our Riverside PA location ONLY!
*ALSO NOTE!* - Riverside Adventure Company reserves the right to "bump" Transportation only participants in favor of full Team PA Pestilence riders. This will take place before July 4th holiday, if adjustments need to happen.
HOTEL OPTIONS - At the end of RAGBRAI, you will be tired. Experience has shown us that a nice night, in a hotel room, at the end of RAGBRAI is preferred before starting the long ride home. The team stays in a local hotel each year. We offer this to "Transportation only" folks as an option, as we know people have budgets.
TEAM PA PESTILENCE "Rabble" experience:
This was the full RAGBRAI experience in 2015 and in 2016. Riverside Adventure Company plans to take what we learned in past RAGBRAI and apply it to this year. But this time, as a team of Central PA cyclists that we call TEAM PA PESTILENCE!
We came up with this name after watching 10,000 cyclist ride, eat, drink, and generally ravage their way across Iowa when we last completed the ride. To our way of thinking, that looks more like a biblical plague than a cycling event. So we figure, let’s just go with that idea, and take it to the next level. Let’s embrace our Locust-like-selves!
It will be a combination of days of riding with the large group (from this point referred to as "the rabble") and some time spent outside the larger group with people or organizations that specialize in supporting RAGBRAI riders and adding some "creature comforts".
Included in this package:
INCLUSION IN "TEAM PA PESTILENCE"
This means you get to travel with, party and ride as the locust you know you are.
ROUND TRIP TRANSPORTATION
For you, your gear and your bike. Use the guidelines found on our webpage and on the RAGBRAI website to determine what to bring and how much to bring. This is a huge topic, so make sure you take some time to familiarize yourself with both websites prior to leaving for the trip.
(These get paid directly to RAGBRAI and get us week-long luggage service, overnight locations, and admission wristbands. For full details in regard to RAGBRAI fees and services rendered please click HERE.
Team PA Pestilence & RAGBRAI jerseys
The RAGBRAI Jersey will be the standard issue Jersey for that year. The team PA Pestililence jersey will be unique and distinctive. A unique look is important because it helps you easily locate people in your team in a crowd of 10000 cyclists. Our cool Team Pestilence riding Jersey will include a set of antenna and extra locust arms to attach to your custom jersey for the full "Pestilence/locust" look! You will love it!
So you will leave RAGBRAI with two jerseys you can sport proudly once you get home!
Cross State shuttle
We park on the east cost of Iowa in the end town, then we need a shuttle across the state to the start town.
Mid-week stay in a bed with electricity and other comforts.
It's nice to see how the "other folks" are living during RAGBRAI. Some people like to do it with the rabble for the excitement and "ground zero" effect that offers. Others like a slightly more supported, relaxed experience. After a few days of the RAGBRAI grind, RAC reasoned, why not spend a day somewhere more "comfy" so that TEAM PESTILENCE can see what creature comforts other plans offer along the way. Maybe you like it, maybe you don't, but either way: we'll have extra stuff to talk about on the long ride home.
In 2015 our team stayed in the University of northern Iowa dorm room. They offered "extra services" like laundry service, dry towels and hot shower with short lines and other "luxuries". These things will look REALLY GOOD come midweek, so that is why we will pay them a visit at this time. Details will be forthcoming once the route is announced.
To always get the latest information the absolute fastest way possible join our Facebook RAGBRAI event page here.
Overnight near or around the finish town
From doing RAGBRAI in previous years, we know that after riding the last leg of the event, the absolute LAST thing you want to do is get your smelly, sweaty, filty bottom into the van and get driving. What you really want to do is regroup. This is why we insist on an overnight stay in or around the finish town. After all that riding, and fun, you need a good night sleep in a bed and a shower before heading out. To do otherwise, frankly isn't safe.
FYI - Overall Budget total trip cost estimate/person
$235.00 (pocket money based on a kind of stingy $35/person/day)
$985.00 (Team PA Pestilence/person)
$1,220.00/person for the week*.
*This is about HALF the price of driving yourself, and trying to arrange for your own lodging!
Team PA Pestilence - we share the ride in our van. Our group shares the ride costs and our guests never have to touch the steering wheel. Sleep if you want or party your way to Iowa.
MUCH MORE WILL BE SAID ABOUT THIS IN UPCOMING MONTHS IN "JOURNAL" SECTION OF THE WEBSITE. ALWAYS CLICK THERE FOR UPDATES AND SEARCH THE ENTIRE SITE USING "RAGBRAI" AS YOUR SEARCH WORD TO MAKE SURE YOU'VE SEEN IT ALL!
Team PA Pestilence - "The Rapture"
*NOTE* - we will offer this FULLY SUPPORTED version of RAGBRAI at the request of the FULL team:
RAPTURE PACKAGE INCLUDES:
- Leave Friday at 4:00 p.m. (not 5:00 a.m.)
- Arrive at the western start town between 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. Saturday (effectively eliminating 12 hours of trip costs and two meals).
- Do RAGBRAI (weeklong wristband and all that goes with it).
- Get two jerseys (one RAGBRAI, one Pestilence)
- Have accommodations for 6 to sleep in beds (pop-up trailer). We would alternate between beds and tents.
- Have on site electric for charging electronics.
- Have some shade, chairs, misting coolers, etc.
- Have some hot showers and clean towels (no lines).
- Have someone set up tents for you.
- Have cold drinks waiting for you at the end of each day.
- Have coffee, tea, bagels, etc each morning before leaving.
- Have air service for bikes tires.
- Have a bike stand for mechanical needs.
- Have at least one day of laundry service available.
- Maybe have halfway point SAG support (will depend on the day).
- a dedicated person to help riders each day (me).
Things "Rapture" wouldn't have that the "Rabble" experience does have:
- Cross state charter bus (not needed. You use our vehicle exclusively for this version).
- RAGBRAI luggage trucks not necessary - but optional.
- The middle of the week dorm/residence stay. Everyday will be an upgraded day.
- Less waiting in lines.
- Less daily costs for food and drinks.
- Better food and drinks.
- No daily luggage claim grind, and tent set-up.
Estimated price point: $1,500/person
(but consider the fact that you will save time, drink money, breakfast money, and some of the associated costs - and it may be a wash overall).
*PLUS* - All the planning, transportation, and logistics offered in the "rabble" version of the trip. 100% leave all the details to us!
QUESTIONS? - use the form below, do drop us a line!