Ragbrai can be ridden as one big ride or a series of day rides or - for many - just a single day.
For sure, the largest contingent of cyclists out there are blasting across the corn for the long haul. The full deal, river to river, all the way across the state.
But there are thousands of others who may not be able to commit to such an intensive experience.
Perhaps it's too strenuous or too many days of riding. But they’re still signing up, doing as many days as they like. Sometimes it’s just one day.
But even for just a day, you’re out there among the masses for the entire 60 or 70 or 100 clicks – whatever the mileage happens to be.
If you’re a casual rider, that probably requires some training, and bike that’s up to the task. Tuned up, cleaned up, pumped up. All that serious bike stuff.
But immediately I was surprised how quickly my assumptions were blown to bits.
Among all the speedy serious types were many average-once-in-a-while riders on bikes in various states of ridable condition.
There were old dusty Schwins with bald tires and squeaking cranks. Ancient mountain bikes from the 1980’s. Cheap imports. Adult trikes and lots of trailers.
Then there were the costumes and adornments. It reminded me that as a first timer, I didn’t realize that lots of folks treat this like a big bike parade.
Helmets were transformed into crazy fake hair doo’s. Pink tutu’s everywhere, sported by cute girls and old men.
Capes. Boa’s. Butterfly wings. Little kids stuffed in bike trailers decorated with designs of corn. Lots of sparkles everywhere.
On the first few hours of the first day, I was sure of two things. That these folks were probably having a hard time of it. And that they probably wouldn’t make it to the final mile.
Well, I was wrong, and I should have known the old rule of life: Never judge a cyclist by their bike or their costume.
Seemingly unfit, or an un-professional looking bike or too much makeup or just a strange getup, most everyone rolled into the overnight town just fine, thank you very much.
[A celebrity sighting: Ryan Van Duzer (pink shirt) is biking superstar online. Google him, you'll see.]
[I kept running into this guy all week. Ragbrai magic.]
[Sometimes you need a little rally on the bugle to keep you going.]
[A bike built for two and a trailer built for one singing dog.]
[Little doggie likes his homemade doghouse.]
[A trike & trailer, both on battery power. How about those canopy covers!]
[May the corn be with you.]
[This teenager and his brother both rode unicycles across the entire state. Think about that for a minute. Wow.]
[I think she recently rode through a thrift store.]
[This guy welded 2 1/2 bikes together to make this wacky tall bike.]
[Father and son from Canada.]
[Dad hauling a solar oven with his kid inside.]
[I'm following Mom wherever she goes.]
[Dad: This sucks. Kid: This is great!]
[Conrad and Russ looking a little boring compared to these other characters.]
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If you made it this far, thanks for checking out these rider photos.
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