Frequently Asked Questions

ragbrai-sunset

Below are some frequently asked questions about RAGBRAI and about joining Team Simpson:

What is RAGBRAI?
Who organizes Team Simpson?
What time and where should I arrive for the start of RAGBRAI?
What do I do with my car for a week?
Should a beginning cyclist attempt to ride RAGBRAI?
How should I prepare for RAGBRAI?
How many miles will we ride per day on RAGBRAI?
What are some of the challenges of riding RAGBRAI?
Do I have to finish riding by any particular time each day?
Where do Team Simpson participants find meals during the ride and in the evening?
Will there be SAG support during the day?
Where will I sleep?
Is there a limit on what I can bring with me?
Is there transportation in the overnight host communities?

What is RAGBRAI?

  • RAGBRAI, The Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, is a seven day annual bicycle tour across Iowa.  Ridden from west to east, it takes a different route across Iowa each year and varies from 450-500 miles.

Who organizes Team Simpson?

  • Team Simpson is organized by Simpson bicycle enthusiasts who want to share the wonderful experience of cycling on RAGBRAI with anyone connected to the college - alumni, students, faculty, staff, parents and friends. Coordinated through the Advancement and Alumni offices, there are a group of dedicated Simpson staff members who make this event happen each year.

What time and where should I arrive for the start of RAGBRAI?

  • RAGBRAI begins on Sunday, July 20, 2014. Team Simpson will meet in the Hillman/McNeill parking lot at the corner of Clinton and C streets on Saturday morning, July 19, 2014. We will ask all local riders to bring their bikes and gear, Thursday, July 18, to help expedite the packing process. You may choose to arrive the night before (Friday, July 18) and stay at nearby hotels. Otherwise, we will see you on Saturday, July 19. We expect the loading and packing process may take between two and three hours, so please plan to be patient as we want to make sure to handle everyone’s bike and gear with care. Departure from the Hillman Hall parking lot will be announced after the RAGBRAI route is revealed. We will be distributing rider packets that will contain your daily maps and other information. Those of you, who are joining the team after Saturday, please check with the drivers to get your rider packet. 

What time and where should I arrive for the start of RAGBRAI?

  • You can leave your car in the parking lot at the corner of Clinton and C streets for the duration of the ride.

Should a beginning cyclist attempt to ride RAGBRAI?

  • Absolutely, this is a tour not a race - riders of all ability levels and speeds are welcome and encouraged to participate. However, it is recommended that riders train in order to be conditioned sufficiently for a week-long ride.

How should I prepare for RAGBRAI?

  • Riders train as much as possible, with both short training rides during the week and longer rides on the weekends prior to the ride. The more miles you spend on your bike in the months before the ride, the better prepared you will be for a week-long ride. A good gauge of your fitness is your ability to complete back-to-back 50 mile rides on two consecutive days. RAGBRAI provides a great training blog at http://ragbrai.com/category/ragbrai-training-blog.

How many miles will we ride per day on RAGBRAI?

  • The average day mileage is between 60 and 70 miles. The shortest day could be 50 miles and the longest could be around 80 miles (of course you can choose to ride the optional John Karras century loop). The 2013 route will be announced at the official announcement party on January 26, 2013.

What are some of the challenges of riding RAGBRAI? 

  • The terrain varies each year, with a southern route consisting of rolling hills and a northern route being much flatter. Even with an easier route, there will always be hills, so be sure to include some hill training before RAGBRAI. The weather, i.e., the wind, rain and heat, can always make the ride (and your overnight stays) more challenging. This can be offset by being prepared to ride in all types of weather, and packing rain gear. Give some thought to managing your consumption of food and drink. Food and water are the fuel your body needs to ride — so eating is important! Riding safely among thousands of cyclists is an experience that is unique to RAGBRAI. Be aware of the other cyclists on the road and don’t be afraid to verbally communicate when riding. It’s better to be safe than quiet.

Do I have to finish riding by any particular time each day?

  • No. Riders are free to schedule their day. Each rider is responsible for loading their tent, bags, chair and gear into the gear truck by 9 a.m. every morning. Our gear truck and van will depart for the next overnight town by 9:30 a.m. each morning. Riders who are joining the team along the route need to have their gear loaded by 9 a.m., as well. This will give our drivers time to stock up on supplies, allow drive time to the next overnight town and accommodate riders who leave early. We do not expect the team to ride together as one group due to various skill levels and interests. Depending on the route for the day, riders may start arriving as early as noon and may continue to arrive throughout the afternoon and early evening.

Where  do Team Simpson participants find meals during the ride and in the evening?

  • Team Simpson participants are assured a wide selection of food from which to choose during the week. Food vendors and other types of vendors will be everywhere along the route including the pass through and the overnight host towns. Many of these vendors advertise along the route with clever signs indicating their menu and mileage to their booth.

Will there be SAG support during the day?

  • RAGBRAI provides SAG support and as a registered rider you have access to these services as outlined on the RAGBRAI web site http://ragbrai.com/about/general-information/#35 . It is very difficult for a vehicle to reach a rider on the route because of the number of cyclists on the road. Riders should be prepared to address small mechanical issues such as flat tires themselves. Additionally, bike shops are located in most or all the pass through towns. We expect riders to bike in inclement weather and not use the van as a SAG vehicle for this reason, so be sure to bring rain gear .

Where will I sleep?

  • We have arranged overnight hosts in each of the overnight RAGBRAI towns for Team Simpson. Each host was asked to provide us with a yard for our riders to pitch our tents, showers upon arrival, bathroom access, electric outlet access and water for our water bottles.

Is there a limit on what I can bring with me?

  • Team Simpson does not have a limit on the number of bags we will transport. We will have ample space to accommodate everyone's gear. Exercise reasonability as you are packing, for your own convenience, as bags seem to get heavier after a full day of biking. We prefer gear to be packed in soft sided duffels or bags, as we use our bags to secure and stabilize the bikes during transportation.

Is there transportation in the overnight host communities?

  • Team Simpson travels with a van to shuttle riders into town if our overnight host is located away from the activities. A drop off and pick up location will be selected and the shuttle will run on regular intervals.

More information and frequently asked questions can be found on the official RAGBRAI website.