Are you a first time RAGBRAI rider? Every year we are asked many questions about how to register and the logistics of riding RAGBRAI. Below is most of the information and links you need to know to register and ride RAGBRAI.
Things you will need to ride RAGBRAI:
- RAGBRAI Credentials
- Transportation to the start town
- A way to move your gear each day
- A place to stay each night
- Transportation home at the end of RAGBRAI
RAGBRAI strongly recommends all first time riders use a charter service. Charters take the guess work out of RAGBRAI and make sure your basic needs are met during the week. A charter, such as Bikes To you, will accompany you, explain everything, and make sure you have an enjoyable, hassle-free experience.
Every rider must have credentials from RAGBRAI. Sign up for the credential lottery begins in November and runs until April 1st. Many people sign-up with a group. This appears to increase the likelihood of getting credentials. Our local club, Grinnell Bicycle Club, applies for credentials together and has reliably received credentials. Click here to view a PDF of the 2018 Grinnell Bicycle Club RAGBRAI registration letter and information.
The RAGBRAI registration site is not mobile optimized. Most phones and tablets have trouble navigating the site. We advise you use a desktop or laptop computer during the registration process.
RAGBRAI publishes several different PDF documents with step by step instructions
First, you will need to create a user account. Follow the PDF below titled Create RAGBRAI User Account. Then, follow the instructions in the next applicable PDF to register as an individual or group member.
Create a RAGBRAI User Account instructional PDF
RAGBRAI Registration as an individual instructional PDF
RAGBRAI Registration as a member of a group instructional PDF
Minors must register under an existing adults account.
RAGBRAI Registration for a Minor instructional PDF
Credentials are announced in May. If you sign-up with a group your credentials will be mailed to your group contact. If you sign-up for credentials through the Grinnell Bicycle Club they are mailed to Bikes To You. Most Grinnell Bike Club members pick up their credentials when they arrive in Grinnell a day or two before RAGBRAI begins, or, at the Bikes to You Charter campsite in the start town.
Getting to the Start Town
People get to RAGBRAI in a variety of different ways. Some people join a charter service at a central location. The charter provider then busses their customers to the start town. Many charters offer airport pickups in addition to the bussing service. Lastly, some people drive themselves to the start town.
Bikes to You offers two origination points. One is centrally located in Grinnell, IA, and we have a parking lot provided to leave your vehicle free of charge. The second is at the Mississippi River, the Saturday before RAGBRAI. You will need to arrange to park with the end town. End towns do charge to park your car in their designated RAGBRAI parking area.
Flying to Iowa
If you are flying, many charters offer airport pickups at pre-selected airports and predetermined times. We do a pickup at the Des Moines airport regularly the Friday before RAGBRAI. We strongly advise flying on Friday before in case there are delays. We pick people up at the airport and bring them to Grinnell where you can stay at one of our fine bed and breakfasts or hotels. We depart the following morning on charter buses for the start town. Click here to see a full list of housing options in Grinnell.
You may ship your bike directly to us or to RAGBRAI. If you ship your bike to us we ask that your bike is delivered by the Monday before RAGBRAI, so we can inspect it. Bikes are not commonly damaged or lost in shipping, but, it happens occasionally. We want enough time to take care of the problem if there is one. We inspect the bikes on arrival at our store and leave them in the box for transportation to the start town. If they need work we assemble them in our shop and take care of any issues.
If you wish to ship your bike direct to RAGBRAI, RAGBRAI's instructions are available at http://ragbrai.com/about/bike-shipping/
Renting A bike
It may not be economical to ship or bring your bike with you. We have a rental bicycle fleet. Click here to see our full line of rental bikes.
Moving Your Luggage and Sleeping Arrangements
There are a variety of ways to move your luggage each day during RAGBRAI.
A charter will move your gear and have a campsite ready for you when you arrive in the next town. Charters Provide you with a basic level of service and help you understand all the ins and outs of RAGBRAI.
During the week the Bikes to You Charter posts signs on the route to our campsite. We provide sports drinks and water in our campsite. If you wish to have additional items you may request them to be picked up during our daily grocery store run for an additional fee. We have our own portable toilets in our campsite and have showers for our charter members only.
Bikes To You offers a tent service. We will set up one of our Marmot Limestone 4 person tents for you each day. We also provide a sleeping pad and chair with each tent. In the morning, you pack your bags and leave the tent up. Our staff takes care of packing the tent for you. Tent service is a great option for people who are flying in or don’t want to set up a tent every day. Many of our customers say the best part is that their tent is dry when they get to camp.
Beds and Air Conditioning
Beds and air conditioning are at a premium on RAGBRAI. The ride stays in many small towns in Iowa; some of which have populations of 2,000 people or less. These towns do not have enough hotel space for the 10,000 plus RAGBRAI riders. Finding hotels or home stays can be very difficult.
We offer a bunkhouse to give people a bed and air conditioning every night. We have a semi tractor-trailer equipped with individual cabins. You stay in our campsite, but avoid tenting. This is a fun way to experience "RAGBRAI In Style."
You may ride with a team, use the RAGBRAI baggage truck, or ride self-contained.
Riding with a team:
Teams are typically groups of people who have some previous relationship with each other. Teams also come with some expectations for what you will do to help with the logistics of the group. This may be driving a vehicle or helping set up camp. Every team is different. Some want to party all night, some want to go to bed early, others want to eat like kings. If you go with a team you will want to find out before the ride what the expectations are and the normal daily activities of the team.
RAGBRAI baggage truck:
RAGBRAI does offer their own baggage service which is included in your credential purchase. You are allowed one 50 pound bag. Bikes To You has gained several charter members on the first day of RAGBRAI due to baggage limitations on the RAGBRAI baggage truck. We let you bring as many bags as you want, so long as each bag weighs less than 30 pounds each. This is a great option if you want to ride RAGBRAI for as low a price as possible. The RAGBRAI baggage truck is unloaded at the main campground and you will probably have to haul your bags a long distance to set up your tent. There are no guaranteed services outside of moving your bags from town to town with this option.
If you want to haul all of your own gear on your bike you may. This is the hardest way to ride RAGBRAI however, some people love it.
Getting home from the end town
There are a few common ways to get home at the end of the ride.
If you rode with a charter they will have buses waiting to take you back to their points of origin. For our charter, we go back to Grinnell. If you flew into the Des Moines Airport we then take you back to Des Moines after we get to Grinnell. We suggest flying out the following day in case there are delays.
Some people use a charter that originates at the end town and park in the end town. You may ride your bike to your vehicle, then pick up your gear at the charter's loading point, and drive home.
You may also make other arrangements such as getting picked up by a friend or ride your bike home if you are riding self-contained.
It is strongly advised that if this is your first time riding RAGBRAI you consider riding with a charter. Charters make the logistics of RAGBRAI much easier and take care of the questions so you may focus on riding your bicycle, having fun, and making new friends!
If you have any further questions please check out our FAQ page
We are happy to answer any further questions or help you navigate the RAGBRAI process.
Store: 641-236-8600 Craig's cell phone: 641-990-4820