Storm Lake, IA, July 19 , 2015
Imagine some 20 000 riders invading in the evening a middle west town like a thick cloud of grasshoppers falling on a a corn field, then the next morning an endless line of lemmings on a narrow road heading towards another town 70 miles away. Imagine this crowd riding all possible bikes from high end 10 000 $ carbon warriors to basic heavy city bikes, ridden by cyclists of all ages, all walks of life, all levels of training, all possible gears. Imagine swarms of accompanying vehicules, thousands of tents scattered at night on every inch of grass available around the town, hundreds of food stands along the road offering drink and snacks…. That is RAGBRAI.
Started in 1973 by two journalists of the Des Moines Register, the ride across Iowa quickly met a growing success, attracting every year in July thousands of bikers and becoming one if not the largest ride of the world in terms of participants.
What strikes me the most is the huge logistics that such event implies : feeding 20 000 people all along the road, quenching their thirst, providing them with showers, toilets, camping spaces, entertainment, medical services , wifi and so on is an awesome challenge.
It is not a race , it is not a difficult terrain and the road is not open to automobile circulation Iowa is rolling hills and flat endless corn and soybean fields. Therefore most cyclists ride two abreast and talk and laugh. The heat in the 80s is the only difficulty. Another wonderful way to meet real Americana!