Above / RAGBRAI 2022 featured a northern route across Iowa, stopping in Mason City for a festival and overnight stay. The picturesque town is recognized as the home of the first-ever Grammy-winner Meredith Willson who composed “The Music Man.” Mason City is also home to dozens of Frank Lloyd Wright masterpieces, including the Historic Park Inn where we stayed for two nights. The Historic Park Inn is the last remaining Frank Lloyd Wright-designed hotel in the world. A year later, PN again has a rider in RAGBRAI L. (PN File Photo, RAGBRAI 2022)
The Des Moines Register is the number one news source for Des Moines, Iowa. Back in 1973, as the story goes, a couple of journalists for the popular newspaper, John Karras and Donald Kaul, started a bike ride across the state, west to east, from the Missouri River to the Mississippi River, just for the fun of it.
The Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, known as RAGBRAI, now attracts bicyclists from all over the world. Positively Naperville can say we first heard about the ride from Kevin Gensler when he and members of his family took the ride. Many riders create teams and ride for charitable causes. We can add that for one-tenth of the rides, our digital editor/photographer/son has been registered to help raise awareness for what’s promoted as “an epic eight-day rolling festival of bicycles, music, food, camaraderie and community.”
In fact, RAGBRAI is the oldest, largest, and longest multi-day bicycle touring event in the world. Every year tour organizers design a different route, approximately 500 miles, taking cyclists from one town to the next where residents showcase what makes their town proud. Whether farmers in the field, transplants who now live in Iowa, folks waving along the route, marching bands serenading, choirs singing or church members opening their fellowship halls to serve pork dinners to guests, cyclists get a taste of individuals known as Iowans or Hawkeyes.
Early Saturday morning, July 22, 2023, Tim Penick’s younger brother, Jeff, dropped him off in Chicago where he joined more than a 100 cyclists to board buses for the long ride to Sioux Falls, Iowa, at the Missouri River where RAGBRAI L was set to begin. With his trusted bicycle and large backpack, complete with overnight camping gear, now in his possession again, Tim let us know late Saturday afternoon that he’d arrived along with thousands of riders to participate in the 50th RAGBRAI.
Notes from PN Digital Editor / Photographer / Son of Many Words
July 22, 2023 / Arrived in Sioux City, Iowa. / All set up at camp now.
July 23, 2023 / Phone service is spotty in Storm Lake. / There are way more people. (72.2 miles)
July 24, 2023 / PN ‘Pic of the Day’ in Carroll, Iowa. (57.3 miles)
Follow RAGBRAI day by day at ‘Massive humanity’ as RAGBRAI launches 50th anniversary ride.
July 25, 2023 / PN awakened to find news from Shari Ross and Beth Burner about other Naperville entrees in this year’s RAGBRAI.
Lifted from Ray Wijangco FB Post, July 23 / This Sunday, July 23rd, a group of cyclists from Trek Naperville / Lifetime and I will be doing RAGBRAI (Des Moines Register Great Annual Bike Rider Across Iowa). Starting in Sioux City, IA, and ending in Davenport, IA, we will bike 500+ miles with 16,000 ft. of climbing, along with over 10,000 cyclists, over the course of 7 days. (It’s also going to be HOT!) I’ve started a RAGBRAI fundraiser to raise additional funds for Max’s Mission, with an initial goal of raising 10K. Cycling has been a BIG part of my mental health journey and grieving Max. Not sure where I would be without the cycling community here in Naperville, IL, including all the Saturday rides, early morning weekday rides, races, and adventures I’ve been a part of. Please consider donating to help make an impact.
For info about charitable giving via RAGBRAI, visit ragbrai.com/community-fund.
To donate to Max’s Mission, visit maxs-mission.org/donate-ragbrai.
July 25, 2023 / This morning around 7AM, south of Carroll, Iowa. / Headed to Ames, Iowa. (101.1 miles)
July 25, 2023 / Why did the turkey cross the road in Boone County, west of Ames, Iowa?
July 25, 2023 / 101 miles. Meet Bebe the miniature parrot 🦜. Just along for the ride.
Comment on PN FB… Andrew Morrison wrote, “I’m on the ride. It’s been great.”
July 26, 2023 / Leaving Ames, Iowa, 6:15AM / 71 degrees, 89% humidity
July 26, 2023 / Des Moines, Iowa. (54.7 miles)
“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” —Albert Einstein
July 26, 2023 / 5:12PM Des Moines, Iowa.
60,000 riders estimated today. It’s a complete $#!+ show with SAG! It’s 97 degrees right now with 90 percent humidity. I’m doing well, inside an air-conditioning banquet hall with about 300 people next to the camp ground.
July 27, 2023 / Headed to Tama-Toledo (88.9 miles) 3:33PM All is well. Cooling off. Movie theater has a pig star with her own dressing room!
July 28, 2023 / Headed to Coralville (80.6 miles) 7:22AM In Tama-Toledo, phone service is really bad.
From the GAZETTE / CORALVILLE — Coralville has been preparing for months to welcome tens of thousands of cyclists Friday from all over the world during the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa.
This year’s RAGBRAI route began July 22 in Sioux City and arrives Friday to stay overnight in Coralville. The cyclists will leave Saturday, going through Iowa City, and head toward Davenport to wrap up the ride.
July 28, 2023 / 3:01PM – 96 degrees / In Amana… On mile 54 … mostly experienced cyclists at the back… riding slow. And cooling off as needed. (About 26 miles to Coralville)
July 28, 2023 / 7:03PM (80.6 miles) I’ve arrived. In Coralville/U of Iowa. Still very hot and humid.
July 29, 2023 / 6:13AM Good morning from Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City. (71.2 miles) Onward to Davenport.
July 29, 2023 / Mississippi River 28 miles south of Davenport / 4:54PM Made it to Davenport.
Editor’s Note / If you know someone riding in RAGBRAI 2023, let us know. Send photos if you have them. Thanks.
Updated throughout the week. Last Updated, 10AM July 31, 2023