Twenty thousand people on their bikes finish the task, riding across the state of Iowa. A full week of RAGBRAI finishing up in the Quad Cities area.

Those riders racked up a total of 454 miles on their bikes, through rain or extreme heat. The  final 32 miles of the ride started in DeWitt and ended in Clinton, where there was a big celebration that had the whole town getting in on the fun.

Once the riders made their way to Clinton, a tradition was done, dipping the front wheel of their bikes in the river by the boat ramp.

After seven days, more than 20,000 bikers conquered RAGBRAI, the bike ride across Iowa. The 454-mile ride started in Le Mars and finished in Clinton. The city of Clinton was ready for all the bikers as they made their way down to the river to dip their front tires in the water to finish off the ride. One of the RAGBRAI teams includes the Grumpy Old Men, who say the ride was a grind, but they had a great time.

“Everyone in the state was so welcoming,” said Rob Thomsen. “Every town we went through everyone was just so encouraging, clapping, saying congratulations, saying have a good time is there anything we can do for you. It was a great challenging experience.”   

Thomsen says training for a ride like RAGBRAI takes a lot of training, so they would bike 60 or 80 miles a week. But it wasn’t just the bike riding they had to train for.

“We also had to train for all the drinking that went on,” said Thomsen. “So on our 60- or 80-mile bike ride on the weekend, we would ride 10 or 15 miles, stop and have a bunch of beers, ride another 10 or 15 miles, stop and have a bunch of beers. And I think that’s what truly got us through this week is that intense beer training.” 

Tim Pearson, another member of the Grumpy Old Men, says one of the most appealing things about RAGBRAI for his team was the way locally owned businesses in the small town’s benefited from having all the bikers visiting each day.

“We tried to eat at the local places,” he said. “Some of the local fire departments were raising money for a new fire truck or something for their schools so it was good to kind of contribute a little bit to the local economy.”