RAGBRAI brings an estimated 20,000 people from all over the country to Hawkeye state.??I live in Fort Wayne, Indiana at the moment, but I'll be moving back to upstate New York in a few weeks,?? participant John Dunham said.
??We have a pretty diverse team from all over the place: Florida, California and Denver.?? John O??Brien said.
Mitch Witten and his team come from Louisville, Kentucky.??This is the second year for us, we ride bikes, we're a team, team Kentucky,?? he said, ??and we just enjoy the bikes and the whole ride.??
This is Lon Anderson??s 25th time participating in RAGBRAI. The Johnston, IA native says it??s the friendships that keep him coming back year after year.
??Other than the friends it would be just celebrating the state of Iowa and the good time that you have and just getting away from real life for a week and having fun,?? Anderson said.
Yes, some people came for the party, but RAGBRAI is also a family affair
??Ragbrai is really fun,?? 9-year-old Jaxson Wright said.
These kids are here to cheer their parents on, but they say they plan on training for next year.
??If you train, you can still ride half the day, and if you can't make it the bus will always pick you up,?? 10-year-old Abram Phillips said.
??It's really cool when [my parents] come home,?? his older sister Ella Phillips said. ??Like I know the first day we saw them riding in and I was yelling out the window, I was like ??yeah go mom!????
Riders set off from Fairfield on Saturday for a 63 mile ride to Fort Madison, the final destination.??Well from the Missouri River to the Mississippi, you know it's a long distance and it's pretty rewarding,?? Witten said. ??It's a challenge.??