RAGBRAI a "bucket list" item for many - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

RAGBRAI a "bucket list" item for many

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For many Iowans and cycling enthusiasts everywhere, participating in Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, or RAGBRAI, is an item on their bucket list.

Candy Sarris is from Sioux Falls, S.D., and this year's RAGBRAI is her first.

"I just had my birthday on Tuesday, so now I have it crossed off my bucket list," she said Friday evening in Independence. "I dont think I'll do it again. It's just a lot of work."

Cyclist Joe Smith from West Liberty is on the other end of the spectrum. He's celebrating his 10th consecutive RAGBRAI this year.

"RAGBRAI is either something that you either love or you hate, and I think I really like it," he said. "You've just got to do it, especially if you're an Iowan. You have to do RAGBRAI. Don't put it off."

Thousands of bicyclists swarmed Independence Friday for the final overnight stop of this year's RAGBRAI. Participants vary widely in age, years of cycling experience and even types of bicycles.

Bob Anderson of Madrid is riding RAGBRAI this year on a recumbent bicycle, which puts the cyclist lower to the ground in more of a reclining position. It's his fifth RAGBRAI, and he said it's the variety of people he meets that keeps him coming back year after year.

"You're seeing children, you're seeing older people, and I'm 65. I'm not the oldest," Anderson said. "I've seen people riding RAGBRAI that are in their 80s; I have to try to keep up!"

Whether RAGBRAI is for you -- or not so much -- you'll never know unless you try, cyclists say.

RAGBRAI wraps up Saturday with the hilliest leg of the week, ending in Guttenberg.

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