From Rollie, who, as you can see here, has been riding RAGBRAI for a long time, 46 years to be exact:
"Good article in the DM Register today. You made the right decision. My first Ragbrai was Sagbrai [the Second Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa]. John Karras announced the ride in the Sunday paper, and my wife and I decided to go. We called up Howard Johnson’s in Council Bluffs and reserved a room the night before the start!! Then we went to Omaha and bought two Fuji bikes.
"One rider rode the whole ride in a bikini swim suit. Most of the food vendors along the way were private persons who lived close to the ride. Chris Cakes served breakfast every day, and churches sold food. In one place a couple of young guys had a truckload of watermelon and were cutting it up with corn knives and giving it away free. I think the only bike mechanic was Bill’s Cycles, and about the only police support was one state trooper, Bill Zener, who drove back and forth. He was a joker. A rider ahead of me thought it would be a good idea to cut a large marijuana plant and tie it on his bike. Bill saw that. ‘Don’t be a sap,’ he said over his loud speaker. ‘Throw the weed in the ditch.’ The guy did. Bill is 89 or 90 now, and lives over in Red Oak.
“The next year they gave the ride the official name of Ragbrai, but we still have our Sagbrai t-shirts. Maybe in time, they will be so valuable that we’ll be rich. I can dream, can’t I?”