Pork Belly Update #1---All About Shuttles Before and After RAGBRAI

February 3, 2020


  • Frequent 2020 Q's & A's
  • Complete Details on All PBV RAGBRAI Shuttles
  • Big BAM, a five-day adventure in scenic southeast Missouri, May 31 to June 5, just a five hour drive from Chicago. Here's an awesome RAGBRAI training ride! Check it out below and at www.bigbamride.com!
  • RAGBRAI Route Announcement Photos

Dear Porkers,


The northern route of RAGBRAI 2020--the sixth shortest in RAGBRAI history-- is out, and suffice it to say that the phones are ringing. Veterans and virgins alike are finding the 48th version of RAGBRAI simply irresistible.


For us, this route brings a rush of favorite memories. We've already been in touch with some of our old friends along the way. We can't wait to begin planning in earnest, and we look forward to overnighting with you in these communities...

RIGHT: Patricia shared this photo of our Storm Lake campsite back in 2015.


Here We Go, RAGBRAI 2020!

  • Gather Saturday in LeMars, Saturday, shuttle info below.
  • 60 miles to Storm Lake on Sunday
  • 72 miles to Fort Dodge on Monday
  • 52 miles to Iowa Falls on Tuesday (Half-Hoggers can jump out on Tuesday, or jump in to ride the last four days.)
  • 72 miles to Waterloo on Wednesday
  • 85 miles to Anamosa on Thursday--the long one!
  • 43 miles to Maquoketa on Friday
  • Only 36 miles to Clinton on our last Saturday! Find our post-RAGBRAI shuttle info below.

It's a beautiful week, and how long have we have all hoped for a short last day? More on the route and recent RAGBRAI news right here!



ABOVE: Storm Lake, Iowa, the Sunday night host town of RAGBRAI 2020

BELOW: A little collection of photos from the last time PBV and RAGBRAI visited Storm Lake and Fort Dodge... ah, good times.


PBV is already at work on booking entertainment on stage for all seven nights of RAGBRAI. More to come as we develop those plans. Notice plates of pasta and veggies at right... Our creative Fort Dodge caterer has already agreed to reprise this delicious menu for us in Fort Dodge this July!

Some Frequent

Q's & A's


What is Pork Availability at this point in the season?

At present, all PBV Services and Shuttles are available (except the PHAT rooms have sold out). During the season, we'll keep you posted on the availability of all services.


Hey, I didn't receive the 2020 RAGBRAI Invitation Letter! 

We're hearing that some folks didn't get the email on January 26th, so here's the whole scoop on the route, the mileage, and the services of Pork Belly Ventures...



Please write to us and we'll forward the email version and/or answer your questions. We'd love to hear from you.

What Is Included in PBV's Weeklong Support?

The short answer? A lot of value, a lot of convenience.


The Invitation Letter does a thorough job of detailing the inclusions, but here's a concise cheat-sheet on what Pork Belly Ventures offers during RAGBRAI, complete with our phone numbers. Just click on the image at right to download this one-color, easy-to-print flyer, and by all means call us with your questions!


(This flyer is already a little outdated. PBV will have 61 shower stalls dedicated to those on our Weeklong Support.)

How Does PBV Help with E-Bikes and CPAP Machines?

We warmly welcome folks who will be riding E-Bikes, but we need to know about it, please. We can charge E-Bike batteries, so be sure to write to tammy@pkbelly.com if you're bringing an E-Bike to Pork Camp in July.


Same thing for CPAP Machines. Write to us so that we can send you information about how we can help you with electricity or with charging a battery for your CPAP machine. Write to us sooner rather than later, please, so you'll understand what we offer and also the limits of what we can do. Thanks!

With PBV, Can I Take a Day Off the Bike?

We've heard this question a few times as we've talked to folks who are thrilled about this beautiful route across Iowa, but who think they'll need a day off the bicycle.


All you have to do is choose your day/s off. Then, write to dave@pkbelly.com to reserve a seat on our coach for your rest day. Dave will add a $25 charge to your application, and you'll be all set. The night before you sag, take your bike to our Pass the Corn trailer. Board our comfortable motor coach by 7:00 a.m. and gosh, maybe book a nice massage on your day off!


(We will let you know when you can make massage appointments, prior to RAGBRAI, later in the season. As usual, we will have 10 talented therapists working in Pork Camp.)

What If I Still Have Questions?

As you read the information on our shuttles below, you might still have questions about travel planning. You may have other questions about what we offer, your logistical concerns, or a special situation. That's what we're here for, Porkers, so please call or write to either of us anytime. We enjoy visiting with you, and we'll reply to emails as quickly as possible:


Tammy, tammy@pkbelly.com,

712-328-0161 h, 808-375-8921 c

Pete, pete@pkbelly.com,

402-681-2613 c




One big reason for this update is to give you the most complete info we have on all RAGBRAI shuttles. Shuttle prices either went down this year or they stayed the same, with the exception of our Half Hog Shuttles.


Some of you are ready to buy airline tickets. That's great, and now you can bear in mind our shuttle departure times as you make your travel plans. You'll find a thorough summary of each shuttle, and remember that all shuttle prices include your seat on a comfortable, air-conditioned motor coach, and transport of your baggage and a bicycle.

PBV Shuttles Prior to RAGBRAI


Omaha Airport to LeMars, the start town

  • Price: $78 per person
  • About 2 hours on the coach
  • Staggered departures throughout Saturday, 7/18, approximately 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

This is our most popular airport shuttle, on the west side of the state, the nearest major airport to the start of RAGBRAI virtually every year. On Saturday, July 18, our motor coaches will depart at intervals throughout the day, beginning at about 8:00 am, with the last coach departing for LeMars at 4:00 pm. All coaches will depart from the north parking lot of the Candlewood Suites hotel at the Omaha airport.

Omaha is a great jumping-off point for people who fly to Iowa or drive in from points west, south, or northwest. We return to Omaha after RAGBRAI (see Return to Omaha below). The Omaha International Airport is served by most domestic carriers. There's more information about this shuttle in our 2019 invitation letter (link above), including descriptions and phone numbers of our side-by-side airport hotels. We have blocks of rooms at both hotels before and after RAGBRAI (Friday, July 17, and Saturday, July 25). Long-term parking is available nearby for $4.50 to $6 per day, depending on whether you choose a sheltered lot or an unsheltered lot. Valet parking from either hotel is free.

Words to the wise... Arrive in Omaha early. Saturday in LeMars is your induction into RAGBRAI 2020, and you don't want to miss the huge Bike Expo and start-town festivities because you arrived at 6:30 pm and did your chores until dark. Many veterans have learned this lesson and will arrive in Omaha on Friday afternoon or evening.

For Saturday arrivers, the earlier you plan to fly into Omaha, the more likely you'll be able to pivot to Plan B if you have to deal with a delayed flight or lost luggage. When you plan to arrive at 3:00 p.m. for our last bus at 4:00 p.m., a delayed flight severely limits your options and our ability to help.

Feel free to call me with any questions about when to arrive in Omaha: Tammy, 712-328-0161.

Our East/West Shuttle, end to start town, Clinton to LeMars

  • $160 per person
  • Approximately 5.5 hours across Iowa from the end-town to the start-town
  • One or more departure times on Friday afternoon, 7/17--tentatively 1:00 and 3:00 p.m.
  • Three morning departure times on Saturday morning, 7/18--tentatively 7:00, 8:00, and 9:00 a.m.*

*In response to requests from our riders, we spread out the Saturday departure times last year, with a full hour between departures.

If you plan to use our East/West Shuttle, give some thought to whether you'd like to travel across the state on Friday afternoon (extra night of camping in LeMars) or on Saturday morning (one night of camping in LeMars). Those who shuttle on Friday will get settled in camp on Friday night, will check in for Weeklong Support on Friday night, and will have more time to spend at the huge RAGBRAI Bike Expo on Saturday. No need to tell us your departure preference now. In June, we'll be asking you for some information, including your preferred departure day and time on the East/West Shuttle.

The East/West Shuttle is a great option for those who drive to Iowa from points east (or from the south or north) and who want to park their vehicles at the end of the ride. Our shuttle carries you to the ride start, and you'll spend your week pedaling back to your car.

Des Moines Airport Hotel to LeMars the start town

  • $140 per person
  • About 3.5 hours on the coach
  • Saturday morning, 8:00 bike loading, 9:15 departure

On Saturday morning, 7/18, our coach and bike truck will stage at 8:00 a.m. in the parking lot of the Des Moines Airport AmericInn Hotel, just off Fleur Drive. We will load bikes and baggage, board the coach, and depart at about 9:15. Last year, we had two motor coaches on this shuttle, and we assume we'll have two again.

Des Moines' international airport is served by many domestic carriers, and it's a good jumping-off point for many Iowans and for those who find it convenient to fly or drive into Des Moines. It could be great for those who drive up from the Kansas City area. Des Moines is not near the beginning or the end of RAGBRAI. It's toward the center of the state. Remember that Omaha is closest to the start and Quad Cities is closest to the end. 

We have blocks of rooms reserved before and after RAGBRAI at the Des Moines AmericInn Hotel, just off of Fleur Drive. To take advantage of our $98 rate, call (515) 285-5180 and mention Pork Belly Ventures for a reservation. The hotel may allow you to leave a vehicle in their lot for the week (subject to availability), and you may need to spend at least one night at the hotel for this parking option. If you don’t plan a stay at the hotel, there’s an airport parking facility just down Fleur Drive for about $6 per day.

PBV Shuttles After RAGBRAI

End town to nearest Airport, Quad Cities International Airport in Moline, Illinois (MLI)

  • $55 per person
  • An hour or less on the coach, barring traffic congestion, which can happen in RAGBRAI end towns.
  • Only 35 miles to cycle on the last day of RAGBRAI!!
  • Departures from Pork Camp at 12:00 and 2:30 p.m., with one departure in between.

The cycling route on the final day of RAGBRAI is shorter than ever before at 35 miles. On Saturday, July 25th, our coaches will depart at 12:00 and 2:30 p.m., with a third coach to depart between the two. (We can't announce the time of this departure. It will depart when we have a sufficient number of passengers on board, so that we know the last coach can accommodate the rest.)

When booking your airline reservation, be sure to pad your schedule, as traffic is unpredictable on the last day of RAGBRAI. Our shuttle will carry you directly from our mustering area in Clinton about an hour south to the Departures area of the Quad Cities International Airport. From there, you may go to car rentals, you may catch a free shuttle to any number of airport hotels, or you may go directly to the gates to catch your afternoon/evening flight.

We don't have relationships with any particular hotels on the east side of Iowa. But you will have no trouble reserving a room in advance near this airport. Simply google hotels near MLI.

A round trip into and out of one airport used to be the most economical way to fly. Now it is no longer cost prohibitive to fly into one airport and out of another. Some folks who fly into Omaha on the west prefer to fly out of the Quad Cities, the closest airport to the end town on the east side of Iowa.

[Note: we don't pick up from the Quad Cities airport before RAGBRAI.]

End town, returning to Omaha Airport Hotel

  • $152 per person
  • Approximately 5 hours. 
  • Several departures between 12:00 and 2:30 p.m.

The cycling route on the final day of RAGBRAI is only 35 miles. Our shuttle will carry you directly from our mustering area in Clinton to our side-by-side Omaha airport hotels.

On Saturday, July 25th, our first coach will depart at 12:00 or when all seats are filled. After that, we will release coaches as they fill, with the last coach departing at 2:30 p.m. All coaches will return to the Candlewood Suites hotel at the Omaha airport, next door to the Best Western Plus. From there, a free shuttle can carry you to the long-term parking facility to retrieve your vehicle. On Sunday morning, a free shuttle can carry you to the airport to catch your flight home.

NOTE: Pork Belly Ventures does not make stops along the way to drop off riders going to different destinations. We also do not return to long-term parking in the start town.

End town, returning to Des Moines Airport Hotel

  • $120 per person
  • Approximately 3 hours on the coach
  • One or two coaches departing pretty close to 2:30 p.m.

The cycling route on the final day of RAGBRAI is only 35 miles. On Saturday, July 25th, these coaches will depart mid-afternoon, at about 2:30 p.m. and return to the AmericInn Hotel, just off of Fleur Drive. Subject to availability, the hotel may be able to offer you weeklong parking in the hotel lot--check with them. A free shuttle can take you to the airport on Sunday morning. 

We have blocks of rooms reserved before and after RAGBRAI at the Des Moines AmericInn Hotel, just off of Fleur Drive. To take advantage of our $98 rate, call (515) 285-5180 and mention Pork Belly Ventures for a reservation. You may want to ask for Priscilla.

Half Hog Options (Midweek) with Departure Times

Some folks can't go Whole Hog this year, and here are your options of going Half Hog, riding the first half or last half of RAGBRAI with Pork Belly Ventures.

You can ride the first three days and jump out on Tuesday afternoon at Iowa Falls, or you can jump in on Tuesday at Iowa Falls and ride the last four days.

On Tuesday afternoon/evening, 7/21, Pork Belly Ventures has a block of rooms reserved at the Des Moines Airport AmericInn Hotel, just off of Fleur Drive. To take advantage of our $98 rate, call (515) 285-5180 and mention Pork Belly Ventures for a reservation. (You may want to ask for Priscilla.) 

Option 1: First-Half-Hog Package (for those riding Sunday, Monday, Tuesday)  

You may choose among our shuttles to the start town, but if you're parking a car, you should park in Des Moines at or near our designated airport hotel and use our shuttle to the start ($140). Our prorated weeklong support is $65 per day, and three days is $195. To depart from our Tuesday overnight town of Iowa Falls on 7/21, you may take our midweek exit shuttle at about 5:00 p.m., arriving at our designated Des Moines airport hotel at about 6:30 p.m. The exit shuttle is $52. 

Hotel and long-term parking info above, with our Des Moines Shuttle information. 

Option 2 Last-Half-Hog Package (for those riding Wednesday through Saturday)>

To enter RAGBRAI on Tuesday afternoon, 7/21, you can take our shuttle from our designated Des Moines airport hotel to the overnight town of Iowa Falls, departing the hotel parking lot at about 3:00 p.m. and arriving in camp at about 4:30 p.m. This Half Hog shuttle is $51. Our prorated weeklong support is $65 per day, and four days is $260. You may choose among our shuttles at week’s end, but if you parked a vehicle in Des Moines, you would use our shuttle from Clinton to the AmericInn Hotel at the Des Moines airport ($120).

On Tuesday, July 21, around 2:00, our coach will be available to board in the parking lot of our designated Des Moines airport hotel, AmericInn. From there, we will depart for our Tuesday night campsite in Iowa Falls, where Half-Hoggers will check in right away at our front desk (or set off to find your charter). You may spend four days with us, pedaling into Clinton on Saturday, the 25th. From here, you can use our Clinton/Des Moines Shuttle to return you to the Des Moines airport hotel by early evening. (In fact, you can use any of our post-RAGBRAI shuttles--to Quad Cities, Omaha, or to Des Moines.) 

How To Reserve Half Hog Options 

On your PBV online application, you can select the First-Half Hog (exit shuttle) or Last-Half Hog (enter shuttle) to or from Iowa Falls. You can also select partial-week support and choose the days you will spend with PBV. Unfortunately, the tent service can't be prorated; however, some half-week riders have gone ahead and taken a tent for the full week. Let us know, please, if you have questions about anything.

Des Moines Hotel and Parking for Half Hoggers 

On Tuesday, July 21, we have reserved a block of rooms at the Des Moines airport AmericInn Hotel just off of Fleur Drive. To take advantage of our $98 rate, call (515) 285-5180 and mention Pork Belly Ventures for a reservation on Tuesday night, July 21. (You may ask for Priscilla.) It may be possible to use an inexpensive parking option at the hotel, Park and Fly, depending on availability. The hotel offers a free shuttle to the Des Moines airport very nearby.


So there's no misunderstanding, friends, here's a list of

Shuttles PBV Does Not Offer in 2020:

Sioux Falls, Sioux City, Cedar Rapids, Chicago

Before RAGBRAI, Omaha is our only jumping-off point in the west, and we will not shuttle from either Sioux Falls (further from the start) or Sioux City (Sioux City gets only three flights per day).

After RAGBRAI, we have chosen the Quad Cities International Airport, which is nearer the end town of Clinton than the Cedar Rapids airport and which is served by more airlines.

We are far from Chicago, and after RAGBRAI, we travel back to the west; however, you can get a flight to Chicago from the Quad Cities International Airport.

Please write or call us to talk about which of our shuttles may be right for you.


Tammy: tammy@pkbelly.com, 712-328-0161 h

Pete: pete@pkbelly.com, 402-681-2613 c


Final Topic... Most of you know that PBV offers various luxury support services on many rides throughout the year. You are receiving this update due to your interest in RAGBRAI, but within our RAGBRAI updates of 2020, we'll be sharing the good word on other rides we support, one at a time, starting with the Good Word on Big BAM.


5 days of Cycling, Scenery, Live Music, and Festivity,

June 1 - 5

through the beer, wine, and bourbon country of

Southeast Missouri!



On May 31, you park a vehicle in Ste. Genevieve, one of the prettiest towns in Missouri, and shuttle south to

the ride start in Poplar Bluff.


How about a five-day ride across pristine countryside in Missouri’s Bootheel on hard-surfaced roads with minimal traffic, for live music, town festivals every night, and, yes, a little bit of libation?

Big BAM owner Greg Wood has outdone himself in selecting this gorgeous route, involving Pork Belly Ventures on the logistics end of things. We're working together to make this the very best Big BAM ever! There's a tremendous amount of tantalizing detail in Greg's Riders Guide below, but here's a start:

Big BAM offers its riders the following...

  • Gear Transport
  • Beautiful Campsites
  • 5 Live Concerts in Camp
  • Daily Hot Private PBV Showers
  • Portatoilets at all stops
  • SAG Service along the route
  • Free Big BAM Swag Bag
  • Your Big BAM T-Shirt
  • The friendly crews of BAM and PBV working together to serve you!

On BAM, PBV offers these optional support services....

  • Our Rental Tent Service: We set up and take down your rental tent, moving your baggage for you throughout the ride!
  • Our luxurious PHAT Rooms, with mattresses, linens, pillows, electricity, knotty-pine interiors, and importantly, air-conditioning!

Big BAM--In every way, it's a great training ride for RAGBRAI 2020!


Big BAM Links

For a glorious 8-page Big Bam Rider's Guide in PDF format with amazing photos and complete details on this delightful spring ride, click on the image at right.

To visit the site and/or sign up for Big BAM, click here:



To book Pork Belly Ventures tent service or PHAT Rooms, click on our events page and select Big BAM:


Oh Porkers, how we savored yesterday--57 degrees! We're back in the cold today, but along with you, we're daydreaming of heat and humidity, joy and stupidity... of RAGBRAI, our favorite week of the year. As ever, we sincerely hope you're with us!


Until next time, we remain...


Your friends,

Tammy and Pete

p.s. Up for a little more fun? Keep scrolling.

From the Pork Belly Scrapbook...

Memories of the RAGBRAI 2020

Route Announcement Party

and the all-day festivity of January 26th!

ABOVE and BELOW: Dave and I talked with a lot of nice, adventurous people in our booth at the Iowa Bicycle Expo. Below, I enjoyed catching up with Matt Bernhardt, the famous Pork Chop Man (second generation) of RAGBRAI!

ABOVE: Jose and Donna Medina met on RAGBRAI over 20 years ago, and we enjoyed their good company at the route announcement party. The first photo above shows Jose and Donna with RAGBRAI founder John Karras--nearly 90-- and with the bronze statues of Karras and his colleague, the late Donald Kaul. John stayed for the entire party. These statues will become part of a monument to the founders, to be installed in Des Moines' Waterworks Park.

RIGHT: On this big day, our gang always has lunch at El Bait Shop in downtown Des Moines.

THREE PHOTOS DOWN THE RIGHT COLUMN BELOW show our bike mechanics, Casey and Doug, over the course of the day. They stumbled across a pig somewhere in downtown Des Moines.

BELOW: Rob, Blake, and Dillon at the big party. Blake joined us on his birthday, but we missed his twin brother Brian. And for that matter, we miss Dillon's twin brother Collin, too!

ABOVE, Janet of Team Gourmet (our dear friend) and me, and BELOW, Pete and George visit with Janet.



BELOW: Nolan, Blake, Mick, Roger, Dillon, Sara, and Rob, with Pete in the red sweater behind them.

BELOW: Dave on the left, Nick on the right

BELOW: Along with 12 other RAGBRAI charters and the Iowa Bicycle Coalition, Pork Belly Ventures presented Anne Lawrie with a framed tribute and a bouquet of flowers. Anne has been the glue holding it all together during RAGBRAI's transition. That's Ride Director Dieter Drake at the podium on the left. Next to Dieter, Mark Wyatt of the Iowa Bicycle Coalition, and folks from our fellow charters Bubba's Pampered Pedalers, Padre's Cycle Inn, and Brancel Charters, along with us and the honoree. It was a sweet moment, right before the 2020 route was unveiled.

ABOVE: These boys from Costa Mesa streamed the RAGBRAI 2020 Announcement Party and sent us this shot of them with our tribute to Anne airing in the background. That's Steve, Bill, Don, Rob, and James in their Pork Shirts, along with Chip, the (sweet) dog. Thanks for watching, guys, and for sending us a photo of YOUR route announcement party!


BELOW: After we hear the announcement of those eight overnight towns, we usually take a minute to google mileage and talk about the new route. Well, we're still talking about it!

Join Us for RAGBRAI 2020, Won't You?