Pork Belly Update #5-Great Ragbrai News and Shuttle Details

March 15, 2021
Dear Porkers,
We dare you to keep up with the good news these days! Wider and wider availability of three vaccines, growing optimism across the country, and now the definite Gitty-Up Decision from RAGBRAI!
RAGBRAI 2021 is on! Not half a RAGBRAI. Not an almost-RAGBRAI. The last week of July will look familiar to our veterans, and it will amaze our virgins.
Just last week, we visited all eight overnight towns, and our big-hearted hosts are thrilled to resume planning for the best week of the year!
Check out the recent post at RAGBRAI.com, declaring... "RAGBRAI®,
with support from the 2021 communities, will host the 48th annual bicycle ride
across Iowa from July 25 – 31, 2021!"
Read More Right Here!
Towns and Miles
of RAGBRAI 2021!
Check out the mileage below, and keep reading for the info on all of our shuttles, before and after RAGBRAI.
  • Gather on Friday or Saturday, 7/23-7/24, in LeMars, shuttle info below.
  • 83.8 miles to Sac City on Sunday, 7/25
  • 67.2 miles to Fort Dodge on Monday, 7/26
  • 54.9 miles to Iowa Falls on Tuesday (Half-Hoggers can jump out on Tuesday, 7/27, or jump in to ride the last four days.)
  • 67.9 miles to Waterloo on Wednesday, 7/28
  • 84.7 miles to Anamosa on Thursday, 7/29--the long one!
  • 64 miles to DeWitt on Friday, 7/30
  • Only 31.6 miles to Clinton on our last Saturday, 7/31! 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?
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 Shuttles are available. Our Weeklong Support is available. The Tent Service is not exactly tight, but we're keeping an eye on it. (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! 
Here's the whole scoop on the route, the mileage, and the services of Pork Belly Ventures. Won't you join us?
What Is Included in PBV's Weeklong Support?
The short answer? A lot of value, a lot of convenience. 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.)
I Have Some Questions, and I Can't Find the Answers.
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:
712-328-0161 h, 808-375-8921 c
402-681-2613 c
Are you traveling to RAGBRAI from Chicago, or do you need a lift back to Chicago after RAGBRAI? Check it out!
"The transportation service of Bicycle Illinois will transport you, your bike, and your baggage from downtown Chicago to the start of RAGBRAI and from the end of RAGBRAI back to downtown Chicago. One-way transportation is also available, as well as transportation for just you and your baggage if you will be shipping your bike instead.
"Let someone else deal with the stress of driving while you relax in our comfortable vehicles and arrive at the start well rested for the ride the next day. You will be able to meet and share experiences with other riders from Chicago and beyond who are as excited about the ride as you are. Let your fun begin the moment we leave Chicago!
"All of our locations in downtown Chicago are centrally located and extremely convenient. They are also easily accessible by all types of public transportation (airlines, trains, and busses) whether you live in the city or suburbs or across the country or world! In fact if you travel by public transportation you may be able to enjoy your RAGBRAI vacation truly car-free - no driving or parking at all!"
Learn more right here!
Now, our main topic...
Our main reason for this update is to give you the most complete info we have on all RAGBRAI 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.
Three PBV Shuttles Prior to RAGBRAI
We offer three shuttles to the start town before RAGBRAI:
  • from our side-by-side Omaha airport hotels,
  • from the end town on the east side of Iowa
  • from a Des Moines airport hotel parking lot
Omaha Airport to LeMars, the start town
  • Price: $78 per person
  • About 2 hours on the coach
  • Staggered departures throughout Saturday, 7/24, 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 24, 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.
Summary: 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 2021 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 23, and Saturday, July 31). 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 arrive at 6:30 p.m., do your chores, and miss the huge Bike Expo and start-town festivities. 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, 7/23--tentatively 1:00 and 3:00 p.m.
  • Three morning departure times on Saturday morning, 7/24--tentatively 7:00, 8:00, and 9:00 a.m.*
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 our LeMars campsite 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.
Summary: 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. (Stand by for the location of long-term parking in Clinton, please.) 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, 7/24, 8:00 bike loading, 9:15 departure
On Saturday morning, 7/24, 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 time, we had two motor coaches on this shuttle, and we assume we'll have two again.
Summary: 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. 
Des Moines Hotel Stay: 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.
Three PBV Shuttles After RAGBRAI
We offer three shuttles from the end town after RAGBRAI, all on the afternoon of Saturday, July 31:
  • to the Quad Cities International Airport (Moline, IL) on the east side of Iowa
  • to our side-by-side Omaha airport hotels,
  • to our Des Moines airport hotel parking lot
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 31+ 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 31.9 miles. On Saturday, July 31, 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.
Summary: A round trip into and out of one airport used to be the most economical way to fly. Now it is not necessarily 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. on Saturday, 7/31
The cycling route on the final day of RAGBRAI is only 31+ miles. Our shuttle will carry you directly from our mustering area in Clinton to our side-by-side Omaha airport hotels.
On Saturday, July 31, 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., Saturday, 7/31.
The cycling route on the final day of RAGBRAI is only 31+ miles. On Saturday, July 31st, these two 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. 
Hotel Stays: 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.
Hotel Stays: On Tuesday afternoon/evening, 7/27, 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 7/27, 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, 7/27, 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 27, 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 31st. 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. This year, we will offer pro-rated rental tent service for a limited number. Let us know, please, if you have questions about anything.
Des Moines Hotel and Parking for Half Hoggers
On Tuesday, July 27, 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 27. (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 2021:
  • Sioux Falls
  • Sioux City
  • Cedar Rapids
  • For Chicago, see the section on Bicycle Illinois, above.
Tammy: tammy@pkbelly.com, 712-328-0161 h
Pete: pete@pkbelly.com, 402-681-2613 c
Oh Porkers, 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
Pork Belly Ventures LLC 
Tammy: 712.328.0161 h, 808-375-8921 c, tammypav@cox.net
Pete: 712-328-6836 h, 402-681-2613 c, petephillips@cox.net|