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RAGBRAI 2018      

Testimonials

Thank-You Notes of 2017

Every year, we hear from Porkers who have nice things to say about our charter, far more than we can publish here.  

Please know that we will always keep it real and work toward improving the next version of PBV.

For good reason, our cheerful and energetic crew get much of the praise below. 

 To everyone who wrote to us after the ride,

We thank you for passing the corn with Pork Belly Ventures.

 

Tammy, Pete and crew, Gary and I are talkers who always ask "Where are you from?"  That opens a floodgate of chatter.  This year we heard several times that PBV does what they say they will do.  This reminded me of an acronym which I have used for years.  DWYSYWD.  It’s the same frontwards or backwards.  Do What You Say You Will Do. Pork Belly's discipline to achieve this is remarkable.

We heard a person complaining about the sounds emanating from the tents. The person missed what I heard.  I remember a father and son (8 years old) on a tandem bike who were next to me all week in a tent. Each night the son excitedly recanted the day's activities as the dad fought to stay awake to respond. The soothing gentle voice of the dad is and was a remarkable sound.  Thank you, thank you to all of you.

--Tom from New Jersey

 

Hi Tammy, I just wanted to tell you what a wonderful time I had with PBV.  As a woman going all by herself, I was hesitant to go on RAGBRAI but I felt totally well taken care of and that everything was under control.

Each one of your PBV employees was helpful and friendly.  The entertainment at night was great and having a tent put up for me and taken down each morning was so well worth it.  Wasn't it just a beautiful weather week too?  I'm still reminiscing and missing life on the road.  Looking forward to next year. Thanks again!

--Carolyn from Minnesota

 

Pete, I received my bike a couple of days ago and was extremely impressed with the way it was packed… like it was a new bike.  Very impressive and worth the charge.  This was just the final example of the exceptional product you offer to us on Ragbrai.  This was my first time, and I was not sure what to expect.  The services provided are all excellent.  The staff is very professional yet friendly. I cannot give even a small example of a time when I felt like just a number another customer.  Always was met with a friendly smile and pleasant voice.  PBV was easy to deal with from beginning to end.

Your vision of how the experience should be for the PBV bikers definitely has cascaded to your team.  Since it was my first time, I cannot compare you to any other service, but find it hard to believe that others can exceed the product you offer.  Just want to share my thoughts and say thank you.  Keep it up, and I hope to see you again next year.  

--Del from North Carolina

 

Tammy & Pete, Although my sixth RAGBRAI, this was my first with PBV.  I’m sticking with PBV going forward!  It was a great experience where you provided services I didn’t even know I wanted.  The tent service was fantastic. It made for a real vacation not having to deal with the tent every day and the luggage delivery was perfect.  On my first morning, my bike lock seized up I think because of the morning dew. A PBV person saw my troubles and without being asked got something to cut it open getting me out on the road in plenty of time.

The music was great (my favorite was in Clear Lake). The meals in camp were good and so well organized that the line moved quickly. On those few years where the heat and humidity are predicted to be extreme I always have to cancel due to a pre-existing health condition. The cancellation protection is a great feature that makes signing up a foregone conclusion for me.  This year the weather was so perfect I didn’t need it, but the protection is wonderful.

Next year we’re moving, so my schedule might not allow for all of RAGBRAI but I’ll try and make a half-hog.  Thanks,

--Bill from Minnesota

 

Hi Tammy, As a first timer, thanks for the reminder in your email to provide feedback.  I’d been planning on doing it.  First, it’s amazing how well you all coordinate and organize such a large endeavor.  Like a traveling circus, you make it seem so fun and easy and cozy, yet behind the scenes, I as an owner of a pretty decent business, understand the massive level of logistics required to make something so challenging seem so easy to bikers.  The set-up, break-down, big and small tents, food, beverages, KYBOS, showers, pumps, trash, washing towels, entertainment, getting good help, etc. impressed me to no end.  And everyone, riders and support staff alike, was always happy.  There were no complaints or anything that I heard, which speaks to your ability to create a fun event for everyone.  Congratulations, and it’s no wonder that you are so successful.

You run a very impressive operation that makes bike riding much easier and fun than it otherwise would or could be.  Thanks a lot!

--Bill from Maryland

 

Dear Tammy and Pete, I just want to write you a quick note of thanks for the wonderful Ragbrai we all had this year. It was amazing!  I am not sure how you do it so well year after year but I am thanking you from the bottom of my heart.  I am not sure that I would still be riding across Iowa every year without PBVs and all of the PBV team.  I would also like to thank you for taking control of the KYBO service.  That was a smart move and it was fantastic.  Superior service there!  Also nice job with the weather.  Please do that again next year?  Take care and we will be biking across Iowa again before you know it!  Love,

--Lynnann from Pennsylvania and New Jersey

 

Tammy, another successful Ragbrai! Congratulations. I am more in awe of Porkbellys each year!

--Rollie from Iowa

 

I had been telling my husband Chris how amazing you two and the crew are- this was his first time and he was in awe, way beyond the expectations. He was so impressed how hands on you two are. He said it says a lot when you see the boss standing in the same line as you for the royal flush. Hugs and good fortune for your upcoming endeavors. Can't wait to be back.  You all are amazing.

--Kerry from Texas

 

OMG Tammy!!! I LOVED RAGBRAI!!  I plan to return next year as your team did a fabulous job! What is even better is that I now know what to expect. I was overwhelmed at first with the crowd, but I adapted. I am sorry to say that I did not get the opportunity in Lansing to pick-up my poster as planned. I would be happy to pay for the shipping, but I am worried you don’t have any posters left. Please advise as to whether this is possible. I am sad about it. 

--Bridget from Indiana

 

Hi Tammy, Thank you again for partnering with St. Patrick’s Church in Waukon and providing us with this fund raising opportunity.  All went well. I haven't seen Father Mark, but presuming the check was received (I'll follow up when I get off work tomorrow).   Heard many, many positive comments about PBV!  Having personally used your charter multiple times I would have been surprised to hear anything else.  Your customer service throughout all levels of your organization is exceptional.  Your company should be a case study for business schools. You can be proud of all of your crew, and I’m sure you are.   I did have a chance meeting with Pete on Main Street Friday afternoon - small world!  Rest well,

--Dave from Iowa

 

Tammy, we had a wonderful time on the ride!  You guys made it so pleasant.  Also, I think you and Pete must have very similar musical taste to Lisa and I – we loved your bands.  We actually talked to the Nadas about maybe doing a show in our backyard.  We do an annual benefit for Friends of the Mississippi River and are always looking for great artists. Thanks for the Herculean effort to make that experience safe and fun for so many people.  Well done!

--Dan, Lisa, and Tom from Minnesota

 

Dear Tammy & Pete, Well it’s been exactly four days since I left Iowa and went back to reality. Every year I do RAGBRAI I am in awe of both of you. I am astounded by how you coordinate putting up and taking down tent city alone, that is amazing! If I had to do it for one day I would be pulling my hair out.  Then there are the wonderful caterers and entertainment you find and you make it look so easy. The meals and music this year were nothing short of spectacular, I really enjoyed all of it.  And then there is all the paperwork, applications, transporting equipment, supplies, shower trailer, electrical charge thingy that you are constantly improving! I could make a list that goes on forever. If you ever give up Pork Belly, most industries would welcome you with open arms. I want to thank you both for another wonderful week in the corn and putting up with me once again.  It was really great, Thank you so much.

--Leo from Illinois

 

Tammy, Thank you for last week in Iowa.  I’m sorry I didn’t get to see you and Pete Saturday night in Omaha. I did thank Pete at Waukon. It was an excellent Ragbrai, and by far one of the easiest. Never had weather like that, at least not all week.  Some things that stood out in your service this year:  Showers have always been good, but this year I had hardly any waits for them. Not sure how you did that.  It was a really good bunch of campsites.

I spent less time finding my duffel bags this year than any year I can remember.  Extra kybos: never had a problem finding one or waiting in a line more than a couple of minutes.  Sag bus: I used it for the first time ever – because of the threat of a storm Wednesday. Everything went smoothly, even though I didn’t sign up until the morning of the sag.  Food for dinner. All good, but one stands out: the hamburger night. Mine was tasty, warm, and pink on the inside. It’s really hard to make ‘em like that when you’re grilling so many burgers. And I think your veggie offerings have continued to get better.  [Note, PBV can’t take the credit for grilling!  That goes to the Alamakee County Cattlemen’s Association.  Thanks to Tanner and all the guys!]  All the best.

--Charlie from New Jersey

 

I am SO grateful for the amazing PBV crew.  The last day of RAGBRAI I took a tumble about 25 miles outside of Lansing in the Yellow River forest. I convinced the paramedic to give me another helmet and let me finish the ride. When I got to Lansing, I rolled into camp, and three Pork Crew were standing by a trailer. I started crying. I pulled up next to these kind PBV people. I could barely mutter I had a fall and can't walk. The sweet blonde literally hugged me gave me a Powerade and said we'll help you. And, wow did they!! One guy asked me where I was going, tagged my bike and got it to the right trailer to Omaha. The other girl quickly located my bags, literally helped me pack my bike gear in one of them and get my things out to change. I hobbled to the shower. My friends got my seat in the right bus, signed me up. After my shower, the young man took my bags to stow on the right bus. I don't think I even thanked him! I got on the bus, took more Advil, and fell asleep for most of the bus ride. My friends took care of me from there.

My pelvis is fractured, and I'm taking off the next two weeks to recover. I just didn't want another minute to go by without telling you how embraced and supported I was by your wonderful staff - I don't even know their names! I hope you can figure out who they are to express my sincere appreciation and gratitude.  They'll remember me as the blubbering lady who couldn't walk!  They were so incredible, awesome, and kind. I couldn't have made it home without them.

Despite the fall, injuries and my meltdown I had another incredible time, so glad PBV was there with me through it all.  Still rolling with it!

--Shelly from Texas

 

Hey Pete & Tammy,  Just a quick THANK YOU for helping make my first RAGBRAI an amazing experience.  With PBV’s support, my daughter and I made it all the way to Lansing!  In her 27 years, she’s never been camping and I haven’t camped in about 40 years or so, so the tent rental and creature comforts – hot showers, flushing toilets, lemonade, massages, etc. etc. - helped us to be able to focus on pedaling and more pedaling.  Your staff were always cheerful, knowledgeable and helpful.

As an aside, when not cycling, I’m a investment banker focused on mid-sized private businesses, developing and pursuing exit strategies. This involves a lot of assessment of operations, logistics, capital investment, management, prospects for growth, etc.  So I cannot help myself but to think about these things when in the role of customer / consumer.  You appear to have invested heavily in the infrastructure needed to support a large group, with meticulous attention to the logistics of supporting many tired and needy souls and moving the entire camp to a new site daily.  While maintaining the homespun feel of sayings like “It’s not so much the heat, it’s the stupidity” and referring to “thingys.” and treating each and every porker as though we are important.

So I’m impressed as an outsider pondering the business side of PBV, and would definitely recommend PBV to friends or family members headed to RAGBRAI or other events you support.  Thanks again!

--David of North Carolina

 

Thanks for helping create a wonderful week for me and my grandson Max.  It was Max's 3rd, my 9th.  As I have aged and had a few health issues a few years back I did sag a couple of days but like I said -- the ambiance of the event is worth it to just be along, riding or not!

--Ken of Iowa

 

Hi Tammy, Just one photo from our time with you at Ragbrai but we felt it summed up how great your whole team were in making us welcome, comfortable and relaxed throughout the week. Thank you Brian with an "i" for being one of the first we saw at the end of every ride. Pete's firefighting friends who helped out for the week. John who came especially to help with bike hire but was seen serving food and helping in so many other ways. All the guys who loaded the bags every morning to Sweet Caroline and midnight runners. All the staff who looked out for us at the showers.

I have another photo I want to send you and ask if you would pass it on. Dave and Rose were an inspiration. I took their email address but it didn't seem to save in my phone so please pass it on if you have time.

Thanks for everything. We had a great time and seeing how tired Pete was at the end made us realise that you all gave everything to achieve that.

--Fran John, Jane, and Ann of England

 

Dear Tammy, I just wanted to thank you and the team for an excellent week in the corn.  Pork Belly Ventures far exceeded my expectations.  You made last week fun and painless.  I am amazed at how you made the week work so seamlessly.  I really don’t know why anyone would use anyone else!  Thank you and I will be back for another ride in the corn with RAGBRAI and you.

--Scot from Florida

 

Tammy and Pete: THANK YOU for assigning some of your crew to help us with our bags at long term parking. Lansing had someone with an atv to help transport luggage  to the lot across the street. Recovery of bags went so smoothly. Thank you for a wonderful week. It was our 1st RAGBRAI and we are very glad we chose you to help.

--Kit and Lach from Florida

 

This being our first RAGBRAI, we were not sure what to expect.  We were pleasantly surprised, Pork Belly Ventures exceeded our expectations and your online reviews. We were very impressed with your people, your logistics and the way we were treated like this was our 20th RAGBRAI with you.  We can't remember names but the following went out of their way to make our RAGBRAI great: the man in charge of the SAG Trailer, the lady with short brunet hair that seemed to be everywhere with all of the answers, the late 20's lady manning the shower queue line, and there were numerous others that we had contact with that were great.  We would like to use your service next year and on some of the other rides you support.  Thanks!

--Greg and Kathryn from Texas

 

Tammy, As you know I am a member of Caroline Cyclists and participated in my second RAGBRAI this year. I sent you an email last August to compliment you on the 2016 RAGBRAI … and some of my comments will be a repeat.  Your operation last year, like this year, was simply amazing. I am an engineer and have focused on details all my career. I know all about pre-planning and the hard work that goes into preparing for a major operation. It is amazing to watch you and your crew perform flawlessly. Everyone is friendly and helpful. Quite amazing. This year Frank, Gaines and I talked so much about RAGBRIA and PBV that we had four newbies join us. They all had a great time. Again, congratulations on a job well done.

--Michael of Mississippi

 

Hi Tammy, This evening Vic, my riding companion inquired about your suites and getting on your waiting list. This is our first year with your services and we thoroughly enjoyed everything your had to offer. You guys are so organized and a well run operation. Kudos!!  We intend to grow our presence here and would love to recruit others.

--Tom and Vic of Michigan

 

Kudos to you, Pete and the whole Pork crew.  This year was amazing. Wouldn't change a thing.  You've nailed it.  See you next year.

--John from Texas

 

Hi Tammy!  I know you are busy, but just wanted to say thank you to you and the ENTIRE PBV crew. Last year was my first RAGBRAI (and PBV experience), and I did not know what to expect. This year, I am over-excited because I know what to expect and hope to enjoy it even more.  Thanks for all you folks do to make my vacation a real pleasure.  See you soon!

--Brian from Wisconsin