RAGBRAI 2019      

Pork Belly Update #6---Pork Terminology and More

May 17, 2018

Dear Porkers,


When you enter a new culture, it's good to have a grasp of the norms, folkways, nuances, and taboos of the place. And you have to know the language.


In addition to other timely topics in Update #6, we introduce you to the Pork Glossary of Terms, which is really a window into the culture of RAGBRAI. Don't expect to become fluent right away, Porkers, but begin using a couple new words and phrases each week. With diligent study, you'll have a command of the lingo before you even arrive in Iowa.


Scroll past the first few glossary entries, please, for topics relevant to you.



(n.) A balm used on a warm, humid area of the Pork Physique that is particularly vulnerable to chafing and saddle sores. Believe it or not, you will carry on whole conversations about the merits of Bag Balm, Chamois Butter, Zinc Oxide, and Desitin. (At least one of these is manufactured for use by animals.) Oops, don’t forget Lantiseptic, the current favorite of Big Sweaty Dave.


(n.) Where the shorts meet the saddle, or the warm and humid zone referenced above.


(n.) A rough and bumpy strip of pavement, usually three consecutive strips, that announce an upcoming stop sign. Riding your bike over a Rumble Strip can be very hard on your SCZ and your body's loose, moving parts. If you are caught unawares by a Rumble Strip, stand in your pedals immediately. Clench your teeth to keep your lowers from banging your uppers, or open wide and say AhhHahhhAHhhahhHAH, and listen to the bumpy sound your voice makes. Do not swerve mid-Rumble. Pay attention to other riders and signal before swerving to avoid the next Rumble Strip. And the next Rumble Strip.

Pork Glossary of Terms

continues below...

But first, some timely topics.

Weeklong Support Is Available.

´╗┐We Welcome You to Join Us!

We still have plenty of space on our large, pretty campsites for riders who like a hot private shower on an air-conditioned trailer (three trailers, actually), a friendly front desk with inexpensive cold beverages, shade canopies with a misting system, food vendors in camp, three suppers included, live music on stage in the evening and fresh-brewed coffee every morning. Let's see--phone-charging trailers and other custom-built equipment, bike mechanics, a hundred cheerful crew members to serve you. There's more, of course, like optional meals, a midweek laundry service, ten massage therapists working in camp, and on and on. Take a look at our Testimonials and contact us with questions about our Weeklong Support. Come and pass the corn with PBV!




Tent Service Waiting List

(and How to Get On It)

A few days ago, our tent service sold out. You can contact tammypav@cox.netto get on our waiting list. Given that we have asked for full payment by May 15th, we ask that anyone who wants to be added to our tent waiting list would first be fully paid up for the Weeklong Support. That way, if/when a tent becomes available, we can simply add that service to your application and generate a confirmation by email. Over the coming weeks, we won't have time to contact you to see if you're still interested. We have to keep the process simple.


What are your chances? This all depends on cancellations. Last year, we did have quite a bit of movement on the list. At this writing, the list is under ten people. You may want to give some thought to bringing your own tent, described below.

The Up-Side of Bringing Your Own Tent

There are some pretty impressive advantages to bringing your own tent, and about half of our Porkers do that.


  • First, you save $490 for other important RAGBRAI purchases. (Think of the massages and the pie you could buy.)


  • Second, if you arrive in camp early, you have immediate access to your tent and bags, while those in rental tents must wait until 12:30 or even 1:00 for our tent crew to complete their work.


  • And finally, when we have shade in camp, it usually belongs to those who set up their own tents. We look for wide open spaces to set up rental tents in tidy rows. That usually means an absence of shade trees. When we have trees and buildings that throw shade, self-tenters can claim those spots.

A Little Re-Tread from Recent Updates


The link to Davenport Long-Term Parking is here:


Davenport Long-Term Parking


Regarding the RAGBRAI Lottery: By now, you should have gotten good news from RAGBRAI. If you haven't heard whether you're a registered rider, please write to info@ragbrai.com.


Write to tammypav@cox.net if you want to buy or sell a RAGBRAI wristband. For those on PBV who need to cancel, we can introduce you to a buyer for your RAGBRAI wristband. The process is easy, and we provide direction. Sellers mail the packet to their buyer. Buyers mail a check to their seller for the face value, $175. Buyers also complete an online transfer form to make the transaction complete.

What's Coming Up?

Late May--payment is due on all services as of May 15th. We're easy, though. Just try to get it done this month.


June 1-- Packets are mailed out from RAGBRAI. Sometimes they are sent in waves, so if your friend gets hers before you do, just hang on. Another wave is coming.


June Sometime--We begin introducing RAGBRAI Wristband buyers to sellers by email.


Mid-June--We aim to send our June Letter in the middle of the month and solicit info from you via the June Form.


June 15--the refund deadline of Pork Belly Ventures. There's no fine print with PBV. Remember this date. Unless you have cancellation protection, it is your last day to get your 90% refund on the services you have reserved with us. More on cancellation here: PBV CANCELLATION POLICY AND INFO


Later on in June--we'll send you a culminating document that describes all the planning that is filling our days--OUR WEEK IN THE CORN. This is everyone's favorite update, with a day-by-day preview of our campsites, amenities, food vendors, caterers and menus, entertainment on Pork Stage, and more. Below, we offer a hint at one surprise we're saving for Our Week in the Corn.


July--Pork Host Town Maps will be published. In fact, we heard from Official Pork Cartographer Bob Rebach just today, and he is on it! These maps will show you the locations of our campsites in each overnight town, in addition to the location of the festivities and other useful businesses and sites.

Bike Shipping with SendMyBike.com

We placed this ad (below) in the RAGBRAI Participant Guide, mainly for those who are not spending their week with Pork Belly Ventures, but who want to ship a bike or duffel to RAGBRAI.


You guys who ARE with us for the week can go to sendmybike.com anytime to order shipping labels. It's easy. Please stay tuned for an update solely about bike shipping, in which we'll walk you through it. The deadline for ordering shipping labels is about July 1, so you still have a lot of time.

Serfas Bike-Shipping Cases for Sale

We have three Serfas Hard-Shell bike-shipping cases on hand, which normally retail for $350 each. If you order one, we'll put it on your PBV application, along with a $50 credit to reduce your cost. If you're flying to Iowa, shipping with Sendmybike.com is the way to go. Most airlines charge an arm and a leg for flying a bike. (Well, Southwest still offers a reasonable option for bringing your bike on the plane.) For more info, click here:


To purchase a case,

please write to Pete at pete@pkbelly.com.

Frequently Asked FAQs

We've been hearing these questions a lot... Does PBV need to know my RAGBRAI Wristband number? How do I request the departure time I want for my shuttle (Omaha and E/W Shuttle prior to RAGBRAI)? Can I get an extra night in my rental tent and how do I sign up for that?


Maybe we mentioned this. If not, we certainly should have.


The answer to all these questions is the June Form, coming soon. In June, we'll alert you that we're ready for you to complete a new page of your application. (It has not been activated yet.)


We call it the June Form. It asks you for your official RAGBRAI wristband number. It will ask what kind of bike we'll be transporting for you on our shuttles, and whether that bike will be in a box/case or fully assembled. It will ask for your preferred departure time on the Omaha/Onawa shuttle and/or your preferred departure day/time on our East/West Shuttle. For those arriving in Onawa one day early, the June form is the place to request an extra night in your rental tent (for only $40). Hang on for the June Letter and the June Form.

Friday Night in Onawa

We'll have a lot of crew and about 300 Porkers in camp on Friday night in Onawa. You'll be able to check in for our support early. Saturday morning, you will ease into your day, mosey downtown for some breakfast, roam around the huge bike expo, and enjoy the festivities in Onawa and in Pork Camp.


We need to be clear about which shuttles run on Friday--and there's only one. Our E/W Shuttle from Davenport to Onawa runs on Friday afternoon (departures at 1:00 and at 3:00) and early Saturday morning. You're welcome to get your own transportation to Onawa on Friday and begin your week with us a day early. But the shuttles from Omaha and from Des Moines all run on Saturday only. Update #1 gives you all the departure times and details.

Top Three. OMG.

Who would have dreamed, years ago when we first heard her sing in Pork Camp, that Maddie Poppe would someday be in the top three contending for American Idol? (Actually, we were believers from the start.) No jinxes, no predictions, but if you haven't been watching, it's just so easy to root for someone who is humble.


Despite her enormous talent and in the glare of a national spotlight, Maddie is keeping it real. Her musical taste--described by the judges as "impeccable"--doesn't favor mainstream music. She's come this far on her covers of Melanie, Simon and Garfunkle, The Beach Boys, and other classics that most twenty year olds don't listen to. She puts a new slant on every old favorite. Whatever happens Sunday night, Maddie Poppe is making us and Iowa very proud.


Des Moines Register story of Maddie's Homecoming in Clarksville, Iowa

That's it for Update #6, Porkers. The updates will be coming at you with greater frequency now, so find a place to keep them. You'll always find them on the PBV Smartphone App (FREE!) and at our website. Now and then, sit down with a cold one and catch up.


It's lively around here, but we're not too busy to answer your questions. Please call or write to tammypav@cox.net. Until next time, we remain,


Your friends,


Tammy and Pete



Pork Belly Ventures,

Glossary of Terms, continued...


(n.) This common noun, possibly derived from a little-known acronym from the ride's early days (Keep Your Bowels Open) refers to the ubiquitous banks of porta-potties on RAGBRAI. An entire seminar could be given on the subject of kybos, but we will confine this treatment to a few main points. Approach the kybo door with caution. In fact, knock, even if the thingy says "Open," as people get in a hurry and forget to latch it, and opening an occupied kybo can be traumatic. Secondly, while inside the kybo, keep your eyes straight ahead and use your peripheral vision. Don't look down. Thirdly, be very careful about not placing money or cell phones in shirt pockets, or you may bend down and hear an awful plop. When departing from the kybo late at night, ease the plastic door shut so that the people in nearby tents can get thirty-five seconds of sleep. Finally, do not set up your tent anywhere near the kybos.


(n.) Soft duffels or other suitably durable and zippable containers, for carrying personal belongings on RAGBRAI. Strictly defined, a bag is whatever can be zipped inside the bag, not a bunch of stuff loosely associated with the bag, i.e. a soft duffel with a lawn chair strapped to it, a zipper that won’t quite zip over the wadded-up air mattress, and a wet towel looped through the handle. That is no longer defined as a bag. That is a cluster.


(n.) Clusters are strictly prohibited with Pork Belly Ventures. The problem with clusters is that getting loaded and unloaded fourteen times causes them to come unclustered. Unclustered clusters wreak havok on everyone, but most of all, the cluster owner, whose stuff is strewn from here to God knows where. 

(Above, the baggage loaders of PBV stepping up to the task.)



(n.) A proper noun with a highly positive connotation referring to those spending the week with Pork Belly Ventures. Implies the virtues of good humor and the ability to roll with it. Usage as a term of address ("Dear Porkers") has no relationship to size, diet, level of hygiene, or appearance of the addressee. 


(n.) A Pork Belly Ventures baggage trailer (a semi-trailer) adorned with a favorite RAGBRAI saying: “It’s not so much the Heat. It’s the Stupidity.” When you ask where to take your bags in the morning, and someone says, “go to the Stupidity Trailer,” please don’t take it personally.


(n.) Someone who has ridden RAGBRAI. Period. You don’t have to have ridden every mile of Soggy Monday in 1981 to qualify as a vet. You don’t have to have ridden every mile of Saggy Thursday in 1995. If you have passed the corn on a bike in July, you are a veteran.


(n.) Someone who does not yet know what s/he’s in for, who doesn’t know how to catch airborne pancakes with her plate, who has never pulled on one pair of padded shorts over another pair of padded shorts to cushion the tender SCZ on Thursday morning, who has never competed valiantly in a toilet race, who may wander silently in the dark for half an hour after a kybo run, and whose eyeballs will be big as saucers on arrival in Onawa on July 21. Virgins are the envy of RAGBRAI. They have their first one ahead of them. No matter how many times they ride Iowa, they’ll never forget the maiden voyage in July of 2018.


(n.) Usually refers to a piece of Pork Equipment of one kind or another, i.e. "Let's drag the Thingy over by the teeter-totter." During the hottest part of the day, this term may be used to refer to almost anything, i.e. "Oh crap, I left my thingy in that last pass-through town" or "Ow! Cramp in my thingy! Where's the massage tent?" (If you are familiar with Pork Thingys, skip the next three entries.)


(n.) A table built by Pete, plumbed with five spigots and equipped with a mirror. This cold-water-only Thingy is good for filling water bottles, brushing teeth, and cooling off. Water from the Shower Thingy has never known heat. In fact, one fellow commented that cooling off at the Thingy made him "scream like a girl."


(n.) This used to be a Pork Apparatus (pictured at right), created by Dad, Pete, and Dave Kennedy for charging electronic devices. Now, the Juice Thingy has morphed into two walk-in trailers with individual lockers for charging phones and devices securely. The trailers will always be plugged into one of the big, quiet Pork Generators for round-the-clock charging. Bring your own little luggage-sized padlock, please. (Remember, we will have outlets, not chargers. Bring the charger for the wall outlet, not the cigarette-lighter kind.)


(n.) Yet another Pork Apparatus created by Pete, with a pressure regulator and compressor, for the purpose of inflating bicycle tires. In the mornings from about 6:00 to 7:30, during the busy time, a Pork Crew Member will help you top off your tires. Simply roll past with valve stems unscrewed, get your pfffffft-pfffffft, and be on your way.


(n.) The world you left behind when you decided to come do this thing. We have a saying that goes something like this. "On RAGBRAI, you will set your toothbrush on things you would not step on in real life."


(n.) Those who encounter initial difficulties in detaching from real life and embracing RAGBRAI. You have to face it, dude. Your egg-white omelette and your carb-free pancake will be waiting for you in real life, but you're on RAGBRAI now. (See "Live Like a Pig" at the end of this Glossary.)


(v.) Rather than sitting down to a meal, RAGBRAIers sometimes wander among the vendors, buying incompatible foods willy-nilly. Warm salted nuts, frozen ice cream dots, a slice of pizza, a heap of funnel cakes, a few ears of buttery sweet corn, a two-inch-thick pork chop, and a slice of Dutch Apple pie ala mode, for instance. 


(adj.) Some say that in terms of temperature, anything under 90 degrees Fahrenheit is RAGBRAI Cool. But actually, there’s no such thing. There’s RAGBRAI hot, RAGBRAI humid, RAGBRAI chilly, and OMG-who-knew-Iowa-could-get-this-c-c-cold-in-July. 


(adj.) In terms of aesthetic appeal, things that are decidedly uncool in real life can suddenly become extremely cool on RAGBRAI. Like the weedy area behind a shelled out car dealership where some kids have been lighting bonfires anyway so nobody really cares. You could mow that thing and bam! It’s a RAGBRAI-Cool campsite. Similarly, loin cloths and thongs. Not cool in real life, but you have to hand it to the guy riding across Iowa in a loin cloth or a thong. On second thought, no. 


(adj.) This is a relative concept, relative to RAGBRAI, where conditions can be less than clean. When someone says, "Is that cup clean?" and someone replies, "It's RAGBRAI clean," you can assume that you would probably survive drinking from that cup.


(n.) This is currency---bills---that have caused an awful plop. In other words, they have been stained by the blue chemical that is used in kybos, but their owner apparently has an unusually broad definition of the term "RAGBRAI Clean." The fabled Blue-Money Mike was perhaps the first to spend tainted currency on the ride. Some say that all week long, his arm was blue to the shoulder.


A brief sentence that encompasses how life can just be that way sometimes on RAGBRAI, so you have to suck it up and stick it out. You know, like maybe there's a storm or whatever. Whether you are climbing a literal hill or a metaphorical one, it's best to just downshift, metaphorically or literally, and roll with it.


Verb, noun, or adjective, this term refers to hanging up your bike and riding a motorized vehicle to your destination, i.e. "I never rode a sag (n.) in my life, but hey, Shift Happens, so this Porker is hanging his bent on the sag truck (adj.) and sagging (v.) all the way to Sigourney."


An abbreviation of "recumbent" bicycle. Nobody really uses it.


A PBV team slogan that encourages Porkers to be content with their circumstances, Think Gravy, find joy in the moment, regardless of sweat and other minor discomforts, acknowledge that shift happens, and roll with it. It is not uncommon to hear virtuous Porkers praised in hushed tones: "Wow. The guy really knows how to Live Like a Pig."