CLINTON — During the 2007 version of RAGBRAI, I wrote daily columns informing Clinton Herald readers of my experiences.

Now that I’ve had a few days to reflect on the 477-mile week-long event, it’s time to take an overall look at the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa.

Here are the bests (and a worst) from the ride:

Best Overnight Stop

This is a tie between Hampton and Cedar Falls.

Hampton was an easy choice since we went to see a great band uptown in Vic Ferrari.

The band played a lot of great music from the 70s and 80s and it was so loud that people in the campground 10 blocks away were complaining about the noise the next day.

Now THAT’S a band!

I also enjoyed Cedar Falls since I stayed with my brother-in-law Larry and his family in a nice, air-conditioned house.

Also while there I got to take a “real” shower and eat a good meal, not vendor food.

Best Pass-Through Town

Eagle Grove, just like a few years ago.

This town went all out for riders, beginning with a greeting from an eagle as we entered.

This was also the community that featured the “Andy Griffith Show” gang of Andy, Barney and Otis the town drunk.

Best Thing About RAGBRAI

The people in all the towns we visited.

Although many of the communities begin looking the same to riders, I kept in mind that these folks have gone all-out to welcome us.

I tried to treat the people I met with the same gumption in which they welcomed me.

Worst Thing About RAGBRAI

Cheap people.

I already relayed the story of how I told the guy off at the homemade ice cream stand.

My brother-in-law John and I had another similar experience Thursday when some guy was getting on a kid for selling watermelon slices for $1.

John asked me, within earshot of the complainer, “Don’t you know this guy, Ted?”

To this, I responded, “No, this is an older cheapskate than I saw the other day.”

Favorite Quote I Heard Along the Way

This goes to my brother-in-law Larry.

We had stopped in a convenience store Thursday in Denver and a friend asked Larry if he was riding, to which he answered, “I’m still on last year’s RAGBRAI.”

Best Thing About Lance Armstrong Riding RAGBRAI

Lance’s mission on the ride is simple. He wants to raise awareness for the fight against cancer, which I think is excellent.

On the other hand, I never went out of my way to see Lance during the ride. He typically took off much later than me each day and our paths never crossed.

And, to be honest, I really didn’t give a rip about seeing him. This ride is about Iowa and the communities we pass through, not Lance.

It’s also not about short-term rider John Edwards or other politicians who probably couldn’t point Iowa out on a map, but somehow find their way here whenever there’s an election approaching.

Hmmm ... amazing how that works.

Easiest Day

That would be Tuesday, the ride from Humboldt to Hampton. Few hills and no headwind.

Toughest Day

Sure enough, it had to be the last leg of the journey from Dyersville to Bellevue.

Saturday morning’s ride was filled with plenty of hills, which seemed even tougher since hills had pretty much been nonexistent in the previous days.


I finish up by thanking those who have complimented me on my RAGBRAI coverage over the past week.

I hope my reports were entertaining and insightful, and maybe even sparked a reader or two to someday do the ride.

It’s a lot of fun and a great way to see our wonderful state of Iowa.