Just when I was needing inspiration most, I arrived home from work tonight to find a package from the Des Moines Register. Inside were our RAGBRAI credentials, including wristbands, bike tags, vehicle passes, luggage tags, participant guides, merchandise catalogs and RAGBRAI jerseys for those who ordered them.
These will be distributed upon departure from Eby Fieldhouse on Saturday, July 21. If for some reason you need them sooner, let me know.
The participant guide includes suggestions for what to pack. I'll recite them here (with editorial comment in parenthesis).
Please put identification on everything you take on RAGBRAI. Lost items can be returned to owners.
Bicycle equipment: Find your helmet, mike sure it fits correctly and pack it now. (Unless you're planning on biking anytime between now and July 21!) Bicycle shops can handle most any mechanical need you have, but you might consider bringing a small repair kit that includes a tire, spare tube, tire irons and small wrenches. (I've survived on spare tubes and chain lube, after the eventual rain, the past two years. As long as you get your bike serviced before RAGBRAI, it should be good to go.) In addition, a rear view mirror, bike gloves, pump, bike bag, rain gear, bicycle lock and water bottles are necessary equipment. (Personally, I don't mess with rain gear. If it rains, I get wet. And a lock isn't really necessary either, from my experience. )
Camping equipment: You'll need a duffle bag (or, in our case, a 30-gallon plastic tub), sleeping bag, pillow, pad, tent, ground cloth, rope, stakes and a flashlight. (A collapsible chair will also come in handy.)
Toiletries: Pack a towel, washcloth, toothbrush, toothpaste, skin lotion, shampoo, soap, razor, nail clippers, brush/comb, hair ties/barrettes, deodorant, mirror and toilet tissue. (No arguments here, though I could probably survive a week without nail clippers.)
Clothes: T-shirts, shorts, a jacket, pants, warm-up suit, underwear, socks, shoes, sandals, sleepwear, swimsuit and sweatbands/bandannas should get you through the week. (Two sets of biking attire are sufficient from my experience -- one to wear and one to dry out after "washing" it in the shower. Remember that you will be getting a CoeBRAI jersey and some of you also ordered a RAGBRAI jersey. Remember also that each overnight town has a t-shirt they would like to sell you. Be sure to bring padded biking shorts!)
First Aid: Pack aspirin, ibuprofen, vitamins, Band-Aids, gauze, tape, first-aid cream, lip balm, sun block (lots of it!), insect repellent, safety pins, special medicines, Campho-Phenique and sanitary protection with disposable bags if needed. (And Gold Bond powder. Don't leave home without it!)
Miscellaneous: Bring an alarm clock, spare glasses, sunglasses, a scouting knife, camera, film, watch, earplugs, ID, money, traveler's checks, credit cards, journal, pens, pencils, stamps, address book, several plastic trash bags for rain protection and zip-lock bags. Be sure to enclose everything in a water-tight plastic bag.
(Oh, and bring your bike.)