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Play the streaming YouTube below, or click here to listen or download the MP3 audio file. (59m 13s, 113.8MB)


For a history and details about the Des Moines Register’s RAGBRAI bike ride (Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa)  see “RAGBRAI History – 1970s” and “Full List of RAGBRAI Towns 1973-2019.”

During the early years of RAGBRAI Nicholas Johnson not only participated in many of the rides but also reported on them on a daily basis back to National Public Radio in Washington. During RAGBRAI V, July 31-August 6, 1977, he decided to produce for NPR an hour-long collection of sounds from the ride: voices of the small town supporters along the way, the participants, and their bicycles. It was his attempt to put the listener inside the ride, to provide as much as audio can of the experience, of Iowa, its vistas, roads, fields, small towns, and their people.

Here, then, is Nicholas Johnson’s “Bicycle Ride Across Iowa,” produced for NPR’s “Options” program. It runs 59:07 and reports a ride that went through the following Iowa towns (with overnight stays in CAPS) in this order: ONAWA, Turin, Castana, Mapleton, Danbury, Battle Creek, IDA GROVE, Galva, Schaller, Nemaha, Newell, Albert City, LAURENS, Mallard, West Bend, Whittemore, ALGONA, Titonka, Woden, Crystal Lake, Hayfield, Miller, Ventura, CLEAR LAKE, Burchinal, Rockford, Charles City, Ionia, NEW HAMPTON, Protivin, Spillville, Ridgeway, DECORAH, Freeport, Waukon, Elon, Dalby, Village Creek, LANSING.

If you would like to take a peek at some family pictures of this ride click here.