RAGBRAI Bound: A Brand Advocate Prepares to Ride Across Iowa
What once began as a casual bike ride across the state of Iowa in 1973 is now one of the most well known (and most replicated) multi-day state-themed rides in the USA. We’re talking of course about RAGBRAI (aka: the Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa).
This famous annual ride draws bicyclists from all over the states, as well as the world. From note-worthy food (Pie! Porkchops! Beer!) to the communities that come out to support and celebrate the riders, it’s a bucket-list adventure for those that like to get out and explore on two wheels – including Saris Brand Advocate Mike Bauler.
Mike resides here in our home state of Wisconsin, a stone’s throw away from the great Mississippi – the natural border between us and Iowa. This year marks Mike’s second visit to RAGBRAI, and there’s a special bonus for those who spot him on the roads.
For RAGBRAI XLVI (July 22 – 28th) he’ll be continuing our July celebration of American-Made Products by sporting our Saris kit and handing out Iowa-made PubNubs to some lucky winners.
That’s right – if you spot Mike, you could have one of these handlebar bottle openers for yourself. But before you track him down, get to know him below – and get some insider information on how to snag a PubNub this RAGBRAI. And of course, stay up on his RAGBRAI adventures over @wmbauler on Instagram.
Typical example of “bike racking” at each RAGBRAI stop.
Why are you riding RAGBRAI?
This is only my second year riding RAGBRAI! A friend invited me last year and after the first day I knew I’d be back in 2018! I love ‘brai because it’s a great break from the grind of tri training and allows me to kick back and ride my own ride. I can choose my speeds and take as many hydration breaks (i.e., Craft Beer Tent) as I deem necessary!
Mike’s nightly RAGBRAI set-up. Each day RAGBRAI ends in a host town, and in each town we find a host family where we can set up camp. Everyone has a tent and a tote for their tear. We have a volunteers, parents of one of Mike’s riding buddies, that pulls a trailer and Sherpas their gear from town to town.
Can you explain a little about what kind of cyclist you are, as well as why RABGRAI appeals to you?
I am primarily into racing in triathlons, but I’m not very fast so I do it for the camaraderie and challenges the bike presents (i.e., hills, wind, mechanical, cars, etc.). During RAGBRAI there will be thousands of riders out there for numerous reasons, but the commonality is the love of the ride. I also really enjoy the beer and food!
Mike and other RAGBRAI attendees enjoying craft beer in the shelter of an old corn bin at last year’s event.
As you're riding the course, what can people do to earn a PubNub?
Give me a beer?! Just kidding. If you can tell me that the PubNubs are made in Iowa, you’ll find yourself in the winner’s circle.
What's your favorite beverage to open with a Saris PubNub?
BUSCH Latte (Light) is our unofficial beverage of RAGBRAI, but I’ll also bring a healthy supply of New Glarus’ Spotted Cow and Moon Man, as well as Ale Asylum’s Hopalicious so my Iowa friends can partake in Wisconsin hydration too.
What are you most looking forward to at this year’s RAGBRAI?
I’m looking forward to unplugging from the grind of work and training to enjoy several days of self-paced riding. I’m also really looking forward to having an epic breakfast burrito from Farm Boys!
Mike with his friend Matt in Clear Lake, Iowa, a stay-over town for last year’s event. They lucked out with having a host family that lived on the lake, so they were able to wind down in perfect water and recover.