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It's the state's biggest bike ride.

Since 1973, RAGBRAI has been a week-long ride West to East across Iowa.

“I kind of grew up riding my bike always wanted to do it, rode it with a high school friend and somebody who drove our stuff and I’ve done it almost every year since,” says Carl Sundermann of West Des Moines.

This will be Carl Sundermann's 13th time riding RAGBRAI, a ride that has continued to get bigger and bigger.

Since 1973, 275,650 people have participated visiting 780 Iowa towns. All the RAGBRAI routes combined total 16,907 miles.

With such a popular event, local bike shops are feeling the pressure.

“To say that it`s been busy isn`t an adequate way to describe what goes on in this shop this time of year,” says Bike World Employee Frank Owens.

Owens says when talk of RAGBRAI starts their shop stays busy.

“People come in and buy bikes lots and lots of bicycles for RAGBRAI, people come in and buy bikes because of the fact that there is so much excitement around RAGBRAI,” says Owens.

Throughout the years bikes have gotten sleeker, faster and more efficient which in turn costs more money.

“It is an expensive sport but I feel like any hobby is expensive so just do what you love and it is what it is,” says Sundermann.

Today an average bike can run you anywhere from $700 to $2,000. Back in 1973, when RAGBRAI started,  a nice bike would cost you between $150 to $200.

When the race started there was also no entry fee, now that runs a week-long biker $150.

Add in the cost of food, drinks and souvenirs and a week on RAGBRAI rivals that of an out-of-town vacation.

“I usually bring $400 with me and I plan to spend it all so my wife and I are doing it this year so it`s $800 for us, add the registration and things like that it`s a $1000-$1500 vacation,” says Sundermann.

RAGBRAI kicks off Sunday in Council Bluffs.

Riders will come into Des Moines on Tuesday and take off from the metro on Wednesday morning.


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