GURAI '05--Unicycle Across Iowa in One Week

Hey Everybody,

It’s that time of year; RAGBRAI, the “largest, longest, and oldest bicycle touring event” is at it again. The annual 500 mile, 7-day ride across Iowa is attended by a minimum of 9,000 people every year (8500 registered riders and tons of tagalongs). It’s even had days with riders numbering over 20,000.

The first unicyclist to complete RAGBRAI was the Infamous George Barnes IV in 2002. This year, myself (Ryan T Alley) and Kai Martin will be setting out to equal the feat. We’ll be using Cokers outfitted with GB4 (the best) frames and handles, along with air seats. I’ve been training all summer but it will still be obscenely difficult, with daily mileages of:
Day 1: 65.5 mi
Day 2: 84.4 mi
Day 3: 62.0 mi
Day 4: 83.7 mi
Day 5: 78.3 mi
Day 6: 57.1 mi
Day 7: 54.0 mi

with a total of 485 miles.

You can see route and other info at

Read about GURAI '02 at

Learn about the best unicycles in the world at

Everyone’s encouragement is greatly appreciated as we attempt this Ultra-Epic ride. Details about the ride, riders, route, unicycles, preparation, etc… will be released afterwards and I’d be happy to field anyone’s questions.

-Ryan T Alley

Good luck!!

I’ll be riding part of Thursday on my bicycle. I’m riding over to Northwood on Wednesday from my house in Osage. We’ll have to try an meet up Wednesday night in Northwood.


they’ll be tagging along with seager and me and our teamroadshow. just find us.

Don’t forget about Aaron Parker and Jesse Shumaker from the original GURAI 02. They deserve props too! Jesse may not of finished but his almost snapped achilles was a good excuse.

One must never forget Aaron riding around camp at night on his uni, wasted, screaming “I’m a drunk unicyclist!”

That would be sin. :slight_smile:


I’ll bring my clubs and torches.


I might stop by Akron or Lemars when you guys are up there.


Hey all, everyone interested should check out our website. We’ll have updates through the week and pics afterwards:

Thanks for your encouragement!


Trip report from Day 1 posted at:

I still question the sense of this, but check out Kai’s pedals. If anyone can do this (and do it safely), it’s Kai.


Good luck on the ride, and avoid face plants!

Cool; who’s the author?

That’d be Kai, who apparently rode solo today. Tommorrow is 86 miles, wish him luck.

What happened to Ryan? Glad to see Kai made it out alive, what with this heat, and those pedals.

For anyone following this, I have new trip reports at:

Sounds like Ryan’s done a little sagging due to chafing problems… ouch.

I’ll be leaving to ride to Northwood in just a few minutes. Looking forward to meeting up with GURAI riders and Team Roadshow.

See ya… Joe

here’s a pic of mark and Seager juggling in Northwood on Wednesday night.


Wow, sounds like a tough ride. I don’t think I could ride that far without some real hills. Flatish riding is harder for me. Good luck completing it! Loved the stories of being the only tent standing after the storm. We had the same experience biking touring in New Zealand one time.


That’s true for me too. I think it’s because, for me, I try to put less and less weight on the pedals to be more efficient, and then there is more and more weight on the saddle. :frowning:

It’s a welcome relief to have a hill where you put real pressure on the pedals, and where there’s more vigorous blood flow to the nether regions. :slight_smile:


Well thank god that’s all over!!! One thing happened on RAGBRAI that I might never understand… I did better on hills than flatlands… My saddle soreness was not nearly as bad on hilly days. On flat days, it was unbearable (literally going numb after 3 miles, despite lifting myself entirely off the seat as often as I could), but on hilly days I could ride (with much discomfort however) for 8 or 10 miles without going numb. Now keep in mind, this is with top-notch bike shorts and tons of chamois butt’r. The chamois butt’r helped a lot and it wasn’t the chafing that bugged me so much, it was just the not being able to keep blood flow to my very, VERY important parts. Has anyone else had similar experiences? Anyway, I ended up with 350 miles I think, completing the last two days in personal-record times. (2000+ ft. of climb over 54 miles in under seven hours (with breaks, of course)). Also, on the second to last day I did 57 miles with 1500 ft. of climb in 7 hours which I consider to be a respectable time. It also helps that these days were short and didn’t depend so much on ability to bear saddle soreness. My legs are feeling very good, and I’m very sad that legs aren’t the only thing you need to complete RAGBRAI on a unicycle! :slight_smile:

I should also mention I had an unfortunate technical problem on day 3, which might have turned out to be my fastest day. After noticing a loose bearing-cap bolt in the morning i tried to tighten it with my fingers (being without the allen for it) and it seemed to be fine. about 10 or 15 miles into the day I feel the wiggle of the wheel and jump off to screw in the bolt and find it is gone!!! I was supremely pissed off even though I knew it was my fault. I attribute having not noticed the bolt missing or getting increasingly loose because of a pretty smooth cadence that morning. I did, however, find a ghetto solution to my problem the next morning. My temporary fix was to zip tie the bearing caps together. Yes, I said zip tie, and yes, it did work until I found a John Deere. Anyway, I’m writing my trip reports right now and they’ll soon be up.


Congrats to both of ewe! Awesome! I’ve ridden a few RAGBRAIs myself, and am totally impressed that you managed it OOW. I’m sure you had too much fun. I’m so jealous. Remember to stop gorging on food now that it’s over!


Death Before Sag!