This July, thousands of cyclists traversed the entire state of Iowa in the 50th edition of RAGBRAI. The seven-day bicycle tour has been a longstanding Midwestern tradition and can now claim it’s been around for the better part of a century. ROKFORM couldn’t stay away from the fun and sent one of our own to join the party on two wheels. Keep reading to find out the highlights from RAGBRAI 2023 and the equipment that kept me pedaling strong all week long.
ROKFORM leads the pack when it comes to protective phone cases and useful mounts. Designed for an active lifestyle, ROKFORM phone cases for Apple and Samsung models work with our bicycle phone mounts so you can keep your device secure whenever you ride. Choose between the Pro Series Stem Mount and Handlebar Mount to easily access your phone’s functions when biking, all while freeing up precious pocket space.
ROKFORM Rides RAGBRAI 2023
Earlier this summer, we kicked off the RAGBRAI 2023 blog series in preparation for the special edition of the ride. I explained the long history of RAGBRAI behind this classic event and shared training tips for RAGBRAI to ensure you’re in good shape— remember that Iowa has hills!
Each year, the RAGBRAI route stretches from the Missouri River on the eastern side of Iowa and finishes on the Mississippi River on the opposite edge of the state. For the uninitiated, RAGBRAI stands for the Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa.
While it was my first time doing the ride, I was accompanied by my father, who is an Iowa native and a RAGBRAI veteran who actually rode the second edition back in 1974 as well as several others since. We came equipped with some ROKFORM essentials to test throughout the week and help out along the journey, including compatible cases and bike mounts.
What is Special About RAGBRAI 2023?
This year’s ride marked the 50th anniversary of RAGBRAI making 2023 a special year! That significant milestone meant the event was even bigger than usual and attracted many newcomers to join the celebration. The map even followed the original route completed by the pair of RAGBRAI co-founders in 1973. This explains the start town being Sioux City leading to Storm Lake as the first night’s end town.
What are the RAGBRAI Route Details?
The ride’s total mileage typically hovers around the 450- to 480-mile mark, but this year’s extended route reached a long 500 miles to honor the special “mile”stone. Throughout the week, we met many RAGBRAI first-timers who were convinced to do the ride because of the event’s important birthday— after such a hot and hilly experience, I guess we’ll see if they repeat the week next summer!
RAGBRAI 2023 Route Details
|Day 1: Sioux City to Storm Lake||
Distance: 77 miles
Elevation: 3,504 feet
Towns: Kingsley, Washta, Quimby
|Day 2: Storm Lake to Carroll||
Distance: 62 miles
Elevation: 1,818 feet
Towns: Early, Lake View, Mt. Carmel
|Day 3: Carroll to Ames||
Distance: 83 miles
Elevation: 1,479 feet
Towns: Glidden, Jefferson, Rippey
|Day 4: Ames to Des Moines||
Distance: 50 miles
Elevation: 1,216 feet
Towns: Slater, Madrid, Polk City, Ankeny
|Day 5: Des Moines to Tama-Toledo||
Distance: 82 miles
Elevation: 3,652 feet
Towns: Mitchellville, Newton, Grinell
|Day 6: Tama-Toledo to Coralville||
Distance: 82 miles
Elevation: 3,303 feet
Towns: Belle Plaine, Marengo, Amana
|Day 7: Coralville to Davenport||
Distance: 66 miles
Elevation: 1,604 feet
Towns: Iowa City, West Liberty, Muscatine
Highlights of RAGBRAI 2023
RAGBRAI L rolled along through high mileage days, rural Iowa towns, and fun overnight campsites. The crowds were larger than any riders had ever seen, and the positive atmosphere was contagious amid the small town stops and bigger cities.
Ideal for the outdoorsy week, we protected our smartphones with ROKFORM phone cases. The premium construction and materials mean devices are safe from big impacts from up to 6 feet, even on hard surfaces like bike paths and pavement. Owners of the new iPhone 14 can pick between Rugged and Crystal Series Cases as well as the latest Samsung Galaxy S23 models— and keep an eye out for the upcoming iPhone 15 phone cases this fall!
RAGBRAI 2023: One Huge Party on Two Wheels
I’ve never seen so many people on bikes. Before the ride even started, RAGBRAI organizers reported that more than 28,000 participants had signed up, including single-day riders. The largest expected crowd— approaching 60,000 riders— came on Wednesday, July 26, traveling from Ames to Des Moines, two of the state’s biggest cities. To add to the fun, there were live music concerts each night in the overnight towns and unique experiences like riding through the Jack Trice Stadium, home of the Iowa State Cyclones!
I made the last minute decision while packing to not bring my portable Bluetooth speaker, and that may have been a mistake. Blasting tunes during the day can be a great way to stay motivated without using dangerous (and sometimes illegal) earphones while riding a bike. Many RAGBRAI riders came equipped with compact (but often huge) speakers to keep the party going all day long.
Riders can easily control their playlists by mounting their phone to their handlebars with ROKFORM accessories. Fussing around inside pockets can lead to distracted riding or dropping your device, but the ROKFORM Sport Series Bike Phone Mount keeps your smartphone securely placed, even over big bumps. The strong, adjustable Velcro strap fits along any handlebar or stem, and the mount is compatible with all twist-lock ROKFORM protective phone cases.
Learn more about the ROKFORM Sport Series Handlebar Phone Mount below!
Heat and Hills
RAGBRAI L will be remembered for years to come as one of the most difficult editions in recent memory. Veterans and riders who participated in the past reported that this year’s conditions were harder than normal, featuring a relatively hilly route, strong headwinds, and some serious heat. Glaring sun warmed up the highway asphalt (we stayed off the bike trail) while some cloud cover offered occasional respite. The wind blew almost all week and introduced a tricky tradeoff, keeping us cooler than we would be otherwise while headwinds slowed our pace.
Nevertheless, a plentiful supply of Iowa summer staples such as ice cream and homemade pie kept riders fueled and cooled despite the high temperatures. Official food vendors and amateur lemonade stands at the side of the road were the lifeline of tired, thirsty riders all week long.
I could easily monitor the weather and track each day’s ride because I kept my phone within reach on a ROKFORM Pro Series Stem Mount. The low-profile stem mount replaces the headset that’s the perfect placement to access your phone’s functions without disrupting the bike’s aesthetics. This made it easily to frequently take photos or observe maps, all while freeing up jersey pocket space. The mount is built from durable aircraft-grade aluminum with ROKFORM’s dual retention system that’s compatible with any of our Rugged or Crystal Series phone cases.
The Coralville Storm
The week’s challenging weather reached a climax in Coralville on the evening of Friday, July 28. The suburb of Iowa City hosted the last of the overnight stays before the ride to Davenport the following day, but it also welcomed in a huge, ominous storm. As riders settled in to listen to the headlining band at the concert area, the town siren blared, and an announcer cautioned everyone to take shelter inside the local high school nearby.
The sky turned black within minutes, and the wind speed picked up. Rain came, and my father and I decided to make a final run to our tent to flatten it, preventing our large tent from flying away in the high winds. Despite our honest efforts, we would pay for that bit of cautious thinking later on. The storm never truly hit, passing by away from town, but heavily drenched the entire campsite.
We had put on our tent’s rain fly, so we’re okay, right? Wrong. The rain fly had folded over in the wind, letting gallons of rainwater into our tent to soak our apparel and gear! Saved by my still packed (and dry) sleeping bag, we bailed out the tent, rung out some clothing the best we could, and went to bed. The authentic RAGBRAI veterans will remember Soggy Monday of 1981 and Saggy Thursday in 1995— well, my dad and I had a very Soggy Saturday (morning) getting out of that damp tent.
One important piece of gear I made sure to protect from the wet, however, was my smartphone. I’m still rocking an iPhone 6S (I know, that’s old-school) but, thankfully, I can still use the newest ROKFORM Bike Phone Mounts because of the Universal Adapter. The slim accessory securely adheres to the back of my case and features a strong magnet and twist-lock system that are compatible with the Stem Mount, Handlebar Mount, or any of ROKFORM’s other mounts for cars and motorcycles.
Have an older phone, tablet, or different Android phone? Use the ROKFORM Universal Adapter for the ability to mount to any ROKFORM twist-lock or magnetic accessory!
“I have a phone that isn't very popular, so ROKFORM doesn't offer a case for it. Luckily, this solution works great and is literally peel and stick to install. The magnet has also been handy”
Despite the Coralville hurdle, we pedaled on toward our final destination on the Mississippi River on Saturday, July 29, appreciative of the morning fog and cooler temperatures left behind by the previous night’s storm. A 60-ish miles of cross-tailwinds later, and we’re in Davenport— we’d officially completed RAGBRAI 2023! I’m already planning next year’s ride, so I guess you could say I sufficiently enjoyed my experience trekking across Iowa.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I mount a phone to my handlebars?
Cyclists can secure their phone with ROKFORM phone mounts designed specifically for bikes. The Pro Series Stem Mount installs directly into the headset for a streamlined and safe solution, made from aircraft-grade aluminum with ROKFORM’s twist-lock and magnetic retention system. The ROKFORM Handlebar Mount can be placed on either the handlebars or stem and is easy to remove when changing bikes.
What’s the best phone case for cycling?
ROKFORM phone cases for Apple and Samsung protect your device and are compatible with our high-quality bike mounts. Simply twist the case onto the mount for a connection that will stay firmly in place, even when mountain biking or riding over big bumps. When you’re off the bike, the cases’ premium construction and reinforced corners provide up to 6 feet of drop protection.
How long is RAGBRAI 2023?
To celebrate the 50th anniversary, RAGBRAI 2023 measures 500 miles long. It takes place over seven days of riding in the last week of July, this year happening from July 22-29.
ROKFORM: Quality Accessories for Cyclists
ROKFORM specializes in rugged smartphone accessories for cyclists, golfers, drivers, and more. ROKFORM products were crucial to keeping our devices secure during RAGBRAI 2023. Pick out your favorite gear with Samsung Galaxy cases, sturdy bike mounts, and other cycling essentials for the summer months.
Have questions about which products are right for you and your bike? We are available for online chat or in-person at our Irvine, California showroom. Call us toll-free at 855-765-3676, or email us at email@example.com, or visit us at www.rokform.com
Frequently Asked Questions About ROKFORM
Are your cases wireless charging compatible?
Yes. For best wireless charging results, we reccomend the following: For Apple® MagSafe® Wireless Charger USB-C 65W Wall Charger from Anker, you can find it on Amazon by searching ASIN: B08F28BH7C. For a wireless charging Pad: TOZO W1 10W wireless charger, you can find this on Amazon by searching ASIN: B07FM8R7J1 and the Apple® 20W USB-C charging adapter. For in vehicle charging: We cannot guarantee that wireless charging with a Crystal or Rugged case will work with all Qi® chargers and in all vehicles due to the nearly infinite combinations, including vehicle type, charging area, power output, etc. For Crystal case customers: Please be sure to remove the round inner microfiber ring on the inside of the case. We no longer include this with current production but if you have it, please remove it for best performance. Removing the round liner will not affect protection. Questions: If you have any questions, please call our customer service team at 855-765-3676 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Will the magnet in your phone cases hurt my phone?
NO. Manufacturers have been using magnets in phones and tablets for years. Our specially designed rare earth magnets are proven safe for all smartphones and tablets. In a product overview from MacWorld, they said: "magnet based accessories are safe to use on iPads and pose no threat of scrambling interior electronics.” Our magnets will not harm your credit cards either. Magnets will only affect spinning hard drives found in old laptop and desktop computers. The magnet also may affect a hotel key but then again what doesn't? Bottom line, our magnets are safe but don’t set your phone on your old computer or your hotel key ;-)
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We have a 60-day return policy. To start a return please email us at email@example.com. To view our complete return policy, please click here. Our goal at Rokform® is 100% customer satisfaction. Please call us at 1-855-ROKFORM (1-855-765-3676) with any questions or concerns, and we’ll be happy to assist you. Customer Service Hours: - Monday – Thursday, 8am – 5pm PST - Friday, 8am - 3pm PST - Saturday and Sunday: Closed - Toll Free: 1-855–ROKFORM (855) 765-3676
What is your warranty policy?
We have a limited 2-year warranty on most of our products. If you have purchased a product with electronics those products have a 1-year warranty. To submit a warranty ticket please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. To view our full Warranty Policy visit this link: https://www.rokform.com/pages/warranty
Where can I find ROKFORM in my area?
A list of authorized Rokform re-sellers can be found at the link below. https://www.rokform.com/resellers-list
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What makes ROKFORM cases different?
We could go on and on! Luckily, we've simplified it for you here: https://www.rokform.com/pages/case-comparison