Shift: The RAGBRAI Documentary

Nearly 50 years ago, a pair of Des Moines Register writers and weekend bicyclists got a wild hair to pedal across the state and call it work.


One condition, the paper’s brass said: You have to invite readers to join the ride.


In the five decades since about 300 brave souls set out on that first ride in 1973, RAGBRAI — the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa — has grown into the oldest, largest and longest recreational bicycle touring event in the world.


“Shift: The RAGBRAI Documentary,” presented by the Des Moines Register, explores the people who ride, the towns that host and the space RAGBRAI offers riders to find whatever it was that enticed them to put their lives on hold and risk saddle sores in the July heat. The film follows three riders and a pair of community leaders as they reach new personal heights, changing their lives in seven days and finding themselves — literally and metaphorically — in the middle of nowhere.


The film was created with the belief that the its message of personal achievement through the magic of bicycling would be strong enough to support its production. We are still seeking funds to cover the costs of making this movie. Please support our work by making a tax-deductible donation to our fiscal sponsor, Des Moines Film.


A trailer, additional screenings and other details about the film are available at


You can support the film by donating through the link below, or by mailing a check payable to Des Moines Film to: Des Moines Film, 1207 25th St., Des Moines, IA 50311. Please note on your check that the donation is for Shift: The RAGBRAI Documentary.