New film about Iowa’s favorite ride debuts tomorrow

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Shift, The RAGBRAI Documentary

People travel from across the globe to ride RAGBRAI and this week on May 4th, a new documentary premiers in Iowa revealing the stories, people and places that make up this ride. The documentary, titled Shift, was directed by Courtney Crowder and Kelsey Kremer of The Des Moines Register. The film explain a side of RAGBRAI you probably didn’t know existed. 

They discuss the impact the ride has on Iowa towns, who the average rider is (it’s not a super athlete), how much footage they had to sift through, history of the ride, how towns actually campaign to get RAGBRAI to come through their town and… do you have to dip your bike wheel in both rivers to official “complete” the ride?

The documentary follows three riders and two members of one town committee for the ride. “We really thought through, what is the heart of RAGBRAI? What is the point of RAGBRAI.” said Crowder.

The film has been nearly one year in the making. “That first conversation between Courtney and I was during the pandemic, it would have been 2020.” said Kremer. “From there, we filmed the majority of this documentary on RAGBRAI last year. So, on RAGBRAI 49.”

In the end they ultimately had 70 hours of footage to go through. “I spent August through December just watching all of it. And cataloging all of it. And organizing all of it.”

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Image from Shift: The RAGBRAI Documentary. Dayna Chandler shakes hands with another biker on RAGBRAI 2022.

RAGBRAI Turns 50

Shift comes out this year to commemorate 50 years of RAGBRAI, which stands for Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa. The ride started when two reporters had the hair-brained idea of biking across the state. The Register’s only request? Take a bunch of readers and Iowans with you.

The ride has been growing ever since, attracting riders from all over the USA, and the globe. The 50-year anniversary would have been last summer, but the ride was cancelled in 2020, due to the global response to COVID-19.

Where to see Shift

Shift premiers May 4th at The Varsity Theater in Des Moines. The showing is sold out, but it will also be showing May 5th and 6th.

It will also be showing at TJ Hunters Banquet Hall in Lansing, Iowa on May 11th.

and stars Dayna Chandler, Torie Giffin, Daniel Giffin, Andrew Boddicker, Ian Zahren, Adam Lineberry and Liam Lineberry.

Go to the official Shift website to get tickets.