RAGBRAI buses: each one manages to be unique 

Just as each cyclist has a story behind why they RAGBRAI, so does each eccentric team bus. Intertwined with all the bicycles, vendors, tents and beer gardens sit numerous colorful and unique team vessels, many of which are refurnished old school buses.

The tale behind Team Postal is a bit of an affair.

The previous owner had an affair on a previous RAGBRAI, and he and his wife broke up because of it, said Steph Coady, of Primghar. Now, she said, they started dating again and she made him get rid of the bus, and that’s how she and her friends ended up taking it.

They’ve made some renovations since then, adding a giant Mickey Mouse head to the roof and installing a train horn.

“The city park was getting rid of some stuff and we went out and picked it up,” Coady, also known as ‘Lipstik” on RAGBRAI, said at the Kingsley stop.

The train horn is real, and driver Brandon McQueen said it’s fun to use.

“When we came in to Sioux City, we met a Union Pacific train and they started blowing their horn,” he said. “We did the same thing back to them. It was pretty funny.”

The bright green bus for Team Shagbrai pays tribute to the movie Austin Powers, after which the team is named and the bus is decorated.

Doctor Evil and the saying “behave” is painted on the top, and they’ve got a tap with a direct line to the beer stored inside the bus.


“We started in the late 90s and really liked Austin Power movies so we were quoting it all the time and one of our owners looks like Dr. Evil,” said Bryce Jester, of Le Mars.

Loras Mcelmeel, of Cascade, said his team, Team Dawg, has one of the oldest buses on RAGBRAI, with this year being the bus’ 50th birthday.

“This is our 23rd year with the bus and it was an old church bus,” Mcelmeel said in Washta. “Thousands of hours went into this thing.”

The bus is also one of about two or three with a staircase, he said. But this bright purple and blue-colored vehicle’s spiral case leads to a deck on the roof with grills and umbrella holders.

Inside is an area for each team member’s belongings and a custom charging station.

“All the space in here is utilized,” Mcelmeel said.

Team Jorts proudly boasts a fun back “porch” area attached to the back of the bus, benches the length of the interior inside and a party deck on top for when the bikes aren’t being housed there.

But how is it unique?

“It’s the best bus,” said driver Grant Caswell, known as Braveheart on RAGBRAI. “I would call that unique. It is probably the coolest bus on all of RAGBRAI.”

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