Bike Shorts

Want to escape the daily grind of work and the news cycle, but don't have time to bike across Iowa? Subscribe to our limited podcast "Bike Shorts," and we'll help you break away from the stress of the everyday.

Every year on RAGBRAI, (The Register's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa,) thousands of riders throw aside their usual routines to share a common goal, biking across the state of Iowa from the banks of the Missouri River to the shores of the Mississippi. IPR's Ben Kieffer will be doing all the biking and sweating, all you have to do is listen.

Each episode of "Bike Shorts" strings together 20 minutes of escapism along the RAGBRAI route through the eyes of Team No Pie Refused (NPR), joined by IPR's Clay Masters. The NPR personalities are spending their vacations biking across Iowa. "Bike Shorts" taps into their excitement and keen skills of observation to experience the charm and quirkiness of Iowa.

The heart of "Bike Shorts" is people from all different origins, careers and backgrounds coming together as a tribe on wheels to explore Iowa culture and share community. Come along for the ride!


After a week-long journey from the Missouri River to the Mississippi River, Host Ben Kieffer ends his first-hand narration of the 2019 RAGBRAI bike tour. 

The final day of RAGBRAI led Kieffer 65 miles to Keokuk, concluding with a tire dip in the river.


Soggy To Sunburnt

Jul 29, 2019


The sixth day of the annual RAGBRAI bike ride takes host Ben Kieffer 71 miles from Fairfield through Salem to Burlington.

As part of our limited-run Bike Shorts podcast series, He walks us through the details that make RAGBRAI unique, stopping to taste-test a dill pickle and pickle juice from a roadside vendor. Chad Ferris sells around a thousand pickles during RAGBRAI, which he says helps prevent and alleviate cramping thanks to the electrolytes in the juice. 

Madeleine King / IPR

All last week, IPR's Ben Kieffer was riding across the state with Team No Pie Refused on RAGBRAI. Click through for a photo diary of the second half of the week by Ben and Team NPR's Sag Wagon Driver Madeleine King. 

Pedaling Through Adversity

Jul 26, 2019


Host Ben Kieffer continues his trek across Iowa on RAGBRAI. Thursday's ride took bikers 68 miles from Centerville to Fairfield.

On this episode of the limited-run Bike Shorts podcast, Kieffer interviews several people about how adversity inspired their participation in the ride. Sisters Abbie Buscher and Ellie Larsen talk about biking to honor and remember their late mother. Larry Jewell shares how his goal to ride RAGBRAI got him through treatment for stage 4 cancer.

We also meet a unicyclist on the route and ask the question, "Where ya from?"

Host Ben Kieffer caputures day four of RAGBRAI as thousands of riders travel from Indianola to Centerville, which is the longest ride of the week. 

Kieffer also reflects on Tuesday afternoon, when two bikers crashed into each other coming down a steep hill into Indianola.  Both riders were flown out to hospitals and were reported to be in critical condition. Kieffer talks with former Des Moines Register columnist, Kyle Munson, about past RAGBRAI accidents and the importance of understanding safe cycling.  

Madeleine King / IPR

Want to escape the daily grind of work and the news cycle but don't have time to bike across Iowa? All this week, IPR's Ben Kieffer is on RAGBRAI with Team No Pie Refused. Here's a photo recap of the ride so far.

Host Ben Kieffer takes us through his experiences on day three of RAGBRAI starting in Winterset, traveling through South Central Iowa, crossing over Interstate 35 to the eastern side of the state and finishing in Indianola. 

Host Ben Kieffer captures sounds and experiences on day two of RAGBRAI starting in Atlantic, passing hundreds of wind turbines along the Iowa countryside and finished with a pie-eating contest in Winterset. The fourth annual "Rhubarb Rumble" pie eating relay pits Team NPR (No Pie Refused) against the Des Moines Register. You'll hear from IPR's own Clay Masters, Kyle Munson and Courtney Crowder of the Des Moines Register, and of course, Scott Horsely (aka Fork Guy) of Team NPR.

Host Ben Kieffer takes us through preparations for RAGBRAI 2019, from loading up, to locating NPR's team "No Pie Refused," in Council Bluffs. We hear how teams are handling the storms and significant rain on Sunday, a 58 mile ride to Atlantic. Along the way we meet a 93-year-old doing his 7th RAGBRAI, and a couple rollerblading the 427 miles across Iowa.

Take in the sounds and experiences of the longest distance bike tour in the world without having to navigate on two wheels. Bike Shorts follows Iowa Public Radio's Ben Kieffer (host of River to River) as he journeys across Iowa with members of NPR’s famed RAGBRAI team "No Pie Refused." Join NPR Chief Economics Correspondent Scott Horsely, Iowa Public Radio's Clay Masters, and bikers from around the world as they explore all the wonders and ruckus that RAGBRAI has to offer.