Bike RAGBRAI

About this Adventure


 

 

Fact File:
Duration: 1 week
Price: 90 GBP

 

 

Join in for the amazing spectacle that is RAGBRAI week.

Many readers may think of road riding as intrinsically less adventurous than the mountainous, off-road variety, and before we knew about RAGBRAI we may have been guilty of the same thoughts.

However, once you get to know the scale and spectacle that is the RAGBRAI week, the Des Moines Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across IOWA, then you’ll start to see why this is the event that counts for road cyclists, and it’s a true celebration of the all-American way too.

The event, held annually on the third Sunday in July, sees around 10,000 riders start on the state’s western border and roll eastwards in seven stages which are different each year. En route the travelling mass celebrate all that’s great about the US, a horde of cyclists rolling into tiny towns, which celebrate the arrival with 4th July style celebrations.

Throughout the ride the cyclists supplement the modern refuelling products like PowerBars and Gatorade with classic American food – pork chops, corn and homemade pies – the Tour de France this most certainly isn’t. All this food isn’t for nothing, they need it, some RAGBRAI weeks will see a total of more than 25,000 feet of climbing, camping in sorghum fields and showering in barns. This is definitely an adventure!

Ride Safe – Ride Smart – RIDE RIGHT!

Here’s what you need….

1. The RIGHT stuff.

Keep your bicycle in good repair. Have it readied for RAGBRAI, and then keep it safe to operate. It is especially important to make sure your brakes work well.

2. The RIGHT gear.

Wear a protective helmet. It is estimated that 85 % of bicycling accidents result in injury to the face or head.

Wear bright clothing to be noticed.

At night, wear light-colored clothing and have a bright headlight and taillight. Better yet, don’t ride at night on RAGBRAI.

3. The RIGHT communications.

Signal turns and stops. The law says you must, but this point can’t be emphasized enough. Most accidents on RAGBRAI involve two or more bicycles and most are the result of riders not letting others know of their intentions.

Sound off when passing. Use phrases such as “on your left,” “on your right,” or “coming through the middle.”

4. The RIGHT riding.

When stopping along the RAGBRAI routes, let those behind know of your plans. Make sure no bicycles or motor vehicles are immediately behind you when you stop. Stop at the right edge of the roadway and immediately move to the shoulder. Stay clear of the roadway, and park completely off of the roadway to make repairs, rest, visit, etc. Stopping is especially dangerous at the crest of a hill or on a curve, so be careful.

Don’t weave. Ride in a straight line to make it easier for those riding behind you.

Don’t draft. Drafting (similar to a pace-line) in a crowd is dangerous to yourself and others around you. There is no place for it on RAGBRAI. Likewise, drafting vehicles is also dangerous and will not be tolerated on RAGBRAI.

Ride to the right. Leave room for others to pass on your left. There have been many close calls and at least one serious accident because a passing rider was forced into the opposite lane.

When turning, turn left from the center of the roadway, turn right from along the curb or shoulder, and stay to the right

5. The legal RIGHT.

Obey traffic laws. In Iowa, bicyclists enjoy the same rights as motorists. In accepting those rights, bicyclists also assume the responsibilities for riding in a safe and legal manner by:

◦stopping completely at stop signs
◦obeying yield signs
◦not crossing yellow lines in your lane
◦riding to the right
◦signaling for turns
◦not cutting corners
◦riding in a respectable manner
6. The RIGHT frame of mind.

Stay alert and use your brain when you ride. You must be constantly thinking and aware of what’s going on around you.

Pace yourself. RAGBRAI is not a race. It is a touring bicycle ride across the state of Iowa. Not all riders travel at the same speed, so don’t try to keep up with someone who rides too fast for you. Riding too fast or in too high a gear is tough on your knees, heart and lungs.

7. The RIGHT abilities

Do NOT drink alcohol and ride.

8. The RIGHT attitude

Be considerate. The bicycling skills of those participating in RAGBRAI cover the full range of the spectrum. Each rider must look out for someone else, as well as for himself.

Be a predictable rider. Don’t keep other bicyclists and motorists guessing about what your next move will be. A predictable rider is a safe rider.

Be courteous to passing vehicles and other bicyclists. Instead of riding several abreast, go single file and let those behind you pass.

Cooperate with RAGBRAI officials. State troopers and other law enforcement personnel will be present at busy intersections. Obey their signals.

Please stay on the marked route. The RAGBRAI route has been selected for your safety. Services are not available to you if you are off the route.

9. The RIGHT attention.

Keep your head up and your ears open. Do not wear radio headphones while riding!

Give the right-of-way to emergency vehicles. Pull to the right and stop if you hear a siren.

Beware of loose gravel and watch for debris on the pavement. Trucks carrying sand, gravel and rock often spill some at intersections. It is sometimes necessary for RAGBRAI to take unpaved stretches of road in order to avoid busy highways. Take extra care on unpaved roads, watching for loose gravel, rocks, soft spots, holes and ruts.

Avoid wide cracks in the pavement. Narrow bicycle tires can easily get caught in wide cracks. Be especially careful on roadways paved with concrete. Center cracks on concrete roads are dangerous.

Look out for railroad tracks and cross them at right angles. There are fewer tracks these days, but there are still rough tracks and some at bad angles. Raise yourself off your seat and stand on your pedals to absorb the shock and lower the center of gravity. Unclip from your pedals as you prepare to cross railroad tracks. Watch out for other riders and let those behind know of your intentions. Angled tracks and low shoulders are major causes of accidents.

10. The RIGHT condition

Get yourself in good physical shape. RAGBRAI is a ride totaling about 500 miles over seven days. The longest day is about 100 miles. You should be in good shape and capable of riding those distances before you come on the ride. A good way to get ready is to join a local bicycling club. A sports health clinic can also provide you with suggestions for a good conditioning program.

Eat and drink frequently. Rather than loading up once in the middle of the day, stop frequently for fluids and food. Carry water with you.

Register for RAGBRAI and view this year’s route online.


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