RAGBRAI XLIV Countdown – July 24-30, 2016
Friends of RAGBRAI

Ride Right

RIDE RIGHT Safety Tip #1: The RIGHT Stuff



By Mark Wyatt, Iowa Bicycle Coalition

Wow, it has been cold this year!  It has been really hard to get any decent training miles in.  But, the big ride is about two months away.  It is time to start making plans to ride RAGBRAI.

If you have committed to riding RAGBRAI this year, it all starts with Tip #1, the RIGHT stuff.  And when I say stuff, I mean bicycle.  Every RAGBRAI veteran knows having a smooth running, well-serviced bicycle can mean the difference between an enjoyable or not very enjoyable RAGBRAI.

Over the past 40 years of RAGBRAI, every type of bicycle imaginable has crossed the state.  The most famous bicycle might be Clarence Pickard’s ladies Schwinn.  Pickard’s bike must have weighed 50 pounds, but it carried him from river to river.

A klunker or bargain basement special might be just fine for getting around town, but if you are going to ride across Iowa, you might need a better bike.   Investing in a road bike (that fits) can make riding the 60 to 90 miles per day on RAGBRAI much easier and more comfortable.

On of my friends told me, “I know you said a road bike would make a difference in my ride.  I just didn’t believe you until I test rode one and you were right.  It made riding effortless and fun.”

Road bikes are usually the double diamond frame bicycles with dropped handlebars that give you multiple positions to rest your hands.  They have skinny tires that have less drag friction on the road.  There are many variations and brands of road bicycles. You need to pick a bike that suits you.

Start with a budget in mind.  Decide how much you can afford to spend on your new bike.  But remember, you will likely keep this bike for more than a decade – longer than your cell phone or laptop.  Purchase as much of a bicycle as you can afford.

If you need a new bicycle, the first place to start is your local bicycle retail store.  Many people are going to the local bicycle stores right now to shop for that new bike that will take them from Council Bluffs to Fort Madison.  Your local bicycle store will have knowledge and experience to find the bicycle that fits your needs.  You can find a list of all Iowa bicycle stores at http://iowabicyclecoalition.org/bikeshop

So maybe a new bicycle isn’t in your budget.  Many people purchase used bicycles or borrow one from a friend.  If you are going that route, be sure the bicycle is in good working order and has serviceable parts.  Take it to a local bicycle retailer for a tune-up.

Also, be sure your used or borrowed bicycle actually fits you.  Bicycles come in different sizes.  A tall person needs a larger bicycle and a short person needs a smaller bicycle.  They are not generally interchangeable.  One of the simple ways to measure is stand-over height.  Stand astride your bike with your feet planted firmly on the ground.  You could be able to lift your bike 1-2 inches off the ground.  Watch this Expert Village Video on standover height at http://youtu.be/bCcmLhsMIsI

For a more exact fit, visit your local bicycle retailer and schedule a fitting session.  It could cost a little bit or they may include it with a purchase.  A good fitting bike will make you more comfortable on the long rides.

A little planning for the RIGHT Stuff now, can equal more riding this summer.  If you need to invest in a new bicycle for RAGBRAI, make sure it is smooth running and efficient.  If you are going with a used bicycle, be sure it fits.

If you are going to ride RAGBRAI safely, you are going to keep in mind the following safety tips:

1. The RIGHT stuff.

2. The RIGHT gear.

3. The RIGHT communications.

4. The RIGHT riding.

5. The legal RIGHT.

6. The RIGHT frame of mind.

7. The RIGHT abilities

8. The RIGHT attitude

9. The RIGHT attention.

10. The RIGHT condition

Mark Wyatt is the executive director of the Iowa Bicycle Coalition, a statewide advocacy organization for bicycling.  Mark is also a League Cycling Instructor (LCI), board member for the Alliance for Bicycling and Walking.  More information about the Iowa Bicycle Coalition can be found at www.iowabicyclecoalition.org.  

1 Response on “RIDE RIGHT Safety Tip #1: The RIGHT Stuff

Colleen

May 31, 2013 at 9:24 pm

All of these are great tips! I wish more of my city dweller friends would pay heed to #5 though! There are far too many of us breaking traffic rules in the city and giving the rest of us a bad name.

Leave a Reply

Latest Blog Posts

  • RAGBRAI Training: Rule #3: Ride Fast

    All right, I know I’ve said numerous times in this blog that RAGBRAI is not a race, so why would I tell you to go out and ride fast in ...

  • Wristband Transfer Form Now Available

    Wristband Transfers: If you are unable to participate in RAGBRAI, and won’t be asking for a refund on your registration, you have the option to sell your wristband packet on our ...

  • RAGBRAI Training: Rule #2 : Ride Far

    Rule #1 is Ride Consistently. Rule #2 is built upon Rule #1. Riding consistently will prepare your body for the daily rigors of riding on RAGBRAI. ...

  • RAGBRAI Route Inspection Pre-Ride Day 7 - Washington to Muscatine

    Today we completed our ride from the Missouri to the Mississippi and rode 49.7 miles from Washington to Muscatine with 1,314 feet of climb.

  • RAGBRAI Route Inspection Pre-Ride Day 6 – Ottumwa to Washington

    Today we rode 68.5 miles from Ottumwa to Washington, with 2,541 feet of climb.

  • 45 photos: Friday RAGBRAI Route Preview

    Take a peek at ride what riders could encounter between Ottumwa and Washington in July.

  • RAGBRAI Route Inspection Pre-Ride Day 5 – Centerville to Ottumwa

    Today we rode 53.2 miles from Centerville to Ottumwa, with 1,999 feet of climb. The landscape stole the show today, we had to stop many times for photo ops.

  • RAGBRAI Route Inspection Pre-Ride Day 4 – Leon to Centerville

    Today we rode 65.1 miles from Leon to Centerville, with 2708 feet of climb. Some riders braved the wind and added 32.3 miles to the route to complete the Karras ...

  • RAGBRAI Route Inspection Pre-Ride Day 3 – Creston to Leon

    It was nice for Tuesday’s ride to be a shorter day allowing riders to recover from some longer hilly days.  The ride checks in at 58 miles of beautiful southern ...

  • 20 photos: Tuesday RAGBRAI route preview

    Take a peek at ride what riders could encounter between Creston and Leon in July.

Latest Videos

  • On Tuesday, June 28, 2016 a "ghost bike" was installed in rural Boone County to mark the spot where Mark Snopek was killed while riding his bike on August 8, 2007.

  • RAGBRAI 2016 Jersey

  • Merchandise Monday! Riders Try on the 2016 RAGBRAI Jersey

  • Darrel Harken of Riceville said goodbye to his daughter Grace as she headed home on her bike. Moments later he and his other daughter Hannan stop at a car accident only to discover the woman who was hit by a car is Grace.

  • Where will RAGBRAI ride in 2016? See the full RAGBRAI XLIV route including overnight and stopover towns.

  • Register reporters talk with RAGBRAI founder John Karras about the announcement that RAGBRAI and the Des Moines Register were working to create a statue of Karras and fellow founder Don Kaul.

  • RAGBRAI director T.J. Juskiewicz talks about the southern Iowa 2016 route. "We haven't been to some of these towns in a long time!" he says.

  • Miss the live RAGBRAI 2016 overnight town announcement show? Join Kyle Munson, Michael Morain as they chat with RAGBRAI riders and towns vying for a spot on this year's route. And learn the overnight towns, of course!

  • Watch as RAGBRAI director T.J. Juskiewicz unveils the 2016 RAGBRAI overnight towns. The route is heading to the southern cities of Glenwood, Shenandoah, Creston, Leon, Centerville, Ottumwa, Washington and Muscatine.

  • Get the details on this year's RAGBRAI overnight towns in southern Iowa.

Find us socially

Email Signup

Sign up for the latest RAGBRAI news and notes (if there is no news in a day, you won’t get an e-mail).

© 2016 RAGBRAI | Terms of Service | Privacy Policy