RAGBRAI XLIII Countdown – July 19-25, 2015
Friends of RAGBRAI

Ride Right

RIDE RIGHT Safety Tip #2: The RIGHT Gear



By Mark Wyatt, Iowa Bicycle Coalition

Almost all RAGBRAI riders will agree that a helmet is an essential piece of equipment that every rider needs.  A helmet will protect your brain if you are involved in a crash.  Lights are required if you ride after sundown or before sunrise and could prevent you from being involved in a crash.

If you have ridden RAGBRAI before, you already know that it is pretty rare to see someone without a helmet.  If you are one of the new riders, get a nice helmet and remember to pack it.

There is more to it than having a helmet.  You need the RIGHT gear.  Pick a helmet that is comfortable and well fitted.   All new helmets meet the same safety standard set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission regardless of cost.  Look for a CPSC sticker on the inside of the helmet.

The helmet should be adjusted properly to fit your head.  Make sure the helmet is level and covers your forehead.  There should only be two fingers width between the bottom of the helmet and your eyebrows.

If your helmet has a retention ring (the dial that tightens around the circumference of your head), make sure it is snug.  Test by shaking your head “no”.  Your helmet should move with your head and not wiggle independently.

Finally, adjust the straps.  The straps should meet in a “V” shape just below your ears.  The chin strap should be tight enough that you can only fit two fingers between your chin and the strap.

Nothing screams “Newbie” like an ill-fitting helmet.

Lights are another essential piece of the RIGHT Gear.  I have to be honest – I no longer pack a headlight or taillight for RAGBRAI.  I’ve used it once in my 10 years of RAGBRAI.  I plan my ride to be complete before dark.

There is plenty of daylight to ride each RAGBRAI day.  The RAGBRAI route and services times are set to encourage riders to be in before dark.  For safety’s sake, plan to be in before dark on RAGBRAI.

If you ride before sunrise or after sunset, remember lights are required by the Iowa Code.  Bicyclists must have a white headlight and red taillight or reflector.  They must be visible for 300 feet.  There are plenty of good lights available with a variety of options.  Check with your local bicycle shop for details and prices.

You can do more to be visible at night.  Reflective vests or clothing, additional lights, and blinking lights could prevent you from being involved in a crash.

As you begin your training for RAGBRAI, be sure you have a helmet that fits and meets the CPSC standards.  The helmet and straps should be adjusted for maximum protection.  .  If you are going to ride at night, the law requires you have a headlight and taillight or reflector.

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 #2: The RIGHT Gear

Abbey Schott

January 2, 2014 at 4:30 pm

Wow, that girl in the pinkish helmet, that’s me!!! And I’m now 14, wow.

Leave a Reply

Advertisement

Latest Blog Posts

  • Don't Wait 'Til the Last Minute - Weeklong Registration Ends April 1!

    Want to ride with us all week for RAGBRAI XLIII? The deadline for registration is April 1, just under a week away.

  • Weeklong Rider Registration Deadline is April 1

    The deadline to register online as a weeklong rider for this year’s RAGBRAI is midnight, April 1.

  • View the 2015 Interactive Route Map

    Zoom in on the towns and byways for RAGBRAI 2015.

  • "Ask a Trooper" Discusses Bike Racks on Vehicles

    During a driving vacation out west, I noticed the popularity of bumper-attached bicycle and luggage racks. Are there any rules with these?

  • RAGBRAI XLIII route: Unique attractions every few miles

    The definitive guide to how riders will get fed and cooled off (oh, and maybe see some important stuff) during RAGBRAI XLIII.

  • Sneak Preview of Eight RAGBRAI XLIII Rookie Towns

    RAGBRAI director T.J. Juskiewicz previews the 8 towns that the ride has never visited.

  • Cheap Trick to Rock RAGBRAI Coralville Overnight

    RAGBRAI Coralville organizers are excited to announce that Cheap Trick presented by Two Rivers Bank and Trust is scheduled to perform at the RAGBRAI overnight celebration in the Iowa River ...

  • Coralville is the first Overnight Town to Announce Their RAGBRAI XLIII Theme!

    Lights, Camera, Action! Get ready for a night of glitz, glamour and Lycra during our Hollywood-themed visit to Coralville!

  • RAGBRAI XLIII Full Route and Details to be Released Sunday

    RAGBRAI XLIII's full route and more details to be published HERE on Sunday

  • RAGBRAI Training: Get Out (or Stay In) and Ride!

    RAGBRAI XLIII is still five months away but that is no reason not to think about getting on your bike and starting your preparation. I don’t know what the weather ...

Latest Videos

  • RAGBRAI director TJ Juskiewicz points out highlights of the pass-through towns along the route cyclists will follow July 19 to 25, 2015.

  • RAGBRAI director T.J. Juskiewicz previews the 8 towns that the ride has never touched.

  • Tune in to RAGBRAI.com this weekend to be the first to know the details of this year's route. RAGBRAI director TJ Juskiewicz shares when the rookie pass through towns, full route map will be announced.

  • RAGBRAI director TJ Juskiewicz annouces the 2015 overnight towns. Ride will start in Sioux City and end in Davenport.

  • The Register's Kyle Munson and Michael Morain attempt to get an early look at the 2015 RAGBRAI route

  • We are excited to reveal our new logo for RAGBRAI XLIII and 2015! If you join us on our ride across the state next year, you’ll be sure to see welcoming Iowans, lots of farmland and… well you’ll just have to watch the video to find out.

  • Look back on the ride of 2014 in this video highlight reel.

  • A group of friends from Canada spent the week on RAGBRAI and recount their best moments.

  • As RAGBRAI XLII comes to an end, friends from California talk about the emotion behind dipping their tires into the Mississippi River at the end of the ride.

  • Riders react at the Guttenberg dip site.

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).

© 2015 RAGBRAI | Terms of Service | Privacy Policy