RAGBRAI XLV Countdown – July 23-29, 2017
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

Latest Blog Posts

  • Only 50 Days 'til the RAGBRAI Route Announcement Party!

    Join us as we reveal Iowa's biggest secret on January 21, 2017 at the Iowa Events Center in downtown Des Moines.

  • Guess the Route Contest is Now Open for RAGBRAI XLV!

    Do you think you can pick the eight overnight towns for RAGBRAI XLV? Enter the contest and see how close you come.

  • Black Friday Sale!

    Click to find out our Black Friday coupon code for free shipping at www.RAGBRAI.com/shop

  • Happy Thanksgiving!

    The RAGBRAI Crew is thankful for... you!

  • Great Holiday Deals at Primal Wear!

    Get phenomenal deals on cycling gear now through November 30 at primalwear.com!

  • 'Mr. Pork Chop' leaves behind meaty RAGBRAI legacy

    If there's any justice in this life or the next, Wednesday's lunch special in heaven was a thick, juicy slab of Iowa pork chop served on a paper towel.

  • We Will Miss You Mr. Pork Chop!

    RAGBRAI lost a true legend today with the passing of Mr. Pork Chop, Paul Bernhard. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Bernard family.

  • 2017 Full Kit Now Available!

    RAGBRAI XLV jersey, shorts, and bibs now available with registration or on the RAGBRAI Web Store!

  • RAGBRAI XLV Registration Now Open!

    Registration for RAGBRAI XLV is up and running.  If you registered for the ride in 2016, use the same username and password to log in and register.  All of your ...

  • Veteran's Day

    On this Veteran’s Day, we honor all Americans who have served or made the ultimate sacrifice for our country including the service men and women of our RAGBRAI military teams. ...

Latest Videos

  • The Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa (edition 45) begins July 23 in ... well, we won't find that out until January, but the logo for the 2017 ride is here.

  • Take a look back on all the fun moments the Des Moines Register staff captured on video during RAGBRAI 2016.

  • Riders brave the swinging bridge in Columbus Junction.

  • Winds remain out of the northeast for Saturday and with partly sunny skies, highs will hold in the lower 80s. The weekend looks dry for the most part, perfect for those finishing up Ragbrai or maybe heading out to the Indianola Balloon Classic.

  • Omaha-based Team Pump's bus is one of the most colorful, and oldest, team buses currently operating in RAGBRAI.

  • Hal Colliver has been collecting signs since 1973. Its a hobby of his he loves to share with others who often stop by to look at his barn.

  • Teresa Condon and Tracy Henriksen have fun in their infant costumes.

  • Riders take over Wooden Wheel Vineyard

  • The complete century ride, including the Karras Loop, from Leon to Centerville on RAGBRAI 2016.

  • Lyle Dumont has built and rebuilt enough model trains and full size tractors to fill 30,000 square feet of space. Take a look around his collections

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