The Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa

Just starting out

Just seeking some advice from experienced riders. If you are only starting out riding now, do you think it’s possible to be prepared for 2014? It just seems so daunting, I don’t want to get in over my head. Any suggestions and encouragement would be appreciated! Thanks! 🙂

6 Replies

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Ragbrai Nation, November 9, 2013 at 7:12 pm

No, not too early to start getting in some extra miles as the riding season comes to a close (if you live up north). During times of inclement weather having an indoor bike trainer (Cycle Ops) will keep you in shape until spring rolls around. Click on The Ride tab at the top of the page. There’s some training information there. The ride itself is not too difficult if you’re in reasonable shape. Doing some group rides next spring will acclimate you to riding with a lot of riders in close proximity, which you will be doing at times on Ragbrai. Keep it fun and your training will be as enjoyable as the menagerie itself. Good luck Erin and welcome to our world!


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jsm, November 14, 2013 at 5:28 pm

It’s never too early to start, and no you are right on schedule. You will hear of people who don’t train at all making the ride, and you can usually spot them struggling even on the flats. It’s best to be in as good a shape as you can be so you can enjoy the ride, the towns and the people. Though it sounds daunting now in a few months you’ll be looking at a 50 mile ride as a nice afternoon ride and the 100 mile days as a great day with friends. Remember, it’s not a race and there are plenty of places to stop, drink, eat, socialize and take a nap. Don’t panic, just do your best and you will be fine.


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SFC JKL2, November 14, 2013 at 7:54 pm

While it might seem daunting at first, you are spreading all those miles over a week. The biggest mistaken virgins make is riding too fast. Stop and explore each town along the way. This gives you time to rest and stretch. Think of it more as a series of 10 mile rides.

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. The key is to start chewing.


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Linda Brooks, November 16, 2013 at 3:08 pm

SFC said it best – think of it as a series of 10 mile rides. Start riding now, even when it’s raining (not lightening of course), be aware of your surroundings, and find other people interested in riding too. You’ll do fine. Wanting to do it is 80% of the battle. This isn’t a race, and if you worry too much about the ride itself you’ll miss sooooo much of the fabulousness that is RAGBRAI. Where do you live?


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CyclingRoberto, November 23, 2013 at 10:13 pm

Depends on how dedicated you’re going to be between now and July. Every year people seem to scoff at the idea that putting in lots and lots of miles is a prerequisite for guaranteeing a good ride. I beg to differ. Set realistic but obtainable goals, and stick to them. I ride outdoors year round in Eastern PA. Winter riding is great, so don’t feel you have to hang up your bike. In the end, the better your form, the easier the ride.

See you on the road.


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CyclingRoberto, November 23, 2013 at 10:19 pm

I don’t agree with the comment, “a series of 10 mile rides.” In order to train for RAGBRAI properly, you have to do many 50+ mile rides in advance. I’m not saying you can’t do it otherwise, but you will suffer if you only do short rides and show up thinking RAGBRAI is just a “series of 10 mile rides.”


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