The Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa

Training: bike path or street?

I am new to cycling. I did Ragbrai last year and trained mostly on bike paths.. Experienced cyclists tell me bike paths are dangerous due to the volume and prefer street bike lanes. Just wanted to get opinions of other Ragbrai alum.

13 Replies

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dw, January 14, 2013 at 3:32 pm

It really depends upon the nature of the bike path(s) you have available. The multi-use path I ride is much better than the roads for hard training. No cars. No road crossings. Plenty of wind for building strength. Low enough activity that you seldom have to slow down. (Well, except for the occasional dog leash or the rare person walking or running against the normal flow.) The only thing it doesn’t have is hills. I ride the roads during organized rides. I ride the path to train. And I ride limestone trails for fun and miles.

Overall the path I use is much safer than the roads. But if YOUR path is “slow” or busy or has a lot of street/road crossings,I’d ride the roads.

#468315

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Michrider !!!, January 14, 2013 at 3:49 pm

Road or bike path? Yes, just ride!!!!!

This reply was modified 4 years, 5 months ago by Profile photo of Michrider Michrider !!!.

#468316

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IdaGrovian, January 14, 2013 at 5:03 pm

I’d suggest both. Find a group road ride when you want to go far and fast to increase your level of fitness. You’ll be distracted by the camaraderie and probably pushed a little if you get the right group. It’s good Ragbrai training. You’ll also be more visible in a group and even if you are hit by some distracted texting jerk there will be somebody with you to call 911. Use the trails when you’re by yourself. Plenty of hills on my bicycle paths.

#468318

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trek15rider, January 15, 2013 at 9:51 am

One other thing to consider; try to work in some “organized” rides too when preparing for RAGBRAI. While no other ride I’ve been on compares in numbers, its nice to have ridden rides with larger groups of riders. It’s also a fun way to rack up some miles!

I also agree with Michrider if you rode last year you must be doing something right and you already know how overwhelming the number of riders can be, especially Day 1.

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