RAGBRAI LI July 20 -27, 2024

Reply To: RAIN!

Gypsy Rose, January 21, 2020 at 6:56 am

I don’t like riding in the rain, especially when surrounded by thousands of fenderless bikes!

What works for me is to keep a close eye on weather forecasts and plan accordingly. With today’s easy access to forecasting tools, I can plan my day to avoid riding in the rain most of the time. (On my two cross-country bike trips, I vowed not to ride in the rain and never had to take my rain gear out of the stuff sacks, but my itinerary was more flexible than it is on RAGBRAI.)

Another thing I really dislike is packing up camp while it’s raining. Last year, preparing to leave Council Bluffs, I awoke early to get everything into my waterproof duffle before the rains started, but by the time I was ready to roll, the rains were falling. It was not going to be a quick shower, but rather a rain that lasted for most of the day, so there was no choice but to ride. Rain on Day One is the worst, IMHO, because there are thousands who are trying to sort out how to ride RAGBRAI and, even on the dry days, it’s a time when lots of mishaps occur. I lost track of how many close calls I either observed or was nearly the victim of when rolling out of Council Bluffs, not to mention the half dozen or so accidents I witnessed.

Most times, however, I’m able to avoid riding in the rain by scheduling my day around the weather. One of my favorite rain delays a few years back involved a layover of a few hours in one of the small pass-through towns (can’t remember which). The clouds had just opened up the spigot as we rolled into town and the vendors on the street were scrambling for cover. There was a woman out in the street holding a sign trying to encourage riders into the cafe for an all-you-can-eat buffet. My friends and I took her up on it immediately. She even invited us to roll our bikes inside and stand them up in an unused room while we ate (and ate, and ate, and then tipped them well). Very few other riders joined us (which, as is often the case, was not so good for the business).

Which brings me to one of my favorite things to do on the ride – patronize the local businesses. Some of my favorite meals and community interactions have come when choosing to “step off the ride” for a moment and have a meal in a nice, air conditioned space where I’ve had terrific conversations with the owners, wait staff, and others from town. Its amazing how few people take advantage of the local eateries along the way, choosing instead to seek their meals out on the street, standing in line to pay a premium for vendors that have no connection to the local community. (The local bars don’t seem to have a problem attracting riders, but the little cafe’s are quite often empty as the owners look out at the throngs in the street and wonder why so few choose to come inside.)

Looking forward to seeing you all again in July! Here’s to tailwinds and sunny skies!

Cheers,
~ Kevin

#1314523 |

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