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Beginning Dip Site

Does anyone know the location of the dip site on the first day?

12 Replies

BillSpriggs, February 11, 2019 at 7:56 pm

Last time that we were in Council Bluffs the dip site was at the Bob Kerry pedestrian bridge. The Missouri River was very low and we had to traverse a large sandy area. Some poor woman got sand in her cleats, couldn’t “clip out”, fell and broke her arm, not the way to start RAGBRAI. If it’s sandy again this year be careful.


LawnchairMan, February 12, 2019 at 4:45 am

Thanks for the warning. I too got sand in my cleats that year. I think I will take my shoes off this time. At least I didn’t crash. Hope the woman recovered.


KenH, February 12, 2019 at 8:02 am

I don’t clip in at all anymore but when I did I used SPDs, in part to prevent problems like this. Dirt, sand, mud can occur any time. If other cleat designs can lock you in and cause injury when faced with common real world conditions like these then my advice is to use SPDs unless you really, REALLY need the 0.0013% performance advantage the other designs offer over SPDs!!


Papa T, February 12, 2019 at 10:31 am

Last time we were in Co. Bluffs we dipped in Omaha.?? The rationale was that ALL the public water in Omaha AND CB comes out of the Mo River. Across the Kerry Bridge (in Omaha) is a park with a wading fountain with Mo river water coming out. Nice park too! And, while you are in Omaha, The Old Market (many cool bar/restaurants) is less than a mile from the fountain. Only beware is Tourist Trap!!! Any native can show you where!


Bikingaddict, February 12, 2019 at 12:29 pm

I’ve always been a die-hard SpeedPlay guy, but they are horrible to walk in – even with the coffee cap covers. So I’ve switched my RAGBRAI shoes over to SPD cleats and love the walking convenience. Plus – no more squirting a full bottle of water at my mud-filled cleat to get it unstuck! (I legit had both SP-Zero cleats “welded” to my pedals with mud once).


Chris, February 12, 2019 at 3:32 pm

Bikingaddict…..oh, the joy of SpeedPlay lock-in.

My best was on Ride Without Limits in NC, about a decade ago. Got off at a rest stop that was at a self-serve car wash, stepped in some deep mud. Did the empty-the-bottle thing at both cleats and figured I was good. Not so. I got to the next rest stop and, like you, just could not get unclipped. No matter how hard I twisted and pulled, I was stuck firm. I unstrapped the shoes and did a ungraceful dismount, much to the humor of my friends. It took one person holding the bike and me yanking (and I mean YANKING) on the shoes to get the clean to disengage. Oh, the fun.

I still do RAGBRAI with Speedplay Zero’s. One trick I picked up along the way: I have a baby (4oz?) bottle of WD-40 spray I carry in my saddle bag, complete with straw. When/if I gunk my cleats up, a blast from that into the edges of where the spring of the cleat sits helps a lot. Not the best system for RAGBRAI, certainly.

See ya in July.


mootsman, February 13, 2019 at 8:34 am

In 2009 they just pumped river water out and let it run across the bike path on the east edge of the Kerry bridge. Riding through that water was the river dip. But it didn’t make for a very good dip picture.


KenH, February 13, 2019 at 11:48 am

Last time we did CB I did not take advantage of the opportunity to cross into Nebraska on that pedestrian bridge. If they put us the same place again this year I will not make that mistake twice! I care more about the border than the water so I would not even need to do the tire dip if I cross that bridge but since the dip will likely be convenient to do I can hardly spurn tradition and skip it.

I had one clipless fall at RAGBRAI and almost another. Both were caused by unclipping only one foot. In the first case I was stopping on the side of the road, probably at BEEKMANS!, and unclipped my right left foot, planning to dismount on that side. But I was stopping on the gravel shoulder and of course at the very last minute, with my left toe already reaching for the ground, a piece of gravel caught the front wheel and sent the bike to the right. And there was nothing on the right to put your foot on even if I had managed to free my right foot in time. I tumbled right into the roadside ditch, which was simply hilarious for those who rolled by while this happened. The first few did the right thing and asked me if I was all right but finally one had the courage to ask the question that we all wanted answered: “Is your bicycle OK?”

The second occurred last year, in town, with the directions reversed. For some reason the bike went left, contrary to my intention. The higher cognitive functions of my brain were useless, having fixated themselves on how much this was going to hurt. Luckily the ancient reptilian motor center of my brain just calmly lifted my left foot off its PLATFORM PEDAL and put it down on the ground! I have to wonder if I am the only RAGBRAI rider to almost have a clipless pedal fall while not using clipless pedals!?!


LawnchairMan, February 13, 2019 at 9:23 pm


Hi Mark,
I recently found the above link to post on another thread, and it may be useful here.
It shows where we dipped in 2013, and some areas where we camped. I don’t know if we will do it the same way this time, but it’s a good bet.

Thanks for the WD-40 tip. I may do that or just bring a small bottle of lube. Thanks also for the suggestion of just releasing my foot from the shoe. I’d never have thought of that, and will keep it in mind.
One tip I can send back is to bring a spare cleat spring. I too use Speedplay Zero’s and have broken four springs in twelve years of riding with them. The first time it happened I really had to concentrate keeping my shoe in place for the 25 miles to get home. Now I save used springs so I always have a spare with me.


mlwalk, February 14, 2019 at 12:16 pm

As someone who bikes that area as my regular ride I would guess the dip would be at the Tom Hanafan River’s edge park. This is on the CB side of the Kerry bridge.
The bike trail at the bottom of the parking lot is just feet from the water.


mootsman, February 15, 2019 at 9:17 am

I think in 2009 we were limited to that water hose on the east side of the Kerry because the river was too high for the normal dip site. So unless there is high water I’d think it would be the park everyone is referring to.


wesj056, February 19, 2019 at 2:03 pm

When I can, I like to dip in the actual flowing Missouri. We’ve been in Council Bluffs twice since I started doing RAGBRAI, in ’09 and ’13, don’t miss riding the trail along the riverfront and the Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge. That being said, crossing the Kerrey Bridge and dipping on the Nebraska side is not unreasonable as dips go, I’ve done it twice, with a very heavy recumbent, with no real problem getting my bike to the water.


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