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“Clean” RAGBRAI 2021?

Maybe not to early to get ideas on how to make RAGBRAI 2021 more sanitary, more CV19 compliant. Like RAGBRAI’s dirtiest challenge, keeping Kybos sanitary, do riders carry masks to slap on in crowded beer gardens, etc.? Maybe we can help make 2021 happen with the right ideas?

31 Replies

Papa T, October 4, 2020 at 10:17 am

I propose all riders, staff, servers and observers observe a “do not wear clothes” protocol. keeping everyone clean and sanitary is an ABSOLUTE requirement. Bike helmets and shoes have to be an obvious exception for safety reasons. Observers will be encouraged to spray the riders with a disinfectant as the pass by. This is the only truly safe way to conduct this vital recreational tradition!


Randall Murphy, October 7, 2020 at 7:49 pm

In 1960 alcohol was a banned substance from the Olympic pistol shooting disciplines as a performance enhancing drug. (It would slow your heartrate among other things). f a ‘clean Ragbrai’ means no alcohol I don’t know how I feel about that. I’m just saying.


Amanda, October 8, 2020 at 7:48 am

Doesn’t alcohol kill germs? Just sayin’!


mootsman, October 8, 2020 at 2:32 pm


Are you being funny or did you skip reading the post? Clean refers to a more virus free RAGBRAI to lessen the chance it will get cancelled in 2021. I think there is a “joke” thread already so if we can come up with any suggestions to help RAGBRAI go forward in 2021 it would be a good thing.


hnschipper, October 8, 2020 at 2:58 pm

I would say there needs to be a lot more hand sanitizer available if RAGBRAI were to happen in 2021. I usually carry my own in my jersey pocket on RAGBRAI because it sometimes can be hard to find. Every kybo should have hand sanitizer (or a central hand sanitizing/washing station), and there should be hand sanitizer placed throughout the food vendors and near water bottle filling stations. And people need to actually use it. :)

I’m always amazed at the number of people I see get off there bikes (with their bike gloves still on) and immediately get in line for food/start eating and do nothing about cleaning their hands.

I also think more vendors need to be able to accept cards so that RAGBRAI can move to more of a cashless society.


mootsman, October 8, 2020 at 8:23 pm

Agree with you hnschipper. Maybe a required number of hand sanitizing stations per a number of Kybos. Assigned helpers to keep those stations supplied, clean and operating.

Also maybe a limit on how many can jam into a beer tent with a line to get in. No open entry sided tents. Same goes for bars.

Hard to enforce but no more ride pirates. Putting the word out might just get people and teams to voluntarily comply.

Great idea about a cashless RAGBRAI too.


SFC JKL 2, October 8, 2020 at 11:30 pm

It’s not the plague. Wear your mask and sanitize away. If you’re really worried, stay home.


mootsman, October 9, 2020 at 9:53 am

[quote quote=1324189]It’s not the plague. Wear your mask and sanitize away. If you’re really worried, stay home.[/quote]

Read the post. It’s about preventing RAGBRAI from getting cancelled again by coming up with ideas to convince RAGBRAI leadership to not cancel in 2021. And masks of course don’t prevent the wearer from getting COVID anyway.


Jboz, October 9, 2020 at 1:47 pm

Let’s hope & pray CV19 is a distant memory by July 2021. But in case a cure, vaccines, treatments and herd immunity haven’t emerged to diminish it, probably not a bad thing to plan for.

As I see it, the biking part on it’s own probably isn’t where the transmission risk is highest…the risk is all the densely packed congregating that happens in pass-thru towns and overnight towns.

A few random ideas, but none are fully baked out.

1) If widespread rapid testing is cheap and plentiful by then, figure out a way to require it each day (color-coded daily wrist bands?) of riders, volunteers and vendors…though admittedly logistics and compliance will be difficult.
2) Kill the big concerts and replace with several, more spread out, smaller live music venues. Feature local talent at low cost rather than expensive bigger names like 38 Special. And provide a variety of genres like rock, alternative, country, blues, jazz.
3) Encourage staggered start times by extending the baggage truck deadline to 10AM, or maybe have 3 different baggage truck deadlines, i.e.: a blue 8am truck, a red 9am & green 10am.
4) Extreme, but if necessary maybe break RAGBRAI into 3 consecutive staggered start days. More logistics to work out, but it’s possible.
5) Or run 3 mini-RAGBRAIs at the same time…North, Central, South routes
6) More kybos, and spaced further apart. Place the kybos about 50 feet apart starting around a mile before each pass thru town, and again more on the way out of the pass thru town. Much better than the usual long bank of kybos with one mega line feeding them.
7) Lots of hand sanitizers, including inside AND outside each kybo (not a bad idea anyway).
8) A one-time surcharge ($50 to $100 range) to cover additional costs incurred by event.
9) More pie.


Mike Howe, October 9, 2020 at 5:52 pm

I would say on the bike is just as high of risk of transmission as standing in crowded lines, bars, etc. Thousands of people biking, breathing heavier and producing more droplets in what is basically one huge slip stream. Droplets from someone who has covid are going to travel further and to other people. Also, covid needs to be well under control before July 2021 in order for Ragbrai and the towns to come to a decision whether to hold it or not. Just like they did this year I’m sure they’ll be making a decision a couple months before July.


Ben Okiyama, October 11, 2020 at 11:55 pm

My two cents:
– Recommend riders get the vaccine prior to attending RAGBRAI
– Wear a mask when in towns and camps (when dismounted).
– Hand sanitizer everywhere possible.

I just ask that we stay away from mandating wearing a mask while riding.


Papa T, October 13, 2020 at 5:10 pm

Sorry, Mootsman and others. The reason I wrote a silly unenforceable set of rules is that Ragbrai has tried so many rules in the past (I started in 1999) that were unenforceable (remember when we COULDN’T GO TO MARNE) that to make up rules that will make Ragbrai covid safe is just plain silly. “social distancing” is impossible. masks are unenforceable management has some very soft power to enforce rules for vendors and virtually none over the townspeople.
Note to potential Riders: If you are afraid of the naughty virus, STAY HOME! I don’t want to spend my precious Ragbrai week(Maybe two?) Listening to advice about “do this” “don’t to that” “watch out!” “be careful”
Papa will be there with my new e-bike, Kickin’ ass and takin names!!!
Did I mention I cannot wait?


mootsman, October 14, 2020 at 8:03 am

Papa T,

The point of this thread is to suggest measures that RAGBRAI might add to AVOID cancelling it again next year. We know nothing is really enforceable. But items like more sanitation stations can be done by RAGBRAI and guidelines for participants might just get RAGBRAI 2021 to be a go. Even saying registered riders only just requesting bandits to stay away might get enough cooperation to avoid cancelation.


wrj, October 14, 2020 at 12:45 pm

I think daily covid health checks for everyone would help. Ask those 5 or 6 health questions and do a temperature check. It could be done anywhere people are waiting in line, showers, kybos, beer tents. Once they pass, issue them a lock-on wrist band like Ragbrai uses. Have a different color band for each day. When I go to the pool or gym, I am checked this way. Add the cost to the Ragbrai fee. How much would it cost? What happens if someone doesn’t pass? What if someone won’t agree to testing? No idea.


Luv 2 Ski, October 14, 2020 at 3:13 pm

I can sum up in 5 words ” A reliable and available vaccine.” Anything short of that and I would bet RAGBARI 2021 is in jeopardy. And if there is one by then everyone should have to show they have gone through the vaccination process.


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