“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

Jboz, October 14, 2020 at 5:48 pm

[quote quote=1324357]And if there is one by then everyone should have to show they have gone through the vaccination process.[/quote]

Wow. Pretty serious civil liberties implications there. Brave New World meets 1984.

#1324364

GP_in_SD, October 14, 2020 at 8:00 pm

Agree 100% Luv2Ski. If there is a reliable vaccine we all should be required to get one. Doubt there will be a Ragbrai without. I like the other ideas expressed here as well like hand sanitizer, temp checks etc. My first Ragbrai was in 1975 and I have done 20+ since. I would say that on at least half of those rides someone in our group has come down with the flu or flu like symptoms (I’ve personally gotten very sick halfway through two rides). I have no doubt those illnesses were transmitted among riders in crowded pass throughs, beer tents, pulling sodas and beers out of ice baths, etc etc. If Ragbrai happens in 2021, I’ll be much more conscientious about the preventative measures Ragbrai takes and vendors and their food handling and distribution precautions.

#1324368

Papa T, October 15, 2020 at 1:49 pm

Luv 2 Ski wrote
“Wow. Pretty serious civil liberties implications there. Brave New World meets 1984.”
I rest my case!

#1324389

mootsman, October 15, 2020 at 4:09 pm

[quote quote=1324364]

And if there is one by then everyone should have to show they have gone through the vaccination process.

Wow. Pretty serious civil liberties implications there. Brave New World meets 1984.[/quote]

Agreed Jboz. With that much personal freedom gone, RAGBRAI would have no point. Common sense for one person is total control for others I guess. RAGBRAI is no place for the fearful measures like required vaccines.

2 of us on our team bus got the H1N1 in 2013 and had to leave the tour midway. But we were back again next year.

#1324390

Mike Murphy, October 16, 2020 at 3:43 pm

[quote quote=1324195]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.[/quote]

If we need to do all of these things I highly doubt the Ragbrai would be able to be held. In regards to big name bands they took your advice on that for the last three or four years. lol

#1324402

Jboz, October 17, 2020 at 4:24 pm

Mike – I wasn’t suggesting RAGBRAI would need to do “all these things”. Just throwing out a random buffet of ideas, some of which could be viable next July…or may not even be needed.

#1324409

Dieter Drake, October 28, 2020 at 12:58 pm

[quote quote=1324195]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.[/quote]

Great post. All but 4 and 5 are viable ideas. Many of these our team has already discussed (including 4 and 5…)

9 is a given. :)

More details soon.

#1324533

Larry Klaaren, October 28, 2020 at 3:23 pm

Maybe someone has said this, but: instead of having a designated highly congested meeting town, spread the vendors out among three or four towns when possible. Or cut down on the commercial vendors and let the towns market what they have, thus spreading out the crowd. That would really give the towns a boost. Or spread the traveling vendors around a hayfield or park. To me, with the vendors up and down the street, every meeting town looks alike. Just a not very thoroughly baked thought.

#1324534

Jboz, October 29, 2020 at 10:43 am

Dieter, I appreciate how the team is leaning into this rather than away from it. And I’m very encouraged to know that the Forum is being actively read by those who are in a position to make a difference. When I wrote those 9 ideas up, I was spitballing a little, and I completely understand why #4 & #5 would alter the very essence of RAGBRAI. The more I look at the other ones, I think a few would make RAGBRAI a better and safer experience even in the absence of COVID.

Specifically, people like having choices, and #3 would make RAGBRAI better for riders in general. When the ride was small, one single baggage truck departure time made sense. But as the ride grew larger, having only one baggage truck departure time compressed a lot of people into a fairly small window. This makes the baggage drop-off and pick-up more crowded. It also puts many riders on the road at the same time, which makes riding more crowded (thus less safe) and longer vendor lines. One suggestion – have riders commit to their departure time during the sign-up process. This way, the crew would be able to better forecast the workflow and you can line up resources and the appropriate size trucks for each departure time slot ahead of time.

Thanks for listening.

#1324546

KenH, October 29, 2020 at 4:06 pm

This virus is proving to be pretty hard to beat. Things were looking reasonable over the summer with simple measures like masks and social distancing. Now that cooler weather is forcing people into tighter quarters where densities are moving towards RAGBRAI crowd density levels (but still an order of magnitude or two shy of that) cases are ramping back up. People’s fear levels are all over the map which will make it hard for towns to staff up for RAGBRAI if the virus goes undefeated into next spring.

I think it will be difficult to hold an event like RAGBRAI next year without a vaccine that enough of us are willing to take to give the population herd immunity. Or a super effective treatment that removes all fear over contracting the disease. Both of those are starting to appear on the near horizon but neither is established as certain at this point.

My church met outside all summer under a big tent and we had no trouble with the virus that could be traced back to our worship services. A small number of us have gotten the virus but not so many and not in social clusters that would point at the church as the source. We have recently moved indoors with services at about half capacity which is working for us at the present because fear levels are high enough to keep many at home and participating via livestream. We are also enforcing pretty stringent social distancing and other safety measures. Doing these things for RAGBRAI would probably require keeping the crowd at half or less of its normal size. Now, maybe that would happen anyway due to the fear factor.

My advice is for the RAGBRAI team to keep a close eye on what other organizations are doing to hold large events without become super spreader sites. The things they do can be adapted to RAGBRAI too and the outdoor nature of the event makes it somewhat easier to prevent viral contagion. Unfortunately any event remotely the size or density of RAGBRAI has been canceled this year. So there may not be much relevant outside experience to steal from unless things like large indoor or outdoor sporting events are allowed to come back on line early next year.

If the right breakthrough were to be made by February Covid could be a distant memory by March. There is a reasonable chance of that, let’s make what plans we can and hope that new developments will make them unnecessary, although still a good idea. Hygiene improvements at RAGBRAI would be a good thing even under more normal conditions.

#1324549

Jboz, October 29, 2020 at 5:26 pm

Understand the concerns. At the same time, we as a society must be able to navigate, in various ways, the present reality we find ourselves in. We can’t remove all risk…we never have. Over these last eight months we have learned quite a lot about the virus, adapting to new protocols and modifying the ways in which we carry on the tasks of life. We also have a more precise understanding of varying risk levels across age-demographic cohorts and comorbidity factors. As serious as COVID is, overall physical and mental health, human flourishing, and broad societal needs also are important considerations.

#1324551

Papa T, October 31, 2020 at 8:43 am

Thank you Dieter, what you say make sense to me. However, testing everyone seems overwhelming. You have in excess of 500 riders, several “bandits” each day, what about townspeople. If this (testing and wristbands every day) is to be done it sounds REAL hard! Just sayin.

#1324561

Dieter Drake, October 31, 2020 at 9:35 am

[quote quote=1324561]Thank you Dieter, what you say make sense to me. However, testing everyone seems overwhelming. You have in excess of 500 riders, several “bandits” each day, what about townspeople. If this (testing and wristbands every day) is to be done it sounds REAL hard! Just sayin.[/quote]

Yes, there’s no way we could take on the responsibility or liability of Covid-19 testing ourselves. Instead, we would conceivably require proof of a recent negative test prior to arriving onsite in LeMars. This is very similar to what airlines & countries are implementing for international travel.

In any case, it’s still very much a function of how the next several months go.

#1324564

Larry Klaaren, October 31, 2020 at 12:59 pm

[quote quote=1324564]
In any case, it’s still very much a function of how the next several months go.[/quote]

Yep. The variables are in the hundreds. Any effort put out at this point could be a total waste of resources. In the case of the events we do here, there is a point of no return, usually when significant deposits have to be put down on things like Kybos, and we work with the options we have at that time.
Let’s talk about how the Cubs will handle the World Series crowd. Oh . . . wait a minute. We can always hope.

Larry

#1324566

Dieter Drake, October 31, 2020 at 1:11 pm

[quote quote=1324566]

In any case, it’s still very much a function of how the next several months go.

Yep. The variables are in the hundreds. Any effort put out at this point could be a total waste of resources. In the case of the events we do here, there is a point of no return, usually when significant deposits have to be put down on things like Kybos, and we work with the options we have at that time.
Let’s talk about how the Cubs will handle the World Series crowd. Oh . . . wait a minute. We can always hope.

Larry[/quote]

Indeed. We’re currently having to plan for every possible outcome.

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