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COVID this year?

Got lucky last year but my wife came back with the rona this year—I’m symptomatic but testing negative still. Who else got COVID on the ride this year?

53 Replies

Joseph Schlau, August 14, 2022 at 11:45 am

NiaHartman and Montesyaples, you were the folks I had in mind when I planned for RAGBRAI this year. Last year I passed on the ride because my team did not go and I wasn’t going as an individual rider. Instead I did an 11 day 550 mile self supported (credit card) tour through Illinois and Wisconsin.

This year I wanted to ride RAGBRAI but unlike another poster, Covid was front and center in my planning. With a vulnerable family member at home it was central to the planning. I just assumed there would be positive carriers out there who were showing little or no obviously symptoms.

I identified busses, crowds, interiors of buildings, and crowds of riders on hills as being places having a higher likelihood of risk. I carried and used N95 masks and test kits.

My plan this year was to repeat the self supported plan to cross Illinois, and Iowa, to RAGBRAI then across Wisconsin, home. No bus travel. Used B&Bs, Airbnb, cabins or camping to avoid common interior spaces. Motels with outside entrances where possible.

N95 mask in any store I went into. In some places the sight of someone with a mask was unnerving to the local residents. They dealt with it. Stores on RAGBRAI with multiple bikes parked outside were passed by. I found empty stores a block away.

Crowds in towns were avoided by early travel or detours on parallel streets. Using an e-bike got me ahead of crowds and staying ahead. Hills were identified as problematic if I got behind a very slow stream of riders breathing heavy. Once again the e-bike expedited the route up a hill on the left minimizing contact time.

When I did meet the team, I found an isolated sleeping area or camped outside. Minimum time indoors.

I self tested before meeting my team and once during RAGBRAI. Another 5 tests post RAGBRAI to insure I was ok before meeting family.

It apparently worked. Tested negative every time with no symptoms. One team member tested positive a day after returning home and at least one more positive who was on the bus with him.

It was a much longer trip with the additional associated expenses. 29 days in all. 1588 miles on the bike, almost 3 times as long as RAGBRAI.

It was a much different RAGBRAI. No inside trips to restaurants, museums, historical societies like past years. Less face to face contact. A necessary compromise for health.

It’s not for everybody, but it worked for me. I would do it again. But we now all watch and wait to see how the next year unfolds.


Ben Okiyama, August 29, 2022 at 8:13 pm

Not me….had the “rona” in late April. I tested for antibodies in early July…and still had bunch running through out my body (I never got the vaccine).
Felt great throughout the week. Got home, no symptoms, tested negative….all good to this point.


HelenP, September 5, 2022 at 5:15 pm

Did anyone here even *mention* the #1 health advance in all of human history?


Everyone obsesses over masks & vaccines, but how frequently do your hands touch your face, your hair, food, etc., each day?

How often did you wash your hands, both before & after, when using a bathroom or kybo (and touching its much-used handle)? I use a paper towel, tissue, etc., on the handle after I wash.

Did you at least use a hand sanitizer, liquid or wipe, after using money for food & drink?

Were your hands clean when you handled a mask that was placed directly against your face?

Did you use tools or gear that many others had handled?

I’d facepalm over the many omissions I saw, but I’d better soap up first! *wry grimace* Yeah, it’s a bother, but it helps a lot.

FYI, I took PBV’s east-west shuttle, 4 paid PBV SAG shuttles to skip hills, and slept indoors all week in their gyms & churches. I wore a folded-double bandanna as a mask whenever in a close crowd. My teammate and I drove aaaalll the way between the East Coast and Lansing, avoiding other public transportation — plus the cost & logistics worked better for us. I also pushed my teammate to clean her hands often, including packing some wipes for both of us.

So, we didn’t get COVID. Maybe it was just luck.

Best wishes for those who got sick, however it happened. Given the long incubation period for COVID, some people likely arrived already infected, but asymptomatic.

Pesky germs!!!!


jpclark7, September 26, 2022 at 10:52 pm

Helen, it was just luck. Next year, forego much of what you posted/suggested, excluding washing your hands, and enjoy RAGBRAI in 2023! 😃


IndigoInkTaco, October 7, 2022 at 10:16 am

I can’t believe this is a thread LOL.

But I’ll contribute to be part of the discussion. No Vax. No hand sanitizer all week. Cant recall washing hands b/c I never stepped foot inside a building all week. Heck, I barely showered. Perfectly fine ever since the ride and I took a bus ride out there and participated in all the events and rode when the majority of others were out there too. Certainly made zero effort to avoid anyone.

Only came to the forums to see when 2023 opens up reg. Can’t wait!


Joseph Schlau, October 7, 2022 at 5:15 pm

I can’t believe this is a thread LOL.

Are you serious? You take a crap and don’t bother with washing your hands.

You are the lowest common denominator of public health I must plan for.

I hope you don’t work in the food industry.


KenH, October 30, 2022 at 6:15 am

Hey Joe, I’ve noticed over the years that about 1/3 of men do not wash their hands after using a public bathroom. That rises to about 2/3 in bathrooms without paper towels, only electric hand dryers! Men are pigs.

So, I left RAGBRAI Thursday morning because of covid. I didn’t get it, my wife back home did. I left to care for her. She tested positive for about a week after I got home. We washed hands and social distanced, no other precautions. I never got it.

One of my teammates got it a few days after returning home. It’s unclear if he got it on the ride or afterwards. Four of us slept together in a motorhome, two of us outside in tents. We practiced normal hygiene during the week and conducted ourselves as on any previous RAGBRAI.


Joseph Schlau, October 30, 2022 at 10:03 am

Ken, your numbers are pretty consistent with a survey released earlier this month showing that 40% of people lied about their vaccine status, quarantine, or recent exposure to Covid. Some going as far as lying to medical staff in a doctor’s office.

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 40% of Americans were untruthful about whether they had the virus or were ignoring safety precautions, a nationwide survey shows.

The December survey of 1,700 people found 721 respondents had either misrepresented their COVID status or failed to follow public health recommendations.

Folks ignored quarantine rules, told someone they were about to see that they had been taking more precautions than they actually were, and didn’t mention they might or did have COVID when they entered a doctor’s office. They were also untruthful about vaccination status, claiming they were vaccinated when they weren’t or that they were unvaccinated when they had taken the vaccine, the survey revealed.

So given the widespread deliberate indifference to basic health measures as well as specific recommendations for a particular disease, one can just assume the worst and act accordingly.


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