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First Time Rider – Question

This will be my first RAGBRAI. In the countless you tube videos I’ve been watching, I noticed that when camping for the evening numerous bikes are stored upside down. The bikes are left on their handlebars and seat. Why are they stored in that manner?
Thanks in advance.

17 Replies

Stanford, March 29, 2016 at 9:08 am

10-15 thousand riders and only 25 trees to lean against.


Stephen Paine, March 29, 2016 at 9:11 am

You don’t want to lean your bike against your tent for obvious reasons. And if you lay it down, someone is going to step on it in the dark and hurt both themselves and the bike.

Putting it upside down is, however, needless if you have a friend camping near to you. Just lean the two bikes together, each pointing in the direction opposite from the other (i.e., saddle on one by the bars on the other). Works every time.


Stanford, March 29, 2016 at 9:24 am

Actually leaning two bikes together is what we do, as well. My gps setup and my mirror interfere with me being able to park my bike wheels up. Plus overnight I add a very short quick release strap to bind them together for stability in case I bump them on the way to the kybo


trknight, March 29, 2016 at 12:26 pm

I’m not a big fan of leaning bikes together. I’ve seen too many fallen over. At night, I usually store the bike upside down, particularly if there is not an upright, immobile structure to lean it against nearby.


Juan Medium Moose, March 29, 2016 at 5:30 pm

I also find that the bike is less likely to fall over if it’s upside down. Since I park my bike next to my tent, I really don’t want it falling over at night. Bad way to wake up.

If you’re camping with a friend, though, @Stanford’s idea of using a quick-release strap is a good way to make “tenting” two bikes a lot more stable. I like that idea and I have a velcro tie that would do the job nicely, and it’s already packed in my bag.

Oh… bring a couple of handi-wipes along. No matter which way you park your bike, you’ll want to wipe off the seat in the morning. Rain, dew…a cold wet seat is an uncomfortable way to start the day.


“Bicycle Bill”, March 29, 2016 at 6:53 pm

And just how big a tent are you planning on bringing along?

Remember, you’re going to be in open fields, golf courses, high school football or baseball fields, fairgrounds, city parks, and God only knows what else.  One year we even camped alongside the edge of the local airfield’s runway (which was shut down for that night).  I’ve literally seen tent ropes crossing each other.  You’re not camping at a nice KOA where everybody has a specific site; wherever you can find space enough for a tent sooner or later someone is going to plop one down there.



SFC JKL 2, March 29, 2016 at 7:08 pm

It wouldn’t be Ragbrai without a night of gale force winds. Take of those rubber wrist bands everyone hands out and use it to clip your brakes. Then all you have to do is lean it against something. It works well in all the pass thru towns too.


Amanda, March 29, 2016 at 7:24 pm

I stored my bike in my tent- I even had a few others bikes in my tent. I brought an 8 man tent the first year of renting. Realized the first morning I had to take it down that it was a huge mistake! My club mates called it the Taj Mahal and That’s when my Princess role began.? I learned quickly to size down and bring just what you need, and of course, leave room for several tiaras!


Sexton, March 29, 2016 at 8:33 pm

Think in 3 dimensions. You can also hook your (handle) bars over a low hanging tree branch. I’ve done that when there were bikes and tents strewn all over the place.


Bentongoing, March 30, 2016 at 7:52 am

My advice? Get a trike! The only worry is remembering to set the parking brake, or it might be in someone else’s driveway in the morning!
And they have other uses;
Luggage transporter
Lounge chair (any where you stop!)
Clothes rack
TV Stand (ok – now I’m reaching!)
Oh Yeah! Comfortable personal transportation device.


Ragbrai Nation, March 30, 2016 at 10:07 am

I’m going to guess they are doing some bike maintenance, checking the true on the wheels, adjusting derailleurs, etc. Checking for sharps embedded in high-pressure tires should be done at the end of each day. I degrease and relube my chain at least twice during the week for trouble-free shifting.


Sandaltan ., March 30, 2016 at 9:12 pm

Beebs, that camp along the runway was in Rockwell City I believe. A memorable experience for my wing man and me.



“Bicycle Bill”, March 31, 2016 at 12:38 am

We were in Rockwell City in 1979 (RAGBRAI VII, my second one) so that could be about right, although I thought it was 1980 on a Sunday night in Mapleton.
And then the next day (from Mapleton) was Soggy Monday……

And as long as I brought up Soggy Monday, I need to go back to Schleswig and see if that bar where I holed up for most of the day is still there and if the same people are still running it.  Although that was 35 years ago, so there’s probably not too much chance of that.


Sandaltan ., March 31, 2016 at 7:11 pm

Beebs, the Rockwell City airport for us was XXVI…1997. We were not on the ride in ’79.



jelly0317, March 31, 2016 at 7:27 pm

It was Mapleton.


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