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Killer Roads?

This was my second RAGBRAI, so please excuse my ignorance – I was a little dismayed by the quality of roads, especially around Indianola. I saw four separate incidents of people going down, of which only one was the biker’s fault (elderly gentleman on heart failure meds just veered off road). I did notice highlighted spray paint on cracked pavements on the last two days, but wonder if spending a few hundred extra dollars on more paint, esp on hills descending into Indianola area could have saved a few injuries. Is there a mechanism for providing this feedback to the organizers?

This topic was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by  Matt W.

34 Replies

bugs11, July 29, 2019 at 1:00 pm

I could tell holes, cracks, and crevices were recently patched with asphalt along some sections of the road; not so much on other sections.

#1310379

reedkennethia, July 29, 2019 at 1:44 pm

I thought the roads going into Cumming were pretty brutal. I was kind of nervous rolling down those hills.

#1310385

Matt W, July 29, 2019 at 2:02 pm

Yes, those too. I got two flats.

#1310390

T. Gap Woo, July 29, 2019 at 4:49 pm

Is there a mechanism for providing this feedback to the organizers?

Feel free to reply to the post-ride survey that DMR puts out. Vent your spleen or sing high praises. TJ and staff take our comments seriously.

BTW, this survey generates the demographic information that another poster on a different thread was seeking.

See you along the I-O-Way next year.

#1310412

Csprint, July 29, 2019 at 7:29 pm

Compared to what we have in Oklahoma, the roads were beautiful.

#1310417

BarryTantlinger, July 29, 2019 at 7:44 pm

Last year I saw a terrible crash on a downhill (caused by riders riding left trying to move right to avoid vehicle traffic on a long sweeping left turn). After that I slowed down on downhills. Too much traffic on roads I don’t know means it’s too much risk to bomb down hill no matter how much fun it is.

#1310418

Brian Wallenburg, July 29, 2019 at 9:05 pm

The body took a beating on Thursday for sure! Never ending cracks in the road.

#1310423

mrbill3818, July 30, 2019 at 5:42 am

Compared to Michigan, these roads were great.

#1310438

Cory Rood, July 30, 2019 at 6:23 am

Maybe it’s because I live and ride in Iowa, but I had no issue with the roads. Were some rough? Sure. Can I distinctly remember a certain section? Nope. It is completely unrealistic to expect good to great condition roads all week long. Counties can’t just go out and repair the RAGBRAI route without it being budgeted or planned. Many times a counties budget/projects are set LONG before the route is announced. You can’t just change or add to that at the last moment.

#1310439

KenH, July 30, 2019 at 8:35 am

If you look you will see signs that roads have been patched in anticipation of our arrival in many places. But not everything can be done. We bring in welcome money to local economies but not enough to pay for new roads from “coast” to “coast” across Iowa! Sometimes minor patching will go a long way to improve rider safety with little impact on the county budget. Sometimes the work is too extensive to be done if it was not budgeted in advance.

I remember long stretches of roads with wide, longitudinal cracks that were very hungry for narrow bicycle tires. They are the reason I have always ridden 38mm tires until I upgraded to 55mm this year. I am surprised we did not see more accidents actually. I noticed one huge centerline crack that would easily have swallowed my tires which was highlighted with orange paint and guarded by an orange cone at its beginning. I noticed, at the last minute, a big pot hole that was marked with orange paint but which could have used one of those orange cones too. I remember coming down a big hill just after (I think) Mystic with RR tracks at the bottom. No one ahead of me seemed to be slowing for it or having any trouble with it so I assumed it was smooth and let the bike run. WHAM! I had quite a jolt going over those tracks but no trouble staying upright. Not sure how skinny tires managed to do the same thing but they did for those ahead of me. Thanks to that experience I now know the answer to the eternal question about my Trek 920. Are the 28 spoke wheels on that model up to the rigors of loaded touring? Since they survived that mighty jolt I believe the correct answer is yes, yes they are!!

#1310445

Brady Bisgard, July 30, 2019 at 11:18 am

I thought overall the roads were fine EXCEPT the day from Centerville to Fairfield. That day was downright brutal. 2/3 of us in our group broke a spoke that day.

#1310452

Brady Bisgard, July 30, 2019 at 11:21 am

If you look you will see signs that roads have been patched in anticipation of our arrival in many places. But not everything can be done. We bring in welcome money to local economies but not enough to pay for new roads from “coast” to “coast” across Iowa! Sometimes minor patching will go a long way to improve rider safety with little impact on the county budget. Sometimes the work is too extensive to be done if it was not budgeted in advance.

I remember long stretches of roads with wide, longitudinal cracks that were very hungry for narrow bicycle tires. They are the reason I have always ridden 38mm tires until I upgraded to 55mm this year. I am surprised we did not see more accidents actually. I noticed one huge centerline crack that would easily have swallowed my tires which was highlighted with orange paint and guarded by an orange cone at its beginning. I noticed, at the last minute, a big pot hole that was marked with orange paint but which could have used one of those orange cones too. I remember coming down a big hill just after (I think) Mystic with RR tracks at the bottom. No one ahead of me seemed to be slowing for it or having any trouble with it so I assumed it was smooth and let the bike run. WHAM! I had quite a jolt going over those tracks but no trouble staying upright. Not sure how skinny tires managed to do the same thing but they did for those ahead of me. Thanks to that experience I now know the answer to the eternal question about my Trek 920. Are the 28 spoke wheels on that model up to the rigors of loaded touring? Since they survived that mighty jolt I believe the correct answer is yes, yes they are!!

That RR crossing at Mystic was really dangerous I agree.

#1310453

Eric olson, July 30, 2019 at 11:48 am

Just a note for anyone considering going tubeless. I was running about 85 PSI in my tires (you can run a low pressure in tubeless). The roads were comfortable and the bike ate up the rumbles.

#1310454

Sunflower, July 30, 2019 at 2:18 pm

Maybe it’s because I live and ride in Iowa, but I had no issue with the roads. Were some rough? Sure. Can I distinctly remember a certain section? Nope. It is completely unrealistic to expect good to great condition roads all week long. Counties can’t just go out and repair the RAGBRAI route without it being budgeted or planned. Many times a counties budget/projects are set LONG before the route is announced. You can’t just change or add to that at the last moment.

My opinion as well. Experienced RAGBRAI riders leave very early or after 8:30 so that there is enough sight distance to be able to see the road conditions in time to avoid bad cracks. There were NO segments of road I saw where I could not choose a safe route through the pavement problems.

If you’re getting surprised by pavement issues you’re riding when its too crowded to ride safely, period.

#1310462

PAM JUSTEN, July 30, 2019 at 3:47 pm

last time thru there, they had carpet across the tracks. We were warned when we were at the firehouse to stay right because of all the carnage down there

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