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?

34 Replies

Will (Willard) Johnson, September 1, 2019 at 6:16 pm

To a couple email responders. I have considered that outside vendors make money in stop towns, but I don’t believe for one minute those towns expect zero return from Ragbrai participation in their backyards, that’s why I say if they’re organized funds can be acquired, whether outside vendors are there or not. Regarding the track hazards, I am just stating if you are lobbying to bring Ragbrai through your town I believe spray paint marking potholes that could be filled even if temporary should be an obligation to point maybe 1 or 2 miles in and out of town. I also believe that of course every rider needs to be alert for road hazards and other traffic. Out on the route I don’t expect a perfect track and appreciate warning signs and volunteers at hill bottoms etc. Cheers


trknight, September 2, 2019 at 10:17 pm

I think the roads in Iowa on RAGBRAI are great. There were instances where you needed to “pay attention” and ride appropriately. Most that complain may not have experienced some roads in other parts of the country. I live in coarse chip seal country and the roads in Iowa are much, much smoother overall. That being said, this year and last I went tubeless with 28mm tires at 80 – 85 psi. I appreciate them more in my home, chip seal area more than in Iowa.


John Richardson, September 9, 2019 at 8:39 am

Overall I didn’t find the roads to be too bad this year, of course they’ll always be a few section that can become an annoyance after a while. Those tracks at Mystic were quite rough though! I was well aware that I was fast approaching those tracks at the bottom of the hill but after observing other riders ahead of me fly across them apparently without issue, I assumed it was a smooth crossing and with the extra weight of riding self contained I hit them at great speed. No damage was done, but wow, what a hard hit! I should have slowed down and have no one to blame but myself.


Jboz, September 9, 2019 at 12:46 pm

Gravel riding, which I have been doing quite a bit of through August and September, has definitely changed my perspective on this. Tubeless and riding at lower PSI smooths out the ride considerably. For next year, I plan to ride my new Lynskey with 35mm tires lowered to about 45 PSI. Small speed penalty, but it’s a ride not a race, so the few minutes of extra time will allow me to soak up more RAGBRAI while my tires are soaking up rough patches of road.


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