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Mourning bands

Hi Guys and Gals,

I need your advice. This may be poorly written, as I may ramble a bit before getting to the topic.

I am planning to honor my friend, Del, who passed last November. I got to know him through my local cycling club. He did some 20 Ragbrai’s and regaled me with stories of Soggy Monday and others. He helped get me started by getting me onto his team, and encouraged me to do the ride. I don’t think I will ever do Ragbrai again without thinking of him. He will be missed!

To honor Del I am going to stop at the beginning of the Mile of Silence and play a version of Amazing Grace on my Cycle Sound. I hope this will not offend riders of different faiths, but it is an instrumental, so other lyrics can be imagined.

The other thing I propose to do is to hand out mourning bands. This is where I need help. I don’t want riders to think I am selling them. They will be a gift to have others help me honor Del and others. If I stand there holing one up, would riders think I am selling them? Should I make a sign that says they are free?
I plan to get out by 5;30, so I should be at Orange street by 6:10 or so. I have 55 arm bands, but I don’t know how quickly they will be taken.

9 Replies

Bob Card, July 3, 2018 at 4:20 pm

Friends/mentors are a treasure. My friend who reintroduced me to cycling ~20 years ago will be riding with me, hopefully you are still there with a couple of bands when we get there.



Sam, July 3, 2018 at 5:25 pm

If you’re going to make a sign, which I think is a good idea, make a couple and place the first one half a mile to a mile ahead of where you’re going to be at. Give people some time to think about stopping before they have to.


LawnchairMan, July 3, 2018 at 5:57 pm

What time do you think you will be at Orange street. It’s about ten miles from Onawa.

Good idea about an advance sign. I will consider it, but that requires a lot of extra baggage. Retrieving it too.


Roy Trent, July 3, 2018 at 6:18 pm

Great idea! I would think about pulling over and handing them out about 1/2 mile out also (signs could be 1.5 to 2 miles out – remember, low signs will only be seen by those on the edge of pavement – get some high signs if you can). People may not be able to ride and put their band on at the same time. I saw many last year that could not ride and breathe at the same time. This will allow them to stop, put on their band and finish talking before they get to the mile of silence.
Don’t worry about anyone being offended. It’s none of their business.


Bob Card, July 4, 2018 at 12:02 am

It’s my first RAGBRAI and I don’t really know what to expect leaving Onawa on Sunday morning except uncoordinated chaos, so I am unsure about timing. I’m hoping that we can leave no later than 6:00, but we may have to “roll with it” if the road is severely clogged.


Roy Trent, July 4, 2018 at 9:15 am

You can leave as early as you want so you should be fine. Do you have a plan for carrying the signs/poles etc? If you have a support vehicle maybe you can go out the night before and drop off your material so it is waiting for you the next morning.


Amanda, July 4, 2018 at 5:44 pm

That is a great idea to honor your friend. I would set up about a half a mile from the start of the Mile of Silence. Then you can tell your story to those who stop. Or you could hand them out to riders the night before.

Our team will be honoring a wonderful guy too. JD Hunt was a fantastic driver for us and just an all around great guy. Black Fungus will be wearing black armbands with RIP JD.

Even though our friends are gone their memories will stay with us forever.

RIP Del and JD❤️


LawnchairMan, July 4, 2018 at 7:11 pm

Thank you Amanda for your empathetic words. I understand your loss.

And everyone, thank you for your suggestions.

Looking at the satellite view there is really no place but the crossroad at Orange to have anyone stop. Setting up there and playing the song would also alert riders of the Mile of Silence. I could tie a pole to my bike for a sign that I could place a few hundred feet back. I want to keep it close enough that I can walk back to retrieve it. By the time I am done I expect the main group to pass, so riding back would be difficult.
I really don’t know how this will go. I have 55 bands. There may be a long time between takers, or it may go quickly. I hope no one is disappointed that they didn’t get one. If anyone else would choose to contribute it would be appreciated.

I do plan to be at Orange street at 6:10, so please spread the word. Thanks!


Amanda, July 5, 2018 at 6:49 am

One more tip. Don’t set up on the left-hand side of the road. Set up on the right-hand side. Most bikers get off on the right side. Ride right rules say to get off on the right and not on the left. The left side is for the speedy guys! LOL
plus the main group will probably be done about 10:30. What I mean by that is there will be a steady stream for quite a while. The first day is always a lot of people, packed in, pretty much overwhelming.


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