Postpone RAGBRAI XLVIII to 2021??

I could be wrong but it appears doubtful COVID-19 will be under complete control with very little chance any riders, townspeople and venders could become infected. I don’t really want it to postpone but, also, I want it to be “safe” with almost zero chance of infection. If postponed to 2021, I propose the route to be retained in fairness to all communities involved. For planning, the decision for RAGBRAI should be done by at least early to mid May.

If postponed one year, the 50th RAGBRAI could occur in 2023, the 50th anniversary of the first ride.

109 Replies

cheymtn70, March 25, 2020 at 7:59 pm

Yikes, I just found this on the NYT site after leaving this forum. Looks like 2021 might also be an issue ….

Fauci sees signs of the virus becoming cyclical, like the flu.
Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said during the coronavirus task force briefing Wednesday that he was seeing indications that the virus could keep returning as a “seasonal, cyclic thing,” like the flu.

One of the key questions about the virus has been whether its spread would slow or stop in warm weather and return in cold weather, and Dr. Fauci suggested that it may follow that seasonal pattern.

“What we are starting to see now in the southern hemisphere,” he said, referring specifically to southern Africa, “is that we are having cases that are appearing as they go into their winter season. And if, in fact, they have a substantial outbreak, it will be inevitable that we need to be prepared that we will get a cycle around the second time.”

That makes it all the more important that scientists “have a vaccine available for that next cycle,” as well as “a menu of drugs that we have shown to be effective and shown to be safe.,” he said.

“I know we’ll be successful in putting this down now,” Dr. Fauci said, “but we really need to be prepared for another cycle.”


Ryan D, March 25, 2020 at 11:11 pm

You’re on to it, Sandaltan. We shouldn’t underestimate the numbers of people (other than chambers of commerce) that don’t want to see RAGBRAI in their town, and that was long before all this virus stuff. That and even if the town still wants us, maybe someone has said this already, but they’re probably having trouble planning and prepping given the social distancing and limiting meetings to vid/phone conferencing. If I were them, I wouldn’t start spending money on this yet either. I didn’t get that involved with it when it came through my town…how far in advance do the town’s expenditures start to host an overnight?


LawnchairMan, March 26, 2020 at 12:07 am

Due to Mootsman’s stats of the flu I wondered what the difference is between the flu and Covid-19. This is what I found based on sources from CDC, WHO, and NCBI:

Where one person with the flu infects 1.3 other people, Covid infects 2 to 2.5.
Incubation time for the flu is 1 to 4 days. Covid is 1 to 14 days.
Hospitalization rate for flu cases is 2%. For Covid it is 19%.
Case fatality rate for the flue is .1% or less. Covid-19 is 1 to 3.4%

The biggest part of this that hit me is the hospitalization rate.
We will need nearly ten times more beds equipment and staff. How many will we lose just due to lack of space?

As I said before, I think the reasons our death rates have not exceeded that of the flu is that we are social distancing, and that we are just starting this fight. Since my last comment, two days ago, we have lost another 200 people.

Please take this seriously!


mootsman, March 26, 2020 at 6:54 am

Sounds like a few missed the point about fear mongering. RAGBRAI officials will make the right decision taking into account their lead time to cancel. We riders also can decide for ourselves. If its not cancelled it will be because things will have or are improving a lot. Calls to cancel now are premature. I just suggest to stay cool as it is too early to decide. And early rates/percentages can be deceptive. The hard number is the total deaths like the 20,000+ for the flu this season. Those totals (flu & CV) can only increase of course but where will they level off for CV is both the question and the unknown.

cheymtn70, I saw that same presentation by Fauci. Makes sense. Sort of like a new strain of the flu in that expect it to come back every year during its prime season. Like the swine flu initial outbreak in 2009-2010. I got it (swine) actually while on RAGBRAI in 2011 (along with 1 other from our team bus) and it was not even the prime flu season. That sucked.


CyclingCyclone, March 26, 2020 at 10:09 am

If RAGBRAI does have to be postponed, and if it’s possible, I’d vote for RAGBRAI in the fall, then next year back to July.
Fall riding is some of the best riding anyway. Just my 2 cents.


cheymtn70, March 26, 2020 at 10:22 am

NONE of us want to see RAGBRAI cancelled. The overnight towns and their committees will decide. People that decide to go the route alone will not be looked upon kindly – I would expect an announcement, from towns and RAGBRAI, to that effect.


francoisvanzyl, March 26, 2020 at 10:23 am

As far as people from Texas are concerned, riding in Iowa in July IS riding in the fall. That is my 2 cents.


garywilk, March 26, 2020 at 10:26 am

I give it an 70% chance that it will go on. I think the towns need a month to prep so we need to be on the other side of the curve by then. Unless you lock everything down for a month which is impossible. Not the president, dems, or repubs could make this happen. It is the US culture of Freedom. When I say lock down I mean lock down. This includes all the way to no 911 calls. Will never happen in the states. Logistics and companies have done just in time so no inventories. This results in half of the companies are still working. Thus all that is happening is we are flattening the curve a little. I think this will peak in about 2 months and start to come back down. The next three months will be bad but we all should be able to get our rides in. Hopefully see you all in July. Eat, drink, and stay healthy so you can fight it off. Hopefully the treatment for the symptoms works so most will recover.


KenH, March 26, 2020 at 10:27 am

There is a difference between fear mongering and predicting. Both are going on here and around the world but not everyone who predicts a RAGBRAI cancellation or postponement is fear mongering. As I have said I think the chances of a shutdown are around 50-50 at this point. But I also think the best evidence so far is that the death rate for this virus is lower than is widely reported. The virus may be more contagious than the common reports however and that leads to legitimate concerns about the capacity of our healthcare system since the disease can be quite severe among those who do survive and our hospital system is not designed to handle the potential case load especially when it is added to all the other reasons that people seek hospital care in any given time period. When this is over we should have a serious discussion about our hospital capacity. Modern transportation makes the spread of new diseases very easy and we can expect to have more, not fewer pandemics in the future. On the whole I don’t think there is as much to fear from this virus as people commonly seem to be doing but of course the fact that so many people are living in fear of it does add to the cancellation odds.

I view the mere act of speculating on the odds of a RAGBRAI cancellation as the equivalent of trying to guess the route every year. It is just a parlor game we all play to amuse ourselves. And a lot of us are sitting at home right now and are in need of amusement!


mootsman, March 26, 2020 at 11:11 am

The fear mongering isn’t about CV. It’s about cancelling RAGBRAI. And speculating/odds are useless. It either will or will not be cancelled. Speculating and odds are for gamblers and bored cyclists. I say grab a beer ? and chill until the definitive annocement.


coloradoshortbus, March 26, 2020 at 1:57 pm

It will be cancelled. The current world infection rate is as follows: 100,000 – 67 days, 200,000 – 11 days, 300,000 – 4 days, 400,000 – 2 days, 500,000 – 1 day. We do not have the leadership to stop the same from happening here.


Uncle Kraig, March 26, 2020 at 3:42 pm

coloradshortbus – Sadly, I believe you are correct on all fronts. Plus, think it about it like this for a minute. Rural Le Mars Iowa has about 9,000 residents. Thus far, they have been largely minimally impacted. You think they want 30,000 people from all over the infected globe and country coming to stay in their tiny little confined areas….not a chance. Apply that same logic to every pass through town, which are much smaller. It “aint happening”

And, someone mentioned somewhere on here that the towns can pull off all RAGBRAI prep in a month?? Talk to any committee chair that has ever hosted, they will quickly laugh at you and rattle off the thousands of things that cant be done in a month. I’m afraid our favorite summer activity is going to go the way of all my other favorite summer activities. On a related note, I should be watching the Cleveland Indians home opener today :( Stay safe and healthy and we will hopefully see you all next year.


T. Gap Woo, March 26, 2020 at 4:45 pm

As far as people from Texas are concerned, riding in Iowa in July IS riding in the fall. That is my 2 cents. ~Francoisvanzyl

Thanks for the belly-laugh! We all needed that!

Uncle Kraig, I feel your pain and share your disappointment in missing the Tribe’s opener. I’ve been a Tribe fan since I was a wee Woo in the 195x’s (don’t ask, so I don’t have to lie!).

I was hoping to ride the C&O trail this May and GOBA 32 in June as a tuneup for Ragbrai 48 but I’m afraid that those rides may be nixed. We shall see.

I’ll see you along the I-O-Way maybe this July (hopefully) but definitely in 2021.


Ken Koprowski, March 26, 2020 at 9:00 pm

Go Tribe!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! well in the near future


MJA, March 26, 2020 at 9:37 pm

Things are just heating up in Iowa (and I don’t mean the weather). There are cases all over the state, 180 to date with one death. If Iowa follows what is happening elsewhere, which is likely, there will be many more affected. Looks at the Johns Hopkins site map ( and enlarge it so you can see what’s going on in Iowa.


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