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

mootsman, March 27, 2020 at 7:47 am

Sounds like a lot of stinkin-thinkin here. The crown on the crown viruses (corona means crown) like this tend to melt when it gets up to 70 which typically is why they go away mostly in the summer. Just wait and see like the RAGBRAI officials.


cheymtn70, March 27, 2020 at 8:33 am

Mootsman –
At the very least, you’re keeping the thread going and interesting! I would look for an announcement way before June 1st. Too many people. Too much logistics. You can’t wait until
June 1st.


mootsman, March 27, 2020 at 9:40 am

I think you’re right. It will be a ways before June 1st. Early May maybe. They may be waiting/hoping for warmer weather to see what happens.


MJA, March 27, 2020 at 9:52 am

In Florida, temperatures are in the 70-80s. No evidence of virus transmission slowing down here.


Sandaltan ., March 27, 2020 at 12:22 pm

Governor Reynolds, may make the ultimate call on RAGBRAI, her highway patrol is a vital ingredient to our ride and she may not wish to risk even a single one of those troopers. The same holds true for our Iowa State Fair.

RIDE RIGHT …. thinking about taking up sudoku or learning to bake carrot cake.


cheymtn70, March 27, 2020 at 12:35 pm

Sandaltan – Iowa State Patrol is a major stakeholder. Along with the overnight towns. They’ll make the call.


Jboz, March 27, 2020 at 1:55 pm

There is a lot of misinformation out there. And I’m not pointing to any specific projection and saying that it’s wrong. I say that because I have seen data and modeling from various sources with wildly different outcomes/predictions. I’m not an epidemiologist, but I have enough common sense to know that if one model predicts a 75% infection rate, and another predicts a 30% infection rate, and one uses a 4% mortality rate and the other uses a 1.1% mortality rate, at least one (maybe all) are BS. And that’s just some of the variables…there are more and each with different interpretations depending on the modeling construct. And it differs by population density and average age of the underlying population. So you have predictions all over the map. Since they can’t all be correct, some will be proven to be flat out wrong. Until it becomes more clear, I’m in the wait and see camp. RAGBRAI might happen…or it might not happen. We will know more in a month or two, but in the meantime I will train like it’s on…because I enjoy riding. Plus, the roads are almost empty.


Okie Rider, March 27, 2020 at 2:32 pm

Hasn’t the pass through towns but announced by now in the past? My thoughts are they are waiting to announce until they are sure the ride will be a go. If they announce them and then the ride is cancelled they may be afraid a good amount of people will go ahead with it anyway. I know they can as they are public roads but may be trying to avoid it. Just a thought.


LawnchairMan, March 27, 2020 at 4:04 pm

I have literally just got the spiderwebs off of my trainer. Before that I just had my bike converted to electronic shifting. I was ready to start riding again when my wife stopped me. I agree with her now, that I should make sure that I don’t get into an accident that would require hospital equipment or staff. Those things may be in critical demand shortly. We feel the same way about automobile travel. We only go out for real necessities and are extra careful driving. So, as boring as it is, my trainer is my form of exercise until we are on the downside of this crisis. My first full ride with the new shifting will have to wait.


Daniel K Kramer, March 27, 2020 at 4:26 pm

You don’t feel comfortable then don’t ride it.


cheymtn70, March 28, 2020 at 8:30 am

LawnchairMan –

Why the move to E-shifting? Just curious (and bored). Thanks.


LawnchairMan, March 28, 2020 at 2:19 pm

My elliptical tripple was difficult to dial-in. Either the low gear was good, or the high gear was. So, my local bike shop recommended the switch last Fall. When they closed, I took it to a different shop to find a clicking sound. While there, my XO derailleur spring just broke. (happened twice before) As they were replacing the derailleur, my twist-grip shifter broke. So, I thought it was time.
I went with SRAM, so it was expensive, but it is wireless, so I won’t need to worry about cables. Batteries are supposed to last 2000 miles, but I got a spare in case I forget to charge them. The new system is a double, and not elliptical. Probably change the latter later.
I got to test the bike for a ride around the block. Had to reposition the control buttons, and adjust my brakes. Then Covid came. So, I wait. If I get desperate maybe I will circle my block over an over, but not go onto any main street.


David, March 28, 2020 at 2:25 pm

LawnchairMan, I am sure you will love them once you are able. I love how consistent electronic shifting is. Once you get things adjusted they pretty much stay perfect unless you bend them.

And the shifts are always crisp and easy :)


SFC JKL 2, March 28, 2020 at 11:41 pm

I can really tell when I’m not riding my bike with eliptical gears. I don’t think I could go back to round gears on my main bike.


Jboz, March 29, 2020 at 9:35 am

I know this forum has data geeks because I’ve seen endless data-intensive discussions on helmets, tire inflation, tire width, route mileage and total climb. So this is for you data geeks:

This allows you to screen by country, and you can select by select by cumulative and daily. You can look at cases, deaths and recoveries…or you can isolate to only one of those 3. Since deaths will lag cases by a couple of weeks, I think looking at cases alone (without deaths and recoveries) is the best gauge.

If you accept the numbers out of China (listed as Mainland China in the dropdown), this virus peaks at about 4 to 5 weeks after the first day of multiple cases, then rapidly declines.

If you feel as though the numbers out of China are total BS, then you can look at other countries which were earlier on the curve than the US. South Korea, Germany, Italy, Iran and Spain for example. By removing Mainland China from the equation, it’s too early to tell if the virus is peaking, but it does appear so. The next 5 to 7 days should validate or invalidate this assumption.

So, let’s assume that the flattening trend continues and then declines and will resemble China, or if you prefer a more trustworthy source South Korea. And acknowledging that the US is earlier on the curve, this virus will looks significantly different in 4 weeks than it does today. Obviously, if the flattening and subsequent decline does not materialize, then the virus will still look different in 4 weeks but it a worse way. Either way, current state will give way to future state…for the better or for the worse…and we just don’t know yet.

My takeaways…and these are my opinion ONLY:
1) Nothing is linear here, and exponential extrapolation is a very subjective exercise.
2) It’s way too early to wave the surrender flag for events that are still 4 months away.
3) Wait and see is the only logical reaction.
4) Contingency planning is prudent.
5) If as a contingency measure you choose to stop training because you are convinced RAGBRAI will be canceled, then your but might be pretty sore come July (literally and figuratively).

Draw your own conclusions, because as with most things…YMMV.

Stay well,



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