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Safety question for partial week rider / RV driver


My uncle, father and I are riding for the first time this year. My dad is going to drive the RV but also wants to get some riding in but not 100% of miles. He has a full week pass and we have an RV pass.

Is it safe for him to take the RV to the daily overnight town and ride back towards my uncle and me? Once we meet up he would turn around and finish each day with us. Wasn’t sure is riding against the flow would be OK/safe to do with traffic, do other people attempt this as well where he would have companions on the road?

Or is there a way, beside doubling our miles to get the RV to the finish and for him to get some miles in with us that I am not thinking of?

15 Replies

jwsknk, May 8, 2019 at 8:01 am

people do it, get used to hearing “your going the wrong way” and saying “Biker up” to the people riding left of center. Big pace lines on the left are something you really need to watch for. Your only other option is to have him park in the meeting town and switch off with one of you two for the rest of the day.


Drew Duddey, May 8, 2019 at 8:08 am

[quote quote=1303450]people do it, get used to hearing “your going the wrong way” and saying “Biker up” to the people riding left of center. Big pace lines on the left are something you really need to watch for. Your only other option is to have him park in the meeting town and switch off with one of you two for the rest of the day.[/quote]

Thank you for the reply, it is good to know that others do the same thing. I will be passing along warnings/tips received here and he can decide what he is comfortable with.


mootsman, May 8, 2019 at 9:16 am

It is dangerous for not only the wrong way rider but others especially on hills. I’d suggest instead that your father map out routes not on the RAGBRAI route to join in for the return ride. Avoid the support vehicle route also.


andytetmeyer, May 8, 2019 at 9:36 am

I have salmoned and it can get hair-raising. Every few miles you’ll get nearly run off the road by a bunch of morons riding down the road on the far side, right on the white line. They seem not to be aware that they should look forward.
I understand passing people, and I’ll ride on the wrong side too sometimes. But – hugging the opposite side of the road, not looking up or expecting anything… that’s a few levels past stupid.
Doing this might be dependent on your skills. Either ride the shoulder or be ready and able to hop into the gravel, grass, or ditch at any time.
I expect that later in the day might be a lot easier. If you leave the meeting town at 10 or so then be ready for some action.
I’ve also traveled backward off route on gravel. It’s brilliant! no traffic at all, but you have to be good at directions and have some intuition about where you’re headed. GPS can’t always tell you where you are.


Michrider !!!, May 8, 2019 at 10:26 am

Please don’t do it!!!

BTW, RAGBRAI don’t care!!!


David, May 8, 2019 at 1:54 pm

People do it. How dangerous it depends on a bunch of things. But you will often run into people that aren’t expecting riders coming from the other direction. It doesn’t take a large percentage of those people for them to be common. If just 1% of people on ragbrai do something it is still common.

Hills are a particular problem. Climbing hills push people out of their lines as there are big speed differences.

The funny thing about pace lines. I have *never* ridden in a paceline on ragbrai. Every single day I have times with 10+ people behind me on flat sections. If there are little hills then that lets me destroy the line. If you are just riding a good tempo, especially if there is a headwind, then they just form up.

There is a group(s) of air force guys that are the worst about joining up and then trying not to let you break away. Even if it gets crowded. I have even slowed down and they don’t pass, speed back up, they match. Finally had a “discussion” with the older guy in their group about that behavior.


hnschipper, May 8, 2019 at 4:57 pm

I’ve had to ride against traffic for a short stretch (a few miles) after a mechanical issue – rode back to town to get it fixed. I would not do so if there was another option. Way too much bike traffic headed straight for me paying little to no attention to oncoming traffic.


KenH, May 9, 2019 at 7:32 am

Some years the day’s meeting town is on one of the loops and that makes a great way for a driver to do some riding with the pack. But not this year. The safest option would be to contact the overnight towns and see if they could connect your dad with someone whose vehicle can haul a bike and arrange to have them haul your dad back upstream on the support vehicle route so that he could meet you at the meeting town. A small fee would be involved of course!


Drew Duddey, May 9, 2019 at 7:45 am

Thanks to all for the replies.


Ed Chimahusky, May 10, 2019 at 7:42 am

I lost my wallet last year on RAGBRAI and had to ride “against the flow” for about 3 miles. I would never do it again. It was dangerous with all those riders coming at me, especially since many faster riders are all the way to the left. Take it from me – don’t do it.


mootsman, May 10, 2019 at 10:28 am

Another option: Advertise for a 2nd driver/rider on this forum to join your group. Your father and the 2nd driver/rider could switch in the meeting town. And you would all get to have a new riding friend. Maybe you already know someone who would be interested.


Larry Klaaren, May 10, 2019 at 3:14 pm

I read several times in these forums that I would not be prepared for the sheer number of riders. Before the ride I also saw a number of videos and photographs that demonstrated the thousands of riders on the road during Ragbrai. I was still surprised by the sheer number of riders.


SFC JKL 2, May 11, 2019 at 12:35 am

I couldn’t make the start one year so I parked at the end and road back to the fifth day meeting town. I wouldn’t want to ride against the route for a day, but I road against the route arriving in the meeting town about 10:00 AM with no problems.


FastEddy, May 11, 2019 at 5:12 pm

Riding against the flow is one of the most unsafe acts I have seen on RAGBRAI.


mcdermott1, May 12, 2019 at 12:44 am

I agree 100% with FastEddy. I think it is very unsafe and would put a lot of riders at a potential risk for injury. I know sometimes it’s necessary to ride against the flow for short periods, but if it’s not necessary then I think it would be irresponsible. This will be only my 4th Ragbrai so I don’t have a long experience like some riders , however , enough experience to form a strong opinion on this issue.


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