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Things to consider for a “RAGBRAI bicycle”: (1) Rider comfort – choose a bicycle you can ride for 50 miles or more and get up the next morning without major wrist, shoulder or back pains. Consider a hybrid (flat bars) if you have back problems… Also, get a bicycle seat that is NOT painful; that may require some shopping around. (2) Gearing – a typical 50/34 dual chainring with a 9-11 speed cassette works for many riders. Avoid the 53/39 chainrings unless you are a strong rider. Some riders opt for a triple chain ring setup which gives you more granny gears for the hills. (3) Tires – skinny high pressure tires reduce rolling resistance; 700-25’s are popular. 110 psi doesn’t absorb the bumps but does require less pedaling effort than the mid size, fat tire setups. (4) Bicycle weight – over a long week, you’ll appreciate having a 20 lb. bicycle rather than a 30 or 35 pounder; graphite or light alloy frames are more expensive but… Try to avoid making your bicycle a cross-country RV; ride with only the essentials & an extra tube. (5) Tune it up – keep the chain and gears lubed and clean, insure your wheels roll freely and true. You want to minimize friction and maximize pedaling efficiency. (5) Establish a relationship with a good bike shop; they can offer lots of good advice and maximize what you can get from your current machine.