The Great Iowa Fall Ride registration is open!
I roll as a bagger and generally pack like Jboz. Exceptions: 2 pairs of cargo shorts, at least 1 long-sleeved tee, and I always bring my unlined rain jacket. It’s chilly in the mornings. As a bagger, it doesn’t take up much room in the panniers. When the nights are cold, I wear literally everything, including the $3 Dollar General blow-up air mattress.
You can dress up or dress down for towns at night. I do an old Ragbrai t-shirt from prior rides and the aforementioned cargo shorts. Teva sandals and a devil-may-care grin round out the outfit.
2 pairs of biking shorts have been adequate. Unless it’s a rainy day, they dry out on the bike rack during the day. For laundry, Pink Zote soap is the ticket. I get mine at Wal-mart and cut off a piece about the size of a hotel soap bar. It goes in a ziploc baggie for the week. Best part about Zote is it leaves your laundry actually smelling good. Fair warning: you may be mistaken for a 1-day’er or local.
If you treat it like a week-long hiking trip, you’ll be in fine company.
A credit card packs awfully small.
I missed the truck once. It was the 80’s. I was 17, and she was totally worth it.
Still, it was a horrible feeling waking up to the empty field. As you’ve guessed, you have to find someone to carry your baggage, be it a friendly team or a local who’s probably going to want a fair amount of the daily beer ration to make the round trip. Sending all the stuff with an Uber driver might be an option nowadays.
If they fail to secure transportation, then they’ll have no recourse but to head to the post office, fill out the change-of-address forms, and become residents. It’s the RAGBRAI way.
Best not to miss the truck.
The hottest I remember was in the late 90’s, maybe 1998. Officially, I believe the high was 98, but the temperature on black asphalt exceeded that by some margin.
It was so hot in places that the tires on our tandem sunk into the asphalt. I thought we had a flat. Felt like riding in wet sand. The key to getting through that day was to stop often, before you began to feel bad. “Often” was every 2-3 miles, for about 15 minutes in the shade.
It’s simple: If there’s empty asphalt to your right, move there. The principle is the same as it is for motor vehicles. Your cruising speed is irrelevant – simply keep right except to pass. Don’t over-think this. Get mirrors. Practice using them until it’s second-nature. Change lanes to get around slower traffic. Let faster traffic pass on your left.
If you want to avoid the crowds, you’re better off starting later rather than earlier. There’s a big roll-off after 8 a.m.