Ironically, the big tip is “Get yourself in good physical shape.” We start riding on Sunday, so if you aren’t in shape by now carefully think about your RAGBRAI plans. Hopefully, you have been following along with Coach Ertl’s blog and you have trained to peak physical condition.
Over the past two months, I have written articles on choosing a bike, wearing a helmet, communicating to other riders, riding safely and legally, keeping focused on what is going on around you, making sure you are able to ride, keeping a positive attitude, and paying attention while riding. There will be a lot of people on the road and keeping all the RIDE RIGHT safety tips in mind will be important.
Being in physical shape to ride is important, but don’t let me scare you from riding. Bicycling is not terribly strenuous. RAGBRAI is a long-distance touring event. It is not a race. You should stop often, rest in pass-through towns, and fill up with water and food when you need to.
Break up the ride into short segments. Towns are evenly spaced, so think about stopping every 10 miles or when you reach a town. Find some shade and some pie. Take in the entertainment. While you are doing this, you are letting your legs recover and your body temperature cool.
If you cannot pedal any more or your bicycle, body, or spirit becomes broken, you can always catch a ride on the SAG vehicle. You simply need to stop, turn your bicycle upside down, and wait for the SAG to drive past. Wave and give the thumbs down sign to signal you need SAG services. You may be exhausted and frustrated, but remember the SAG driver is here to help you. And, you may not get into camp until the end of the day or when the SAG is full.
As I close out this series for this year, I want to remind you to have fun while you are riding. Former RAGBRAI Director Jim Green always said, “if you aren’t having fun, it isn’t worth doing.” So, have fun, make new friends, try new experiences, and ride safe!