The bike expo area of an overnight RAGBRAI stop can be a sad place.
Sort of like a doctors office, most of the time you go there because something’s wrong.
In this case, it’s probably because your bike — one of the key components to riding RAGBRAI — has broken.
Greg Harper, 56, who owns Harper’s Bike Repair in Muscatine, said he had about 50 repairs Wednesday, which is pretty normal for RAGBRAI.
Most people had simple repairs: spoke replacements, shifting problems or flat tires.
But if the weather was bad, Harper said, people would be visiting his tent with a myriad of bike complaints.
“When it rains, we get more repairs,” he said. “People start hearing weird sqeeks and noises and they want to get their bike looked at to make sure it is safe.”
He added that he’d also sell a lot more rain gear if weather was poor. “Even though there’s really not much you can do to stay dry if you’re biking in the rain,” he quipped.
An avid cyclist, Harper said he’s one of seven people still living who’ve been on every RAGBRAI. And He still gets out on the route most days even though he is an exhibitor.
“I go in the morning, when you can see the sunrise — There’s nothing better,” he said.
Weather makes a ride, and Harper said he’d gladly sacrifice a few more repairs so every rider could have their sunrise moment.
“If it’s cold or rainy, it’s hard for everyone,” he said. “I want RAGBRAI to be a good, safe experience for everyone who comes out.”
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