The Iowa Bicycle Coalition publishes a series of blog posts and podcast segments on the RIDE RIGHT program.  This is a safety program designed around RAGBRAI but has applications for everyday bicycling and group rides.  For more information, we have a series of e-book guides on a variety of topics including RIDE RIGHT, gravel bicycling, bike commuting, winter bicycling, and more.  These e-books are based upon surveys given to Iowa cyclists and assemble their best advice, tips, and tricks to making your ride more enjoyable.  Download our guides at

This is the final article on RIDE RIGHT before the big ride.  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, there have been articles on choosing a bike, wearing a helmet, communicating with 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 anymore 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 safely!

If you are going to ride RAGBRAI safely, you are going to keep in mind the following safety tips:

1. The RIGHT stuff.

2. The RIGHT gear.

3. The RIGHT communications.

4. The RIGHT riding.

5. The legal RIGHT.

6. The RIGHT frame of mind.

7. The RIGHT abilities

8. The RIGHT attitude

9. The RIGHT attention.

10. The RIGHT condition

Download our RIDE RIGHT Guide to learn more.

If you want to learn more about RIDE RIGHT or any other topic that can make your bike ride more enjoyable, visit our website at and download one of our many guides on RIDE RIGHT, Bike Laws, E-bikes, mountain biking in Iowa and much more.  

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