traininrainby Mark Wyatt, Iowa Bicycle Coalition

We have a saying on my team about attitude.  You have an unlimited supply of fun, but you are only allowed one meltdown.  You choose when to use it.  You can save your meltdown for the end of the week when you are seriously tired.  You can use your meltdown on Sunday, but you have to have fun for the rest of the week.  You can even choose not to use your meltdown, but there are no rollover minutes.

Having the Right Attitude can go a long way when riding on RAGBRAI.  You need to be considerate of others on the ride, as well as being predictable as a rider.  If someone is passing you, you often need to ride single file or move to the right.  Obey traffic signals and cooperate with RAGBRAI and law enforcement officials.  Finally, stay on the route.

Let’s begin with being considerate.  If you have been following along in this blog, you know that being a predictable rider will keep you safe.  You need to expect that everyone around you will not be predictable.  As they told you in driver’s education, expect the unexpected.

People will pass you during the week.  I know you might think you are the fastest rider out there and not even Lance Armstrong will pass you during the week.  So let me repeat for reality sake, people will pass you during the week.  It is not a race.

When you hear someone passing and they call out on your left, be prepared to move to the right or ride single file.  There is nothing worse than being caught in a bad spot on the road or facing oncoming traffic when someone could have moved over and allowed you to pass.  Be considerate when you are being passed and move to the right of the road.

You will see Care Ambulance many times during the week.  If they are on their way to a call and using their lights/sirens, pull to the right and stop.  If you are ever in a crash, I hope others will show your responding ambulance the same courtesy.

Cooperate with RAGBRAI and law enforcement officials.  If you think about it, the officers with the Iowa State Patrol are really amazing people.  They stand on hard pavement wearing not-so-breathable uniforms, kevlar vests, and other equipment for 12 hours each day no matter the temperature or amount of rainfall.   Please do what they ask you to do and everybody will be safe.  Be sure to thank them for making your ride safe and enjoyable.

Finally, stay on the marked route.  A few years ago, some riders were taking a shortcut on a trail. Someone crashed and a local ambulance had to be summoned.  It was really difficult to get to the victim of the crash and assist them.  The route is selected for your safety.  The route has ambulance access, controlled intersections, SAG, bike repair, and food/water along the way.  Stick to the route.

In conclusion, the RIGHT Attitude will make your RAGBRAI experience enjoyable.  Be considerate to other participants.  Expect the unexpected from others as you try to be a predictable rider.  Follow the directions of the law enforcement officers and officials.  Stay on the marked route.  Your attitude will go along way to making your ride safe.

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

Mark Wyatt is the statewide Ride Right chair and the executive director of the Iowa Bicycle Coalition, a statewide advocacy organization for bicycling.  Mark is also a League Cycling Instructor (LCI), board member for the Alliance for Bicycling and Walking.  More information about the Iowa Bicycle Coalition can be found at